When we were planning the Friday night shoot for October Marco suggested a handball team that he knows would love some pics. Great but like always we don't just want to stand a few guys in front of the flash and call it a work shop... There has to be something special and a challenge to make it worth everyone's time. The concept was to get great portraitures where it was hard to hit the exact focus point. Either through a very narrow depth of field of though jumping movement of the team.
The first lighting set up we were shooting between f1.4 and 2.8 depending on what lenses the shooters had with them. If some one didn't have a fast prime lens then they could shoot at a higher ISO and f2.8. This kept the narrow d.o.f and we didn't have to change any light set-ups to match the shooters lenses.
The second part of the night was spent doing quick succession of jump shots, rapid fire, quick timing and with a lot more light. Here the challenge was to get the timing and the focus right as the guys and girls did typical hand ball jumps shots. Keeping the framing and composition usable in a confined space isn't the easiest thing to do.
The idea behind this shoot was based on several youtube videos and DVDs I have watched over the last few years. They were all about using just the minimum amount if equipment to get the best result. As several of the last work shops have had quiet complicated lighting set ups I thought it would be great to use just 1 Bowens flash and 1 or 2 reflectors. Although I limited the number light sources I didn't want to limit the light modifiers, this way we could create totally different looks easily e.g. Hard light vs Soft light, Direct light vs indirect light or Large light source vs Small light source.
It was a long night.... With 4 models and 5 lighting setups we ended up shooting for about 6 1/2 hours. So thanks every one for putting in such a great effort. We started of with a large Octobox behind the models and 2 reflectors in-front, we shot from a position between the reflectors. This achieved a strong back lighting and the reflectors threw enough light into the faces that the models weren't just a silhouette. This lighting design can deliver great results but you need to keep the "Inverse square law" in the back of your head. The next few set ups were variations of 1 softbox and 1 or 2 reflector. The last set up was 1 large parabolic dish set up opposite a sofa.
I also deliberately used different depth of field for each set up this way each lighting construction had a totally different feel to it. To add to the different feel we shot different poses head shoulders, 2/3 body , full body and sitting. Everyone had a great evening which makes me happy, as I put a lot of time and effort into organising the Friday night shoots. I have at least 5 or 6 more one flash set ups floating around in my head so there may be a "Creative Minimalism 2.0" latter this year.
Unfortunately our in house video production crew (2dudes) were busy and couldnt make it to the shoot ..... But thanks to M-Arx and Thorsten, they shoot some "making of" footage during the night so that the 2 dudes had something to edit.
I have seen a few photos around the internet taken in a studio with balloons but when looking at most of them I thought they only out in 50% effort and needed to fill more space with balloons. Last year I was photographing a wedding and one of the guests had a extremely large bunch of balloons, there was a few kids that kept hiding among the balloons and every now and then you would see a hand or a head sticking out. All I could think was..... "I have to do this in the studio". So we blew up 400 black and white balloons and started to shoot.
The lighting concept was to keep the shadows and contrast that separated all the objects in the photo. When you have a lot of items the same colour in your photos you need to control the angel of the lighting so that shadows still fall where you require them. What we didn't think of was how much static was involved, it played havoc with the models hair. Next time ill be a bit more prepared.
We only used 2 different lighting set-ups. But they couldn't have been more different. The first set up was a large octo-box from directly above the models pointing down, using the balloons to reflect light back up for a bit of fill light. The second set-up was 2 strip lights set horizontally on both sides of the studio, and set down at eye level.
And finally the world famous Making of/behind the screens video
Wir wollten 2012 mit etwas anderem beginnen. Dank RetroGames e.V. konnten wir das Studio in eine kleine Spielhalle verwandeln und oben drauf hatten wir noch 3 fantastische Models. Die Idee hinter dem Shooting war eine kontrollierte Beleuchtung mit Lichtformern und Wabenfiltern damit nur die Models und Spielautomaten beleuchtet werden. Zuletzt haben wir eine Nebelmaschine und Farbfilter hinzugefügt. Hier und da haben wir noch kleine Softboxen eingesetzt wenn an manchen Stellen etwas mehr Licht benötigt wurde.
Je später es wurde, um so aufwendiger wurde auch die Beleuchtung und um ehrlich zu sein, ich kann mich nicht mehr an jedes Set-up erinnern. Zumal die Set-ups sich sehr schnell änderten. Aber das Grund-Set-up für die meisten Bilder war ein 400w Bowens Blitz mit einem großen Reflektor und einem Wabenfilter auf einem kleinen Galgenstativ als Haar-Licht, ein 400w Bowens Blitz mit einem roten Farbfilter und eine Nebelmaschine in einem alten Space Invaders Spielautomaten. Das restliche Set-up änderte sich ständig während wir uns im Studio bewegten.
Einen großen Dank an alle Teilnehmer, ganz speziell an Missy Mantis für ihre Beratung.
Und zu guter Letzt noch das weltbekannte "Making of" Video, dass ihr normalerweise nur auf der Collectors Edition DVD zu sehen bekommen würdet
Styling: Missy Mantis - Mantissima
Back when we were choosing a flash system for the studio (way back in the good old days) we sat down and discussed
- What do we want?
- What do we need?
- How much can we afford?
- What experiences have we had with different equipment in different studios?
- What light modifiers are available and what do we want to use?
Between us we had used a few different rental studio with a variety of different brands so we all had a good idea of what direction we wanted to go. It was quickly clear that none of us wanted some cheap "No Name" or "made in China" flashes due to quality control and white balance issues. It was also clear that most of the "No Name" or "made in China" stuff was manufactured with a Bowens compatible bayonet (in fact we already had a lot of light formers with the Bowens bayonet). Although "Alien Bees" started off hight on the list the were soon dropped due to availability, power issues and availability of light modifiers (at the time in the EU). It was soon a clear what brand we would chose, there were only a few real quality manufacturers that made it through the selection. But only one offered real quality at an acceptable price.
Bowen 400/400 twin-head starter flash kit
The Bowens Gemini 400/400 twin-head starter flash kit is made to the same high standard as Bowens' professional equipment. It offers robust build quality, simple easy-to-use design and reliably consistent results. It can be the foundation of a growing studio system, while its portability and the versatility of optional battery power make it a good choice for outdoor location shooting. For your money you get two compact but powerful Gemini 400 flash heads, two aluminium 120-degree reflectors with umbrella mounts, two sturdy metal stands, two mains leads, a camera sync cable and two 90cm silver/white umbrellas with removable covers that can be used as either reflectors or diffusers. The kit comes in a large black holdall bag, and all included weighs approximately 12.5Kgs
We ordered 2 Bowens Gemini 400/400 twin-head starter kit giving us 4 x 400ws as a starting point. This way we could add larger and or smaller Ws flashes in the future if needed. In the last 12 month these flashes have severed our needs fantastic. The performance has not been compromised either with this petite power-house offering impressive flash-durations and recycle times. And precise light control over 5 stops of power using a single simple stepless dial which also controls the 250W proportional modelling lamp. Or you can simply press a switch for the modelling lamp and use it 100% or off . No complicated digital menu systems - 'simplicity' is the keyword here, the Gemini really is a plug-and-go system, that can suit the needs of every user from a first time studio user through to pro work.
The main problems with "No Name" or "made in China" studio flashes that I have seen so far is 2 fold.
- The Quality control leaves a lot to be desired.They pump out as many flashes as thy can as quick as they can and hope people won't return them.
- Irregular white balance. If your flashes have different colour temperatures or a large difference in the colour temperature you may end up with odd looking images or spending a long time in post production.
The Gemini range offers consistency, reliability and quality to ensure stunning results in any environment. As an optional extra there is a battery pack available that allows you to use the Gemini flash heads as a mobile unit. We dont have one yet but who knows what will happen in the future . We recently added one 200w Gemini flash head to the collection. This add more control over our lighting set-ups and depth of field in the studio, I am hoping we can add one more in the near future.
|Gemini 200||Gemini 400|
|Max Power (Ws||200Ws||400Ws|
|Guide Number (m/100 ISO)||54||76|
|Flash Duration (t=0.5)||0.7 Seks||1.2 Seks|
|Recycle Time (100%)||1/1200 Sek||1/1000 Sek|
|DialPowerRange||5 stops, 6Ws - 200Ws||5 stops, 12Ws - 400Ws|
|Modelling Control||Proportional with Power||Proportional with Power|
|Modelling Modes||Full, Off, Proportional||Full, Off, Proportional|
|Colour Temperature (+/- 300°K)||5600K||5600K|
|Voltage Stabilisation||bis 1%||to 1%|
|Flash Inhibit Circuit||Yes||Yes|
|Sync Voltage||5V DC||5V DC|
|Ready Indication||Ready Beep, Ready LED||Ready Beep, Ready LED|
|Operating Voltage||190-250V 50Hz||190-250V 50Hz|
|Built in Slave Cell||Yes||Yes|
|Switchable Slave Cell||Yes||Yes|
|EM Noise Suppression||Yes||Yes|
- Simple to use intuitive controls
- Five stops of power control
- Lightweight & compact
- Travelpak Battery compatible
- Auto Power-save mode
- Robust Metal Construction
- Proportional modelling control
- Recessed switches & sockets
- Huge range of Bowens and 3rd party accessories
- Fast Flash-Durations
- DSLR friendly Low Sync Voltage