Lighting Tag

Pardon the equipment-less nature of this post - I'm stuck at home mid-way through a Covid isolation period. I'm not sick* and the victim isn't very sick herself ( thank goodness ) but we're playing the game right and sticking to the house. I can't even go to the studio and take toy airplane pictures. But it does give a period for reflection on recent events. a. I shot a dance show a couple of days before the iso started. Masked, as it happens, and I'm glad of that. And it went very well. The venue was the Freo Town Hall, but the wonderful mezzanine of the main hall was out of action - apparently the railing or something is unsafe, and it's locked up. One hopes that they can repair it - as a shooting position for stage shows it seemed ideal. The Victoria Hall just up the road also has a mezzanine and I can't praise it enough. But one thing about public halls - they can sometimes be very short on stage lighting. Not just short on lights, short on control....

The burgeoning business of recording video is starting to make me look at camera stuff again - specifically lighting equipment. My first discovery was that standard room lighting is horrible. My studio has downlights that run on big circular fluorescent tubes with a colour temperature of old liver. They are positioned to make everyone look like zombies. If I ever start filming horror movies, I'm set. The trial reels using the modelling lights on my standard mono-head studio flashes showed them to be too dim, too yellow, and too cumbersome for the game. They are dynamite lights for still photos and the light modifiers are just what I need, but the difference between a flash tube and an incandescent light bulb is far too great. The next stage was to look at odd little LED and ring lights. Let me excuse myself from sounding foolish - these lights were hauled along to a recording session by the dancer who was appearing in the reels. Bought from some eBay seller, they were literally falling to pieces as we tried to set them up. Gaffer...

A friend of mine has commenced making a series of dance videos that go out over the internet on the Instagram site. They are little video clips taken in her own studio. I hasten to add it's a dance studio, not a photographic one. They are colourful and musical and have a keen following - but they are lit with an LED system that is normally associated with video conferencing. This is apparently a ring-light tube that encircles a camera or mobile phone. It's bright enough and the auto white balance of the recording device seems to be able to cope pretty well with the colours and the contrasts. But the problem is that there is no life to the light...

I am grateful to Camera Electronic in general and Daniel Ward in particular for their ability to get me out of trouble. It is a condition I experience frequently as I operate photographic machinery. It's as well that no one trusts me with a motor torpedo boat or a herd of geese...

Last week's shots of the shop's cameras behind glass were taken in the landscape mode. The camera was on the tripod or held with a flash poking out the top. But what happened if the subject was just not a horizontal one? What if I needed to do it in portrait mode? Well. I could step back to the tripod as before, but with the camera held vertically. Some tripods do this with more grace than others - come experiment yourself, but take my tip of trying a camera cradle with Arca -Swiss mounts on bottom and side and a corresponding clamp in the ball head. Changing from down to up is super-simple. There are several types on the market. Of course the people who invested in Stroboframe camera cradles many years ago could do so without even unclamping a thing...

An aside: There is a chap in Canada -  a gentleman from Quebec - who has made a practice lately of looking carefully at all the printed signs and official literature to see that it conforms with the two-languages policy that has been law there for many years. When finds a breach - like the failure to put the French word for " press " on the button of a public water fountain - he institutes a lawsuit and frequently makes a nice little earner from a suitably sympathetic Quebec judge. In this fine public spirit I set out to see if the advertised specification on the side of a set of IKEA lightbulbs was accurate. I did not have time to wait the 15,000 hours they promise as burning time, but I could measure the colour temperature. Or rather, Adobe Lightroom could. The experiment was simple - a dark room, illumination by two IKEA articulating-arm lamps and two of the RYET LED lamps. They were marked as delivering  a colour temperature of 2700º K. I set up Neuschwanstein and the...

One of the iconic symbols of Hollywood - besides the sign on the hill - is the Klieg lamp with the barn doors. The Kliegs were an arc system and murder on the actors and actresses who had to bake under them - apparently the high UV could cause eye damage. " Klieg Eye "was a real thing. The lights had to be directed, even if the players did not. So there were swivel stands and control wheels and moveable shields to cut off part of the light pattern. The most efficient way to do this was with large movable flats but if you only needed shade a smaller area, the " barn door " could be swung into place. Whether they were effective or not depended upon their surface area. This form of light modifier then made it into the studios of still photographers when the studio flash systems were perfected. I've got two sets that clip onto my ancient Elinchroms and they are sometimes moderately effective. I found a better set on the back wall of CE in the Profoto...