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Archive 2013 · Need help with 3 light set-up
  
 
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need help with 3 light set-up


I need a simple setup to be able to do both single player & a small group of 10-12 players in 2 rows, What would be the best way for this setup, I have 3 light available.Maybe show the setup
Paul



Jan 13, 2013 at 11:49 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need help with 3 light set-up


For the individual player a "rim" light behind and to the side 135 degrees from camera axis outline the body and an illusion of 3D space to the shot a frontal-only strategy would lack. In front you'd want both key and a centered fill lights: the key to create to create the 3D modeling, the even fill to put detail in ALL the shadows the camera sees.

There are pros and cons to either centering or putting the key light 45 to the side.

When put to the side the nose casts a sideways shadow and flattering results require thoughtfull, careful alignment of that nose with the key light. You place the light 45 to the side and 45 above the eye line, then need to verbally coach the subject to move their face to the place where the shadow of the nose falls down at a 45 degree angle covering half of it, then hold that position as you shoot. The pros of the sideways strategy is that it creates very flattering 3D modeling on a face. The cons are that it takes more time and requires more control and skill vs. centering the key light.

A centered key light is very flattering for a full face pose because both the pose and pattern are symmtrical. The mistake beginners make and why flash in hotshoe looks unnatural is putting the light too low. Natural light and the modeling it creates comes from above. So raise the key light directly over the camera. Stop raising it when you see the brow start to shade the eyes. The angle of light to front of face will be about 45 degrees. The angle of light to ground will vary depending on whether the subject is looking level, up, or down. The nose shadow goes down, the cheekbones are modeled naturally and full face view looks very naturally 3D with few noticable shadows becaut the "key" light is highlighting the entire front of the face. The pros are that it's simple to set up and keeps the lights near the camera (no tripping hazard) and alignment of subject face to light isn't as critical making it ideal for "production line" sessions. The con is that it's not as dramatic or 3D looking as key light from the side, but adding the "rim" light from behind solves that problem.

It's more flattering for the subject to shoot from a position above their eye-line with the camera looking down at the top of the nostrils rather than up and into them. Also if you stand on a small stool or 3-step ladder and put the lens 8' off the ground it requires the subjects to look up slightly eliminating the problem of the brow shading the ambient light, which will make the eye sockets darker than the cheeks and forehead even when flash is added. If you start with ambient shading the eyes before adding flash they will be still darker than cheeks after adding the flash. The flash becomes the "key" the ambient the "fill" and the fill is shaded in eyes but not under the highlights on the cheeks.

When you shoot from a stool with the camera about 8' off the ground and the subject looking up the key light winds up about 10-12' off the ground and the fill, which should be placed about chin level with the subject, wind up below the lens in front of the stool or step ladder you stand on. Setting the key:fill ratio and exposure is pretty simple.

Use identical lights/modifiers at the same power setting. Set aperture you need for DOF. Adjust power until highlights on front of body in white fabric and skin are at or about 1/3 stop under clipping in the playback so they will retain detai. Equal key and fill when overlapped create a 1fill + 1 key: 1 fill REFLECTED ratio (2:1). By eye the shadows out of camera may be a bit lighter than normal but will ensure you record detail in the shadows of black shoes, uniforms, etc. They are easily adjusted in PP. If you find the shadows too light for your tastes just reduce the amount of fill power and raise key by the same amount to keep the same highlight tone (highlights overlap fill and get darker if you reduce the fill to make the shadows darker).

Before the actual session get a test subject and try both the side key and centered key configuration so you understand how to do both, then decide which is the more feasible logistically.

For the group shots? Anything there is more than one nose in a photo its easier to get the lighting pattern and exposure identical on all the faces with a centered Key:Fill strategy as described above for the reasons stated above. Shooting from above also helps to keep all the heads the same size and puts heads over bodies so it's the the front row with an extra set of heads over their shoulders.

For BB teams I've used a tall ladder or borrowed the rig the maintenance crew uses to change lights in the ceiling and shot nearly straight down with the team or cheerleaders around the center court logo looking up at the camera. That way it's mostly faces vs. filling the frame with torsos of the front row you see in a ground level shot. Raising the POV shifts the bodies under the heads but if the faces look up at the camera (and lights) the face<>camera angle is the same as on the ground plus the faces/eyes are up into the light (no eyes shaded by brow). It's a good strategy to know for when you much shoot with just the overhead lighting in a gym.



Jan 13, 2013 at 01:17 PM





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