Setting up the studio.
This is the most difficult situation I could dream up; We are shooting in my living room to prove this can be achieved quite nicely in small spaces. The overall room is 9′ x 12′ with ceilings at 7’10”. My backdrop is 12′ long, its 7′ up and 5′ out. I have laid a 4′ wide piece of bright green felt across the front to give my model and myself a little extra safety margin. Kelly is blonde today, so we can dispel the rumors regarding the adverse effects of shooting blondes on chroma-keys.
The first thing I need to do is balance my backdrop strobes. I want the lighting as flat and as even as I can possibly make it. With my flash meter on the backdrop I am aiming towards a reading of f-11. I will walk back to where I intend to shoot Kelly from and make a few test shots to check for dark/bright spots. I can not stress enough flat and even lighting on the backdrop…
The key points is the light on the backdrop with respect to the position of the model, or the light at the model. If I were shooting my model and my main strobe is setup at f-8, I will want the backdrop to reflect back at f-8 while holding my flash meter beside her head. If the backdrop is one full stop under, heavy shadowing will probably occur and you will be left with a mess to clean up by hand. If you are one half stop or more over exposed on the backdrop, you run the risk of tinting the hair or lightly color clothing. I hope you are seeing the key issue here? You’re balancing four strobes, not just the two on your subject. For those of us used to working with complex lighting scenarios, this becomes more of a procedural task. For someone new to studio lighting, this is a great exorcize to stretch your knowledge and skill set.
I love using Glamour lighting on Kelly, but before we go look up lighting patterns, let’s think a minute about the big picture. What we really need to do is mimic the lighting for the scene that we will eventually paste her into. Take a good look at your digital scene, so that we can attempt to match the angles and position of our strobes, to match the sun, etc. I put my stripbox on the floor, angled upwards, this will be my fill. I put my Beauty Dish about 2′ above her angled downwards, this will mimic the sun – my main. I decided to use a second fill, a stripbox behind her to take a bit of the edge off and avoid the harsh dark void on her back.
OK, I made the shot and now we are finished, ready to move on to post processing 🙂