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another gel question
Old 12-08-2004, 06:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Morning all,

Read through the very recent thread on gels and thought i'd give it a lash the other night. Set up one strobe with barndoors and a blue gel about 5 foot from a white sheet (my budget background) hanging against a wall. Cranked the head all the way up to full power and metered it at f13 (shutter 1/125). Took a shot, closed down 1/3 an f-stop (ie, f14) and took another and so on to f25. Then went back and opened up 1/3 till i hit f4. I kind of expected the wide open shots to be bluer but they are almost white. The f25 shot is the most blue of all the shots.

Trying to figure out what this means and how it all works. The plan is to get the background blue and light a model infront of it with a seperate light (and make sure i have 3 stops falloff between the model and background). Will i get the best results with really low power on the background strobe? That seems to be what this is suggesting.

I know this is probably a pretty simple question and normally i'd just go play again tonight. Problem is I need to do it tonight and won't have another chance to play before then!! Any help? I've attached a few examples to show you what i mean.

I'm using a D70 and plan on shooting at f8 or so on the model. I would ideally like a really strong blue background.

Oh, and while you're reading. I'm borrowing a mates lights and radio triggers and don't know what shutter speed to use with them (all studio stuff). The D70 syncs at 500 apparently but if i go to 1/500 the images are dark - as though the shutter has cut off some of the flash. 1/250 is better but i've found it safer to just use 1/125. Anyone else have this problem, any suggestions for studio shutter speed? I would have thought any of these speeds would have been below the flash duration?

cheers fellas, felletes,

adam

f13 (metered reading)

f25 (the closest to what i want)

f9 (anything wider than f9 is almost pure white and makes for a boring picture...


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Re: another gel question
Old 12-08-2004, 07:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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adam,
The more light you shoot on a background, the brighter(whiter) it will get. Doesn't matter what the color of gel or background. When you open up to f4, you are essentially 'turning up the power of the light'.
Also, if you shoot any color gel onto a white background and expose at your meter reading, the recorded color will appear lighter because it is mixing with the white. If you only have white to work with, then you'll have to stop down until you get the color you want. You can also use a gray or black background for colored gels. I use black paper with gels and find it easier to get the color I want compared to using white. Depends on your taste though.

Also, if shooting at f25 gets the color that you want, then you will need to meter your main light at f25. You said you plan on shooting f8, then you'll need to turn the power way down on the strobe.(probably around f2.8-4)

I may have left something out, but I hope it helps. I'm sure someone else will fill in any blanks.

Good Luck!
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Re: another gel question
Old 12-08-2004, 07:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the quick reply Jason.

Sounds like the go is to swap to a black background and reduce the amount of light i hit it with? Given this, would i use a low power setting on the strobe and a small aperture to bring out the strongest blue on the black?

Once i get a nice blue at say, f11 with the strobe set fairly low i should then light my subject at f11 also so everything is exposed correctly?

Cheers again for the explanation.

adam
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Re: another gel question
Old 12-08-2004, 07:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you are shooting today, then I wouldn't swap to black background yet. You will want to test the lighting on it.
With the same set-up that you used before, same blue gel w/ white background...
Try lowering the power of the strobe until it meters around f/2.8 or 4. Then, you should be able to meter/shoot your main subject light around f/8-11.(this is based on your previous test results)
Also, just a note: Black cloth backgrounds will absorb light and paper will bounce it. So, balancing the light will be different.
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Re: another gel question
Old 12-09-2004, 12:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I believe my Pocket Wizard syncs at 250 and below. Never tried it at 500 with my D70.
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once more.....
Old 12-10-2004, 01:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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First, you will really get better results with gray backgrounds instead of white. Not only will white always look a little pastel, but it will bounce the color back onto your model, and on the walls of the room and then onto your model, and may not be flattering. And gray won't take as much power to get the same effect as black, but black can give you a nice effect if you don't light the whole paper. If you feather the light off to one side, or concentrate it in the middle, it will fall off to black, as opposed to a deeper shade of the same color.

Second, not all colors gel the same. As you discovered with blue, the intensity of the blue will vary widely from deep to pastel with just a minor adjustment of power (or exposure). Red however, will stay pretty much the same, unless you adjust the power in extreme levels.

Third, go back and read the three posts I made on this, they might help you understand. Go to the GG search window and type "Pearlman Gel Gray" without the quotes, select the "And" perimeter, and go back three months. You should find all three posts I wrote on this subject.

Remember, the most important thing is to get some distance between the subject and the background, or at least keep the main light off the background.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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