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Lighting Painting - Behind The Scenes

Guest Post By Fensterbme

A dark field, some lighting gear, some colored light emitting children's toys equal a lot of fun...

Photo By Fensterbme

The goal here was 'fun', specifically to let people play around with this setup and see what kind of results they could get... the setup was shooting tethered so that people could see what was being captured on a near real-time basis.

Technical Description:

Canon 5DMkII w/ 24-70mm f/2.8L lens mounted on a Manfrotto 055CXPRO Carbon tripod, with a shutter release cable shooting tethered into a MacBook Pro running Lightroom 3. The camera was in 'bulb' mode with the shutter being opened/closed by the Canon shutter release cable (allowing the person running it to determine how long the exposure needs to be). Lighting was provided by two White Lighting X1600's mounted on C-Stands with boom arms out. The front light was up and to camera left with a large softbox difusing things, a back light to camera right was restricted with a set of barn-doors. Both lights triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus II's, Power provided by a Paul C. Buff Vagabond II. Everything was carted up there in Joleen's (my wife) 2005 Subaru WRX STI (on the left).

Light Painting Behind The Scenes
Light Painting Behind The Scenes

This photo taken by another Canon 5D with a 16-35mm f/2.8LMkII lens with another Pocket Wizard Plus II firing the strobes.

How It Works:

The way the setup functions is that a puff of flash is fired when the shutter release cable is pressed, this puff of flash is the only thing that illuminates the people in the frame. After the flash people can move around with the color light sources and 'paint' until they are done.

Light Painting Setup
Light Painting Setup

 Because there is so little available light the length of time the shutter is open doesn't matter a ton, some times the people would be done in just a second or two and in others it might take ten seconds. One tip is that the strobes should be set on a low enough power that they balance out well in terms of exposure with the light sources that are being used for the 'painting', in this case the strobes were on pretty low.

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