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How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 01:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm trying to get a true black background and duplicate the setup shown in this link.

http://www.pbase.com/mcmomo/no_07

When I shoot this the background is a dark grey with a reading in Photoshop of 25-30 whereas the one in the link is about 2 or 3. I'm using a 9' black paper background and I have my chair set about 6' away from the background and the light is about 6' away from the chair. I have 2 pieces of black foam core across from the light because I thought the light was bouncing from the wall and hitting the background. All the walls in my house are white and the ceiling is 8' high. I'm using a hensel porty light at the lowest power setting it has. So my question is how do I achieve this or is it impossible with the space I have?
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 02:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvthunder View Post
I'm trying to get a true black background... When I shoot this the background is a dark grey with a reading in Photoshop of 25-30...
Have you tried

IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > REPLACE COLOR , selecting the background grey and just bringing down the "lightness" to the appropriate level?
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 02:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No I wanted to know if it could be done in the camera instead of in Photoshop.
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 03:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvthunder View Post
I have my chair set about 6' away from the background and the light is about 6' away from the chair. ... I'm using a hensel porty light at the lowest power setting it has.
If the light were shining strait at the chair with the backdrop directly behind (no angles), then the distance from light to chair is 6' and the distance from light to backdrop is 12', twice as far. That means the you would get a two stop reduction in light intensity at the background, relative to your subject, no matter what power setting you use. This is still too much light to render black paper truly deep black. You need to either

(a) reduce the amount of light hitting the backdrop relative to the subject by changing the distances/ratios

(b) assuming your light isn't aimed strait ahead, flag it off to a narrower beam so the parts of the backdrop that it does hit are out of the frame

(b) use a backdrop that reflects even less light than black paper, such as black velvet

(d) some combination of above
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 04:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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While struggling to eliminate glare from glasses and refusing to use gimmicks like no lens in the frames, I may have found a near perfect black.

1. Subject is 6 feet from black blackground
2. Windows are heavily draped
3. Subject is seated and all lights point downward
4. Main, Fill, and Hair (Optional) lights are all at least sligtly behind the subject. If you drew a line on the floor 6 feet from the background and parallel to it, you would set your Main and Fill lights on the backgroud side of the line at an anlge of 0 to 30 degrees to the line and pointed at the subject.
5. Now use standard camera setting to discourage the ambient light from being part of the picture.
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 05:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvthunder View Post
I'm trying to get a true black background and duplicate the setup shown in this link.

http://www.pbase.com/mcmomo/no_07

When I shoot this the background is a dark grey with a reading in Photoshop of 25-30 whereas the one in the link is about 2 or 3. I'm using a 9' black paper background and I have my chair set about 6' away from the background and the light is about 6' away from the chair. I have 2 pieces of black foam core across from the light because I thought the light was bouncing from the wall and hitting the background. All the walls in my house are white and the ceiling is 8' high. I'm using a hensel porty light at the lowest power setting it has. So my question is how do I achieve this or is it impossible with the space I have?
Try moving the beauty dish closer to your subject (say 3ft instead of 6 feet).
This might make your subject lighting a little softer than you want but will increase the lighting ratio between the subject and the background.
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 10:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You should put a grid on your soft boxes to eliminate light spill. That way you're only lighting your model and not the background.
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 01:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvthunder View Post
No I wanted to know if it could be done in the camera instead of in Photoshop.
As suggested, just keep the light off the background. That's the secret. Here is a simple example illustrated by this lighting photo and the result of model Karen:



As you can see, a screen is placed so that the light from the softbox does not spill onto the background.

Cheers,
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-01-2008, 07:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If you're not committed to a particular f-stop just move the light closer to the subject. The closer you move it the darker your b/g will get. Also move one of your pieces of foam-core between the light and the b/g as RFS suggested.
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Re: How do I get a true black background?
Old 01-02-2008, 12:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Moving the light closer made a much better impact then blocking the light. I couldn't find the right spot to block the light from hitting the background. I'm going to try my softbox now and see how that works.
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