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question about gels
Old 11-30-2004, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Help

Can anyone give me suggestions on lighting my soft black background with different colors gels. Example if the model is at f8 what should I set the gels light on the background so i would get an nice color of red, or blue. Any help would sure be appreciated

gary
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Re: question about gels
Old 11-30-2004, 09:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would keep it also at F8 to get an even balance
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Re: question about gels
Old 11-30-2004, 10:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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IF you want the gel color to really show up, you MUST get the model away from the backdrop so that none of the light falling from your lights on the model hit the backdrop.
You need at least 3 stops falloff.


Otherwise, you end up aiming a gelled light at the backgrop, setting your exposure on the backdrop to match that on the model, but the problem is a good portion of the light that is giving you your background reading is coming from your mains.

I once wasted about 3 rolls of film and half an afternoon learning this lesson.

It is true though, if you set it up right, you can make a black background look bright red or blue if you light it right.

Just get that model AWAY from the background.

Mark
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Re: question about gels
Old 11-30-2004, 10:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Very good point Mark,...

Here is an example if what happens to gels in a high-key lighting set.. I actually wanted this mysterious effect... I have been asked why it is that the blue gels appear on the underside of the model...and not the background at all...tha answer is because the background was lit up very well with lights that blew out the colour of the gels and because if you want gels to appear in the photo, they will only illuminate the "shadows"/ dark areas of the photograph where your other lights aren't illuminating..as Mark said, be sure to have a 3 stop fall off.. I'd also suggest "feathering" your main light so you don't get that light pointing directly into your background.....

The front and underside of Audra was in shadow...I had a pair of lights w/gels bouncing off the floor that you can't see in the shot anywhere but in the shadows.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] that's how it was done.. Pretty cool eh! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

I learned this nifty technique after shooting a bunch of table top products where the light just didn't do what I wanted it to do, yet it something else happened that I knew I wanted to do ...at another time....like when I have a model wearing a shiney pair of pants.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Have fun learning!

JP

 
 
Re: question about gels
Old 11-30-2004, 10:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Two strobes @ f11. Model is 6' from background.



One strobe @ f11. Model is f5.6 and 4' from background.



One strobe w/gel @ f8 (notice light fall off at the top). Model is 6' from background. One strobe to models left @ f5.6. One strobe on the blinds @ f5.6.

Hope this helps. The background is black.

Rick D.
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F/stop of the background doesn\'t matter...
Old 12-01-2004, 12:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The secret to gels is creating your background color first, then balancing your subject. Brooks Institute of Photography teaches a technique called "Chromosones" which is real simple. I will write an article about it soon, bottom line, you only need either a white or black backround.

First thing to remember is that a "pure" white background reflects 90% of the light that hits it and a "pure" black background absorbs 90% of the light that hits it. With that said, you need no other colored seamless papers, only Black and White.

Take your lights, set them up where they evenly light the background, then take a roll of slide film and shoot one frame each in 1/3 stop increments starting from the lowest aperture to the highest--set your shutter speed at sync-speed. In other words, slap a "red" gel on your background lights, shoot at F/1.8, (and 1/3 stop increments between whole F/stops), 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, 11.0, etc., then change gels, do the same over and over again with each color of gel.

Then have your slide film developed, un-cut, slap them on a black matte board with an opening the size of the width and length of the film, and tape it in over the sprocket holes. Use these matte boards to slap on a light table to show your client the different shades of color you can reproduce with your backgrounds.

Now you have all the "shades" of each color of gel, then mark them, so say if you have a "budweiser red" at F/8, then you set your camera at F/8, make sure your subject is at least a few feet or more from the background, then light your subject at F/8 with no spill on the background and you'll have Budweiser Red for the background.

If you want American Express blue, and your tests, your light, indicate it's at F/4.0, then light your subject at F/4.0. If you want to control depth of field, then switch from white to black or black to white background which should change your F/stops to just the opposites. Make sure and mark the ground where you set the light so you can set the lights the same way every time, and set the power pak to your background lights the same way--I recommend you have a separate power pak for your main light and keep the background lights the same every time.

Works like a charm, you can make any color you want with Black and White backgrounds, including turning black to white and white to black. If you come to one of my workshops I'll show you how...thanks, rg sends!

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Re: my way
Old 12-01-2004, 12:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Rolando likes to make a production about everything [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]. Its really simple, and I learned it at a seminar taught by Dean Collins. Basically, I make sure the background (and it can be seamless, muslin, or anything) is at least three stops lower in exposure than the foreground where the model is. I take a reading on the model position, say its f11. Then I make sure the background, with no light hitting it (only the spill from the main lights) is reading three stops lower, in this case f4 (meaning you'd have to open up to f4 to get a good exposure on the background, if you were using the main lights only). Now when you add your background lights, you can gel them any color you want and increase or decrease the intensity, or layers of gels, to get the color you want. The examples below with Gena Lee Nolin, are many years old, but all shot with the same lights, just different gels.



Sometimes you need to flag the main light from the background if you're in a tight place, or I used to use two giant softboxes on each side of the model, turned toward each other, pointed at a spot about 2' in front of the model, so she was lit mostly by spill from the lights, and it was very soft.

The process Rolando described is useful as an excercise, and would give you a catalog of colors, and can be beneficial if you need to match a color, but that's pretty rare. You'd have to be really anal to set everything up perfectly each time, to get a reliable reproduction of a color. Also, for this process, I would go with medium gray. Black requireds too much light, white gives you too much spill back onto the model (which can be a nice effect if that's what you want). Gray works best, I've done it a 1000 times. The shots above were done on medium gray painted muslin.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: question about gels
Old 12-01-2004, 01:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There is some great information on exactly that here:
Photo net - Weekly lighting theme - Coloured Gels

Iain

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Re: my way
Old 12-02-2004, 05:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What about the floor in the middle pic, how did you get it to match the background? Is is just a reflection?
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Re: my way
Old 12-03-2004, 01:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The floor is just a reflection of the background. That's what makes it so easy to do because you can change the floor color as easily as the background. The floor is chrome surface .7 mil mylar. It comes on a 55" wide roll from Catalina Plastics, 702-251-8882.

Actually, its not really on the floor. The whole thing is sitting on a piece of 4x9' 3/4" plywood, sitting up on blocks about 16" off the floor. That way its easier to get low enough to shoot a horizontal laying down, or a full length, and the height of the platform hides the background light, which is sitting on the floor pointed up and back at the backgroung (about 6' to 8' from the background). Also, I have a little extra lift on the back of the platform, so it leans forward just a bit. It gives you a bit more floor surface to shoot. Here's another sample (also from many years ago).



Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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