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Classic Black and White studio lighting


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#1 Phil Moreton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:33 PM

Hi,

I'm shortly going to shoot a music video, in the style of some of these photos below.

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After studying the photos; they are sharp, deep depth of field, generally one source of light apart from the backdrop.
We'll do slow motion and want to keep it feeling sharp throughout slow mo 120fps and normal 25fps. So i'm thinking of changing the shutter angle.
The shoot is going to be on RED MX, as i feel that i'll need as much light as possible, 800 iso. I think I'll need a 10-12k tungsten source, though double diffusion, to get a nice one key wrap around for the subject when filming. Then flag the light and keep the subject away from the background so my key does not spill on to it.
I was then going to separately light the white infinity curve with a dimmer, so i can control the % of grey that aesthetically looks best.

I'll need a lot of light as i'm aiming for a stop of F8-F11. Do you think this setup sounds reasonable? What light do you suggest for the backdrop?

Another question is for this photo:
Posted Image

The Silhouette; I guess i just kill the key light basically. Do you think i will get a true black?

How does all this sound??
Any other inspiring photographers like these attached by Hedi Slimane would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

Best,

Phil
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#2 Phil Moreton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:38 PM

Also, does anyone know of any good music videos done in this style??

Thanks again,

Phil
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 08:32 PM

Why worry about such a deep stop? You really have no background to throw soft or keep sharp. In fact, faults in the seamless won't show if you stick to something like a T4.
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:28 PM

Why worry about such a deep stop? You really have no background to throw soft or keep sharp. In fact, faults in the seamless won't show if you stick to something like a T4.



Agreed, if you're shooting on an infinity curve, DoF really isn't a consideration. Shoot at f4 and pay attention to your negative fill. With all the white walls around it will be easy for you to lose contrast.
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#5 Shelly Johnson ASC

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 02:03 AM

Hi Phil,

I believe that you will need the amount of light that you are thinking. By the time you roll at 120FPS, you will be at a T4.0 or in that area, depending on your shutter angle. Working at higher light levels and stopping-down tends to create more light fall off as well

In looking at the reference photos, they have a very rich black and crisp highlight, as what seems to be needed with classic B&W photography. You should consider protecting your light and dark values on your log image... or raw image... whatever applies here, and introduce these high and low extremes later in your workflow after image capture, in order to give your image the type of tonal fidelity seen here. The blacks can later be lowered to a "polite" crush, just to anchor the tones. The highlights can be adjusted right up there, just below clip (108-109).

The comment about controlling unwanted spill from within the stage is right on. You will want plenty of solids for the walls and ceiling so that you are in full control of the shadows. Negative fill is extremely important when you are controlling contrast to this degree.

As for sharpness, you might want to look at where your lenses perform at their best, and work at that optimal stop. You can research this for your specific lenses, but I've noticed very few lenses that do not perform well at T4.0-5.6

The light source(s) in the photos you have posted appear to be working rather close to the subject. Perhaps a large frame that is placed just beyond the frameline so you can get that wrap working. The light will fall away faster if it works closer to the subject as well (law of inverse square). Your idea of double diffusing the lamp is also good. Keep in mind that with soft frames, the diffusion closest to the subject basically is the source. That frame may want to carry the more dense diffusion material in order to give the light the kind of purity that is shown in the reference pictures.

Hope this makes sense! Good luck with your shoot!

Shelly
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#6 Phil Moreton

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 04:50 AM

Thanks for everyone replying so far!

I think I'll try and aim for a F4-f5.6 split then. I just wanted to make sure the whole subject was in focus. if I can get 2ft of depth then I'll be happy.
I'll also keep the subject as far from background as reasonably can. It is not a huge studio.

I was going to use black painted poly boards next to each other on the sides and on the top, like a tunnel, from the light source to the diffusion frame to stop light spill.
Perhaps there is an actual light out there that would be easer to hire, rather than using this 10k tunnel light source. I just enjoy it more if I get to kinda make it.

Are solids polyboards?

Any ideas for what type of light? Can soft boxes go with a 10k light?

Shelly, when you talk about working with higher light levels, and light fall off when stopping down....Isn't this something that works in my favour for the subject then? I was a bit confused by the sentence, I just wanted to make sure I understand you correctly.

Again, thanks for the replies so far.
If anyone can give any other photographic examples or even better film examples, then that would be great.


Phil
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#7 Shelly Johnson ASC

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:26 AM

Hi Phil,

It's tough for me to imagine what you're going to make. It sounds like you would like to box-in the light, which is fine. Making it out of poly (bead board) might make it tough to move and adjust however... but you know best what you might need from a practical point of view. Usually one would make a box out of several duvateen frames or flags.

My guess is that you will need more than 10K to get your stop. Possibly a 20K. Especially if you are going to double diffuse. By solids, I mean duvateen (bolton). You can usually screw them up onto the wall or put them on large frames to knock down the ambient spill.

I should have been clearer on the sentence about high light levels and light fall-off. Indeed yes. That works in your favor in a big way. Chances are, the stills you are referencing were shot under strobes putting out enormous amounts of light. Still photographers do this so they can work at faster shutter speeds and get a sharper image. Also because their medium format or large format lenses need more depth of field since they are working with longer focal lengths associated with those formats. You can certainly follow their lead and raise your levels in order to achieve a similar look.

Good luck!

Shelly
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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:24 AM

You can get soft boxes that will fit large lamps. Remember to use them with an egg crate to reduce spill.
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#9 Phil Moreton

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:58 AM

Thanks for all the replies!!
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