Beauty Car Lighting
Posted 31 August 2008 - 10:08 PM
Posted 31 August 2008 - 11:12 PM
Posted 01 September 2008 - 12:50 AM
That's one reason why often cars are light with these giant softboxes where you get a perfect white rectangle reflected with perfect edges going to black. You have to be "neat" about what you hang above a car.
A car having curved surfaces also makes these reflected things smaller-looking, which is why to truly wrap the car in soft top light, the top light has to be physically bigger than the car itself -- which is one reason why cars are sometimes shot outdoors at Magic Hour when you get the entire sky reflected in the surface as a soft source.
White cards are often used for smaller reflections around the sides, bumpers, hubcaps, etc.
Now there is no rule that you have to use a giant soft top light for a car -- the car showrooms in the movie "Tucker" were lit with hundreds of lightbulbs in a circle in the ceiling above the car, creating lots of specular reflections rather than one big soft sheen. But often a big soft reflection shows off the shape of the car the best.
You could, for example, hang a 12'x20' UltraBounce above the car, with the UltraBounce frame wrapped in black Duvetine up to the UltraBounce material so that the pipe frame and rope ties are blacked out. Then you can bounce into that from the ground, with black flags around the ground lights to hide those reflections in the car.
Posted 01 September 2008 - 01:16 AM
I'm not sure what lighting you have access to (soft light kit), but I think you're envisioning something on a larger scale than you can light with a "kit". I don't know if it's possible for you to do this at a dealership (or if it fits your budget), but one of my favorite ways to light a car is to work with large white flats suspended from the ceiling (the flats are white muslin fabric stretched across a large aluminum frame): Usually a 15-by-50 foot is paired with a 10-by-30 on top and 20-by-40 foot rolling white "wall" flats on the camera side. Anything smaller will probably create a lot of dead spots. With cars, you almost can't have a flat that's too big!
The lights (usually 8-12 2K tungsten units) are positioned on the floor and shot up onto the front edge of the larger overhead flat to create a pool of light that looks like a sunset glow in the metal and glass. Additional lights are bounced into the flats on the side of the vehicle. Check out the Fisher Light website, you can rent flats from them.
Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:17 AM
I run the advertising department for one of the largest auto groups in the northeast. I light lots of cars and lots of dealerships. 28 to be exact. Most of the time a simple light aimed into a ceiling is more than enough to make a nice reflection of light. Part of the result and how much you have to do also depends on the car and color. Darker colors show more errors than lighter car colors. Bottom line is that simpler is always better with cars. Between some sort of overhead bounce/translucent and bounce cards along the sides to pick up spots of reflection, it's not hard to do.