Manually Triggered RCS + Shutter Drags | Transcription
For the shot we have we are back at or desert scene, we are hanging out, we are having a good time, I’m with Trevor, I’m with our entire production crew, and we are like “Let’s go get some night time shots. I would be really fun, and really cool” but it is absolutely pitch black. Now, hopefully some of you have traveled a bit, you’ve been to the great outdoors and you know that once you get away from the city then you eliminate light pollution. That means when it gets dark, it gets dark like you can see nothing, but the benefit of that is that you can see the stars. You see the stars, you see the moon and everything else. If you have a bright enough sky you can end up lighting your landscape and it looks absolutely incredible.
We’re out in that kind of scene, we want to shoot to reveal the stars, so as far as composition aperture, my main thought here is I’m going to need a long shutter drag of at least 20-seconds, maybe 30-seconds with a wide open aperture at ISO 1600 to be able to get enough light to have our stars be bright in the image. I want to have bright stars. I want it to look like daytime, but with stars in it. Exactly. Just like that.
I’m shooting on my Sigma 35mm Art. This guy can go down to F1.4, but I have a hard time focusing him at F1.4, so I left it at F1.6. My main attribute, my main composition attributes for my camera settings is a long shutter, a 20-second shutter, a 30-second shutter, whatever it is that I end up needing here. I know it’s going to be at least 15-seconds, so I run it to 15-seconds, take a test shot and get the 20-seconds on a ISO 1600. Those are the main things that I need for this shot.
What we know is that sync is not going to be an issue. We are shooting at 20 seconds long so we are obviously we are below 1/200th of a second. We don’t need no high speed sync and putting a new filter on would be just ridiculous. Why would you do that in this kind of sync? We need light not cut it away. If you guys thought that I would use any filter here then, please go back and start this entire course over. I’m just kidding. Don’t do that.
With the amber light exposure we get to about the right exposure at 1600 ISO. We are right here, so at 1600 ISO, we’re at 20-second shutter, we are F1.6 and we are using a 3000 degrees Calvin or 2900 degrees Calvin as our white balance, just so we have a really nice crisp and blue scene. What does that mean? That means that we are going to need to probably gel our flash. Just keep that in mind if you are going to have that cool of white balance, you either need a gelly of flash or you need to be cool with it being very, very blue.
We just popped a little gel over this. It wasn’t like it was gelled to any … This is a boldest thing you have right here, so I just grabbed a gel and just like stuck it over the have a little modified that opens up a little bit. I stuck a gel over that. Didn’t cover it completely but at least it was better than being 5500 degrees Calvin.
What do we need to do for this shot? The first thing is that if we are going to run a 20-second exposure, if you are going to run a one-second exposure, we need to be on a tripod, so we have that camera set up on a tripod. How the heck am I going to trigger rear curtain sync, because let’s get back to that sync issue. Obviously we are not going to have shutter speed issue as far as that goes, but what about rear curtain sync versus first curtain sync? In this kind of a scene if the flash pops, right at the beginning of a shot, then any motion afterwards is going to basically burn in over the flash. You are going to end up with an image that looks very ghosty, it’s not going to be sharp, our subject here is not going to be sharp. The way that we pull this off and the way that we do this in camera, this is done in camera, this is not done in Photoshop, the way that we do this in camera is by popping rear curtain sync manually.
If I would have had my Phottix Mittros. I think that we did have the Phottixes out there, but we just so to happen to have the Bolt, VB22 set up already on a soft box that Trevor brought. He brought the SMDV Speed Box 60. It’s actually a perfect fit for the Bolt and we had that a set up, and I had my Pocket Wizard on the cameras so we just walked out there. I should have been thinking because I would have just popped up the focus and we’ve good.
Night time scenes like this you don’t need that kind of wattage. We are running this thing at 1/30 seconds at 1/64 power, we don’t need that, we just need a pocket strobe. That’s why I wrote over here your pocket strobe gear or less because we don’t need anything that big, but I had this, so I’m going to make it work. Honestly, for the sake of this tutorial, it’s kind of better that way anyway. I can show you what to do in these kinds of situations when your gear is not necessarily what you want it to be.
How do we fire this rear curtain sync? Well, just like before when we shot that couples photography session, when we were in downtown and we did one second shutter drag, we just popped that radio trigger. In that case we were using the Newers, but this case we have a Pocket Wizard, so we just pop it off and then all I’m going to do in this case … In the last tutorial, we were running a one-second shutter, so we didn’t really need to do much in terms of like estimation because is was just pop, and then fire, pop and then fire. This time is going to be hard for me to count to 20-seconds and get to this accurate, so what do I do? I bust out my phone, you have an iPhone, whatever phone, Android phone, all you need to do is bring up your timer. You just go to your timer right here. It was kinda funny the way we were doing this.
I go to stopwatch and then all I do is when I fire the shutter, I just press start. Okay? So as soon as I press the shutter I press start and I just let this count up. In a 20-second long shutter, make sure that this isn’t pointing anywhere towards the scene because if it is, it’s going to actually bleed into the scene and you will notice it over 20-seconds. Once this gets up high enough, like 18 I start counting down, 19, pop, and then we fire the Pocket Wizard at 19 seconds, or 19 and a half or however risky you want to take it up to 20 seconds.
Generally, that’s going to give you a good enough manual rear curtain sync to get your subject sharp, and you are going to have to do it a few times, I’ll be honest, you will have to do it a few times. Be aware that any bit of light that is coming off of any object whether be phones or whatever is going to affect the scene. It’s funny we were shooting another scene that was similar to this one we have another shot where that was closer to the cameras, she was walking up there and we have this bit of red in the scene, and we are like “What the heck is causing that red?” We found out that it was Trevor, I think it was his camera, it was blinking a red … the auto-focus thing or whatever it was. It was like a timer that was blinking red. It was ever so small. It was this big. I was an LED light this big, but over 20 seconds it actually caused the scene to be pretty red, so it becomes very noticeable. There is flies in here. What the heck?
Now that our flies or our nets have left us let’s get back to this. With the light direction and quality we have inside of that speed box which is very, very similar to a Westcott Rapid Box, only thing is that it’s a real more ideal for a bolt that bearable because you can fit it all the way inside of there, and that’s why we are using it when we are using this guy. Other than that we just placed the light direction off to the left side of the frame, and you know what, it doesn’t even have to be like we are shooting so far and this is kind of a dot that I’m not really worried about light quality, I just need something to freeze her in place, that’s it.
I have her standing on top of this hill because I thought it might be a kind of a fun, like artistic shot, where she has her hands up and she’s pointing up to the sky and looking up to the skies which is really, it’s really of a shot about the sky in this image. We did this and we also did a more close-up version where we had a couple of different lights which we might show you in Lighting 301, because we have actually set up a back lights on that. Lights off to camera left and you can see a little bit of that bleed there hitting the ground. You can do two things, you can feather up or you can take one shot with the light, and one shot without the light. We had to do that anyway for the purpose of the tutorial. We wanted to show you the difference between the two shots. All I did in post was I just layered the two images in Photoshop and I just removed basically, I just put this background over this one. Very simple, just mass it out and replace it so that we didn’t light bleed over that, and we just had her kind of lit up in the background. Looked nice.
Another thing you can do in Photoshop is add the shape back to the dress. The dress was hanging very flat and very, I don’t know. You can add that shape back by a little bit of liquefying and what not, if you like it, in Photoshop. Otherwise this is straight out of camera, and what you want to do with these types of shots is make sure that you are slowing things down, obviously you are slowing the shutter down, I’m not talking about the shutter speed, but slowing your shooting down to really zoom in and analyze, because you might need to do a couple of these shots before you get the results that you want. It takes a little bit of practice to get this kind of a shot and you need to tell your subject that during this time, during that duration I want to hold flawlessly still, hold your breath and count down so that your subject knows when to start and when to stop.
If you are like “Go ahead” and then she’s holding her breath and then you get your shot, and you’re looking in the back of your camera and you’re like “That’s so awesome, my shot’s so cool. This is fantastic. Oh, my gosh, that looks amazing” and you forgot to tell her to relax and all of a sudden you hear this thump, because she just passed out. Because she’s been holding her breath over there, and you forgot to … That’s an exaggeration, but seriously, let them know when you’re starting and when you’re stopping. One, you want them to be able to hold flawlessly still while the shutter is open, and 2, you want to let them relax between shots. It’s not that easy to hold that perfectly still.
That’s it for manually triggered rear curtain sync plus shutter drags. One of the key tips here, remember number one, get the camera up onto a tripod. We had our MeFOTO GlobeTrotter that we stuck this one. Number 2, when it comes to focusing, use your live view and zoom in. It’s very simple. What I’ll do is I’ll use my live view, I’ll zoom in, I’ll manually adjust the focus and then lock the focus to manual so it’s not going to change every time I press the shutter button. Next, take the flash, or take the radio off of the camera, and what you’re going to do is when you press, so number 3 is when you press your shutter release you’re going to also press the timer on the phone, so you start that timer and follow that timer.
Number 4, when that timer reaches the end of the shutter, you’re going to manually trigger your Pocket Wizard. Five, make sure that you look at the image. Zoom in close. Make sure that everything is good. Make sure you’ve told your subject to hold perfectly still and look for ghosting. Look to make sure that your light direction, your light quality, matches your scene, that you don’t have any weird shadows, weird highlights and so forth. Six, if you do have those things, repeat steps 1 through 5.
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