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Ok.....what am I doing wrong here?
Old 01-13-2003, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all,

I have a set of four Speedotron 1200 w/s strobes in my studio. I have also built a large (4'x8') diffusion panel and use rip stop nylon as a cover in order to simulate a huge softbox. I would like to be shooting at f4 of f5.6, perhaps a little less in some cases, but the lowest I can achieve (short of using a number of neutral density filters or a polarizer) is about f11. I have even doubled the distance of the strobes to the subject and I'm still metering f11. I'm using Portra 400NC and 160NC for film. I use three lights most of the time; a main, a fill, and a hairlight. I've gone down to using just one light and a white reflector and still am metering f11. I think once I managed to get it down to f8 (with my power supply set to 1/4 power in all cases) but I want to avoid moving the light too far away. The whole point of me building the diffusion panel was to be able to get the panel very close to the subject for much more pleasing lighting but I'm always having to shoot at such high f-stops. I know the lighting formulas for power vs. distance and all that but now need some further advice. Do I need to get a darker diffusion material (but don't want to impose any color on models) or just get a few more layers of the white ripstop? I've read that the lower f-stops help to diminish blemishes (which makes sense anyway, given the change in D-O-F). I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks. If you need any more specifics such as distance to subject for my lights/diffusion panel, let me know. Thanks.

Mike
Email: photoman@worldviewphoto.com
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Re: Ok.....what am I doing wrong here?
Old 01-13-2003, 12:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Mike

You don't say what size your studio is or what color the walls are. You could be getting some reflection if your walls are too light or too close.

However, 300 or 400 watt seconds is pretty bright. I shoot ISO 100 in the studio and shoot f5.6 or f8 -- depending on the set, results desired, etc.

I don't think you're readings are too out of line. Go to a slower film and -- if your studio is small or very bright, cover the walls or repaint the studio!

Regards
Bob



Something around f8 with white seamless.
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No power adjustments?
Old 01-13-2003, 01:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Do I take it, that your lights have no power adjustment? Generally, modern lighting allows you to not only adjust the power, but to adjust it in 1/10 F/stop increments.

If you don't have any power adjustment on your power packs, then your only option is to use ND gels on the light heads, but that will also cut your modeling lights way down, as well, making it difficult to see and focus, without some kind of separate focusing light. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: Ok.....what am I doing wrong here?
Old 01-13-2003, 05:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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(1) Use lowest power setting

(2) Use slow film (ISO 100 or lower)

(3) But most important you probably need to gel your lights with Neutral density gels. Available at stage equipment and lighting suppliers and some very well stocked photo stores.
 
 
Hmm Maybe?
Old 01-13-2003, 05:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Use a slower film ASA 100 or less..dont use the full power setting on your strobes..cut the them back to one half power or less.
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Re: No power adjustments?
Old 01-13-2003, 08:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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speedotron black line packs do not have any fine control..the 2400ws pack that i had only let me put out 400ws min. Thay are not designed with portraits in mind thay are really a product pack...The new mono lights may be different...just my experence with them
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Re: Ok.....what am I doing wrong here?
Old 01-13-2003, 09:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you were shooting from a straight standard reflector, from the flash head, here is a way to cut the light intensity down.

Shoot bounced off an umbrulla, then thru the diffusion screen. Or use a shoot thru white umbrulla, and then thru the diffusion material.

If you want the shallowest depth of field- rememember to use the longest lens available, if it fits into your vision of the shot.

Then you have the differences to account for in perspective compression, and flattening of the subject.

Typically, when shooting a head and shoulders, with a 85mm lens, I prefer to get down to f34-5.6 range with strobes.

Then again, I love hotlights too.... and I can do a tight face down to 1.8, but then you need to worry about the tip of the nose being in focus.

Good luck, and have fun.

Chip
 
 
Re: No power adjustments?
Old 01-13-2003, 11:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Rick,

My powerpack is adjustable down to 1/4 power. That is usually where I shoot most of my shots from since full power will render some serious f-stops that my lens can't stop down to. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] The lowest power output I can get in a symmetrical or asymmetrical configuration is about 300 w/s. I will see if I can find some ND gels to put over my strobes as well. I also am going to try doubling and tripling the thickness of the diffusion material and see what becomes of that. Thanks for your input!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Mike
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Re: Ok.....what am I doing wrong here?
Old 01-14-2003, 12:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi Chip,

I was doing just what you described. I was shooting into an umbrella, the strobes facing away from the subject. I'm going to try a couple other things as well (I posted them in my reply to Rick) and see what happens. I'd love to be able to get an f-stop reading of 1.8, even f4 would be cool at this point... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] Thanks for the input!

Mike
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Re: Ok.....what am I doing wrong here?
Old 01-14-2003, 12:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi Bob,

My studio is approximately 20x20 (quite small actually). The walls are white (very white I might add). There is a better than good chance that I'm getting reflection off the walls as well. Rather than repainting, I've considered hanging some dark tapestries on the wall, or even just plain black velvet. That way I can have the room brighter and cheery when just sitting around talking with clients and friends. I also thought of maybe just building some large gobos with a PVC framework and dark material. Both would result in the same effect I think. Thanks for your thoughts!

Mike
Lisbon Falls, Maine
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