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Effectively Using Gels on White Seamless Paper
Old 05-06-2005, 02:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi, I am wondering what is the best way to color white paper with gels. I just finished a couple different test set-ups and really am not feeling it. The look I am tring to get is a smooth flow of color on the entire background. I tried using two lights with 7in reflectors on each side of the background, but the color is not continuous. It is darker in some areas and lighter on others which looks wierd behind the subject. Maybe the lights are too close? Also, this may sound wierd, but it also seemed that based on the color gel, some were better than others. For example, I used yellow and it looked pretty good, but the dark colors like red and blue seemed more difficult to spread evenly. What am I doing wrong?
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Re: Effectively Using Gels on White Seamless Paper
Old 05-06-2005, 03:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've not done it but my understanding is that you use black seamless.
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Re: Effectively Using Gels on White Seamless Paper
Old 05-06-2005, 04:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I use a light gray background with my gels
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Re: Effectively Using Gels on White Seamless Paper
Old 05-06-2005, 07:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Gels on lights work !!!
Just remember the inverse sq law {light falls off inverse to the square}.
Example at 1 foot you have 100 foot candles but at 2 feet you have only 25. At 4 feet you have 16 and at 10 you only 1 candle.
So its best to not be too close w direct illumination or beter yet to bounce to your background if you want even illumination.
Most of the time dramatic is a clincher rather than even illumination.
Any color background may be used - do not fear white.
Meter it if you dont belive the inverse square law.
It is a real law but the crafty always break laws and get away with it.
EL
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Well....
Old 05-06-2005, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Gels on white aren't a very good mix to begin with.. because gels only appear in the "shadows".. White seamless is very reflective, and if you have any light spilling onto the background, you will wash out the colours of your gels... what you need to do is pull the model out a long ways from the background so you can separate your lights that light her from the lights that light up the background...and I wouldn't suggest shooting full length and expect even lighting.. nope.. very hard to do..

There are some things that you can do to have nifty effects like bouncing the gel lights off of the white background's floor, which splash colour all over the model...light a coloured seamless with a gel of the oposite colour.....or like colour.....you can have fun with gels.. For me,... I don't really care to light up a white background with gels.. I'd rather buy different coloured paper..

BTW, on most of my high key sets,.. in order to get a more even light of the white background, I use 4 lights..not 2..

JP

For Audra here, I bounced the gel light off the floor.. which you can only see in the shadows on the underside of her....pretty cool eh? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
 
 
gels on backgrounds
Old 05-06-2005, 11:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well I don't have any white-seamless-with-color-gels samples handy (I have done it) so you'll have to use your imagination. But first, here's what you can get with gray paper or textured gray (in this case, painted fabric) and gels. (Don't use black. Theoretically it works, but it takes a lot of power). Same setup, only thing that changed was the get golor, and its only ONE head with the gel color! (Model is Gena Lee Nolan when she first came to LA):



Notice in the middle shot, she's standing on chrome mylar - she's actually standing on a 3/4" plywood platform about 16" off the ground, and about 8-10' from the back wall with the fabric. As someone pointed out here, you have to light the model seperately from the background for this gel thing to work. According to the late Dean Collins, you need at least 3 stops of falloff. In other words, you light the model with a softbox or whatever (and it might be easier to use a side light - these shots had two, one on each side, pointed at each other, and slighly in front of the model. She was lit by the spill from them.). So you light the model, get a reading, say f11. Now, without turning on the background light, read the background (this all works best with an incident meter and strobes BTW). The background should be reading f4, or 2.8 would be better. Now whatever you do to the background, it will not be affected by what you do on the foreground. In this example, I had one flashhead with a 10" reflector sitting on the floor just behind (and even a little under) the platform, pointed at the wall (maybe angled up with a brick). What happens is that the farther you have that light from the wall, the less fall-off you get - the wall will appear to be lit more evenly. But even if you do have fall-off, it looks good because its brightest toward the bottom center and falls off like a sunset. (You could add multiple heads, but why, unless you are going for a dead-flat white background?).

OK, so now you want to use white instead of gray on the background? Great. The main difference will be that a) you will get some color blow-back onto the model reflecting off the background, and b) the colors will appear more pastel, less rich. Now as an interesting effect, which I've done but can't find an example of, if you DO move the main light in closer, and move the model closer to the back wall, you'll see an interesting trick. Put one head with colored gel off to one side, then put your main light a little off-center. What will happen is you will get a fairly white wall, with a nice colored shadow behind the model, where her body blocks the main light from washing out the color coming from the other side. Its really cool, I've seen whole layouts done like this.

Two other things. As you correctly observed, different colors react differently to changes of power. Yellow, and especially red, seem to look the same whether you turn the power up two stops or down two stops, while greens, blues, and purples tend to get very light, or very dark depending on the power. That's just the nature of colored light. Dean Collins suggested running a test where you shot each colored gel you wanted to use, at a range of 6 or 7 exposure stops to see the differences, based on a -3 to +3 ((with "O" being your normal reading) range. Also, I use the chrome mylar on the floor (or platform actually) because its the only way I've found to make the floor exactly the same color as the background (unless you're using the paper or fabric rolled out, and using its own color). You can even PS it a bit to make it blend as in this example with a young Pamela Anderson:



Hope that helps. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: gels on backgrounds
Old 05-07-2005, 09:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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This is amazing! Thanks!
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Re: Well....
Old 05-07-2005, 09:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This IS very cool. I will try it out. Thanks for the tip!
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additonal
Old 05-07-2005, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You're welcome. One thing I wanted to add/clarify... You CAN use black paper if that's all you have, or you want a different effect. If you have to use black and you want even color, you'll need at least two, possibly four heads, and it will require more power than just using gray (gray reflects better than black......). But, there is a nice effect of you feather off the one head I mentioned (you could also do it from the side) which means instead of pointing the background head straight on to the background, you point it off to one side a bit. That will give you the effect of "color" fading into black, which can be kind of cool. You could also do it with a spot light of some sort, giving you a hot color in the middle of a black wall. If you did this with white, you'd get falloff as well, but again, it would be more of a pastel and I don't think as interesting. This was kind of a hot technique about 10+ years ago, I haven't seen any signs its making a comeback because it has more of a look that says "portrait studio" to it than most other studio techniques.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
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Re: additonal
Old 05-07-2005, 12:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
You're welcome. One thing I wanted to add/clarify... You CAN use black paper if that's all you have, or you want a different effect. If you have to use black and you want even color, you'll need at least two, possibly four heads, and it will require more power than just using gray (gray reflects better than black......). But, there is a nice effect of you feather off the one head I mentioned (you could also do it from the side) which means instead of pointing the background head straight on to the background, you point it off to one side a bit. That will give you the effect of "color" fading into black, which can be kind of cool. You could also do it with a spot light of some sort, giving you a hot color in the middle of a black wall. If you did this with white, you'd get falloff as well, but again, it would be more of a pastel and I don't think as interesting. This was kind of a hot technique about 10+ years ago, I haven't seen any signs its making a comeback because it has more of a look that says "portrait studio" to it than most other studio techniques.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio

[/ QUOTE ]

LOL,... if you have more than just one large bank of diffused light splattering a model with light from a 45º and don't shoot the model right up against a wall, I am told that that look is "80's" So,...if you use more than one light,... you are "80's".. Or,...you know what you are doing..which some who splatter a model with a glob of light can't figure out any other use for that light... Yep!

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

JP
 
 
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