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Studio Design...square one
Old 04-23-2006, 08:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So I ordered the Hensels...and based largely upon the advice those on this board I went ahead and ordered a third head right off the bat. I'm more than a little excited about getting them, not too mention a little in debt. While I will be taking them with me to go on location (yeah, they're heavy... I knew that) most of my shooting will be in my "home studio. This is where I need a bit of insight.

My "studio" consists of an unfinished area in my basement that is 15' wide and about 25' deep. On one side is a gray cinderblock wall and the other is open with steel support beams. When budget permits, this area will be roughed in, drywalled, and painted (likely black). There is no ceiling as of yet, but when I hang one it will be at approximately 9' to 9'6". The floor at present is simply gray concrete. There are only two of the small 6" x 15" (approx.) basement style windows and I will be covering those up to avoid strange lighting issues.

I already have a 9' x 15' black Muslin drape and stand that will serve as the primary background, and will look to add a second stand for seamless as soon as the budget allows.

What I am trying to determine at this point, is the bast way to handle the lack of a ceiling and two side areas. Given that various heating ducts and copper piping run overhead they will need to be covered to avoid lighting issues. Is something like a thick piece of black fabric sufficient, or is there something better for the task? Would you do the same thing on the sides, or am I being too sensitive? The wall isn't necessarily 18% gray, but it isn't too far off either.

Anyone else run in to similar issues and live to tell the tale?
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Re: Studio Design...square one
Old 04-23-2006, 09:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Fabric on the ceiling is going to be a royal pain in the a$$. It will be less of a problem on the sides. I'd recommend sheet-rocking it in if you can. Regarding color, no matter what color you paint the walls and ceiling, 6 months later you'll wish you had painted them another color. For simplicity, paint everything the same color to start with. White or light gray is nice if you ever want to use the walls or ceiling as a big light source (by bouncing the light from a strobe off of them). But you then have to control spill with flags. This isn't a big deal (due to the inverse-square law) unless you're close to a wall. Black and dark gray walls are very handy if you photograph big, reflective things like bikes and cars. For smaller stuff you can just use black panels to enclose a small shooting space. A black room is also very gloomy. Unless you install task lighting over/around other work areas it's difficult to use the room for anything besides shooting. I haven't personally seen a primary shooting location painted black in a long time. But that might just be due to the other photographers I know with studio spaces.

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Re: Studio Design...square one
Old 04-24-2006, 12:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would keep as much ceiling height as you can. I have 10' 6" and I could easily use another foot or two for my boom and backdrop. If you feel your overhead has too many reflective pipes, try painting them flat black. As to the sides, just leave them as is until you find they are affecting your shots. If one side is open with steel beams sounds like it could be accessible for your lighting. You really cannot have too much room.
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Re: Studio Design...square one
Old 04-24-2006, 12:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I can't tell you how much I wish I had an extra 24" of ceiling height. My approach for the timebeing will be minimalistic until I figure out wha the space's greatest limitations are. I do think the idea of flat black on the pipes and ducts overhead is a great idea...thanks Olli.
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Re: Studio Design...square one
Old 04-24-2006, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I wouldn't worry about it too much, get your Lights, set-em up and shoot, then see what you need, your set-up as it stands now sounds better than my garage and I get some pretty amazing stuff out of it (although I do have SIX Hensels...lol)..


when do you get them? and what did you get? a beauty dish I hope...
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Re: Studio Design...square one
Old 05-31-2006, 12:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenD
I wouldn't worry about it too much, get your Lights, set-em up and shoot, then see what you need, your set-up as it stands now sounds better than my garage and I get some pretty amazing stuff out of it (although I do have SIX Hensels...lol)..
when do you get them? and what did you get? a beauty dish I hope...
Was just cleaning out my subscribed threads and saw that I ignored your question Steven. Sorry 'bout that.

While my arsenal only includes three Hensels, as compared to your six, I was lucky enough to get the beauty as a freebie. I had done Rolando's Chicago workshop in April and Hensel throws it in if you buy one of their kits in the 90 days that follow. I got the basic two light kit (thanks to Frank at Samy's) along with a third strobe and stand, and the dish was an extra perk.

Of course they got here, and then I got the news...my basement needs some tuck pointing. Picture handheld grinders and a fair amount of dust . As such, I am stuck in studio limbo, hoping that my guy can get it done SOON. From there, I'll do a fairly extesive cleanup and will immediately "paint" the walls and concrete floor with a sealer to ensure that I am 100% waterproof. Haven't had problems in the past, just a little extra insurance. From there it will be roughed in, sheetrocked, and painted either black or dark gray.

Nothing is EVER as easy as it appears on paper...
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