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Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alte...
  
 
tivv
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


A lot of fashion or editorial photos that I've been really drawn to lately have really hard high contrast light and shadows with sharp edges. I presume they are lit with HMI fresnels, but is there a good alternative to use with a flash other than moving it really far away (which then is going to severely limit how much light I can get out of it) so that it's more of a point source ? Sadly I don't have 50k to nonchalantly toss around on a few high wattage HMI lights right now. I'm not sure if a 650w tungsten Arri or the like would be bright enough, but it's certainly a more affordable option. Anyone have any experience?


Some examples:
















or some of the work here (NSFW)
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6e1e0ffc0100ntec.html



Dec 15, 2013 at 06:50 PM
ethompson53
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


A number of electronic flash manufacturers make Fresnel heads and Fresnel modifiers. Checkout the offerings from Profoto, Broncolor, Speedotron and Hensel. They are pricey but the light is quite nice. If your looking at a continuous light source look at the Arri LED Fresnel fixture. I've used them before and they are very nice, full spectrum, low power consumption, very low heat.


Dec 16, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


One of the great modifiers for edgy light like this is the Elinchrom 16" Maxilite. i love it. it's really nice with a Quadra for location work.


Dec 16, 2013 at 04:03 AM
Gregg Heckler
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


One of the great modifiers for edgy light like this is the Elinchrom 16" Maxilite. i love it. it's really nice with a Quadra for location work. Especially with a grid. Sorry about the double post.


Dec 16, 2013 at 04:27 AM
rico
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Any metal reflector - and especially those with a high gloss - will emit hard light. These modifiers reveal a double shadow if you look closely, but are much cheaper than fresnel or projector lights. In similar housing, hot lights are cheaper than flash, but come with numerous drawbacks.

In some ways, the sun is your best hard light, and it's free. The next best thing is a multi-lensed projector or follow spot like the Profoto ZoomSpot:



A diffusion disc is installed in the cookie tray for perfect shadow transitions.



Dec 16, 2013 at 08:02 AM
JakeB17
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Any fashion work you're looking at with hard shadows will almost never feature large HMIs lighting the subject. There are many practical reasons for this.

When it comes to soft sources they are more common, though still not often used on photo sets. Long story short, Fresnels and zoom reflectors for strobes are the way to go. Strobes are infinitely more practical and budget friendly, especially when working on location without power.

But here is the long story, if you care to read it...

There are two reasons big HMIs won't come into play as hard, on axis sources in fashion shoots. The big one is that a big HMI close to your subject, and no diffusion in play, will literally burn the model. I'm not joking. They will get a sunburn in minutes. It will also be blinding and painful, compared to a flash at the same intensity.

Even in mid day sun a 4k par HMI at 15 feet will blind & burn a person if pointed right at them with no diffusion. And a 4k is small. When you're talking 18ks and 24ks it's no joke.

The second big reason is they are much more complex to run and take care of than strobes. A strobe as powerful as an 18k can be run off a battery pack on location, and can be operated by a relatively unqualified assistant without any major safety issues.

In contrast, to run even one 18k, you need at least a second (or third in some cases) running concurrently to keep the generator in phase. This requires a sizable crew of well trained professionals who know how to safely operate lights which draw so much power. This includes a generator operator to make sure the loads are balanced, and juicers to lay cable and distribute power safely and efficiently. And the cable required to run big HMIs is heavy. Most people can only lift one or two 50ft "sticks" of 5 wire banded at once. And 5 wire 4/0 is worse.

I could go into further detail, but I think it's unnecessary. While one good assistant can quickly setup a few 2,400ws profotos by himself, it takes an army and a ton of gear to run big HMIs. I work with them every day, I would know.




Dec 16, 2013 at 09:05 AM
a.RodriguezPix
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?





Dec 16, 2013 at 09:16 AM
rico
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Thanks, Jake, for your report from the front lines.


Dec 16, 2013 at 09:17 AM
andrew00
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


https://vimeo.com/20258250 / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j7MkwmP8Yg

There's videos for the first two shoots you referenced online - and yes big continuous lights were used.

The problem as Jake stated is big lights need a crew, they're hot and heavy and safety is a genuine concern.

If you have a budget to a crew then try renting some lights and seeing what you get, but if it's just you and an assistant then strobes will get you close enough without having the potential dramas.

If you wanted to dip your toe in you could get a second hand Arri 650w fresnel for a couple hundred bucks and a beauty dish and you're 90% of the way there.



Dec 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM
tivv
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Thank you to everyone for the responses, and thanks for that great insight Jake. I know I've seen some Arrisuns in behind the scenes videos before, but they definitely weren't pointed directly at the model, and they were quite far away.

Gear-wise that Profoto ZoomSpot sounded awesome until I saw it was over $10k. I'll check into the others and see if I can find a good deal used on something that looks promising.

For now, I'll continue experimenting with snoots and gridded reflectors, to try and approximate the effect I want. I'm sure as my technique improves I'll be able to get better results regardless.



Dec 16, 2013 at 12:47 PM
 

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Mark_L
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


I guess it depends on what you want to use it for. One model in a studio to a group outside under a silk will be quite different.

Fresnel and spot attachments for stobes get very pricey and are not a perfect solution either because they also eat up light. A guy on modelmayhem has modifed a selecon acclaim stage light to take a profoto head. Goes without saying any reflectors = double shadows.

I really like this light for fashion too and the best solution I have found are bare bulb speedlights - Sunpak 622 (170ws) and probably the new cheetahlight (180 or 360ws) have tiny flash tubes doing very well at representing a point source. You need to flag off the spill inside and power isn't great because light is sent everywhere. The sun obviously works well but usually comes from too high an angle for most of the year and models squint (not always bad for fashion).

On Lara Jade's dvd she has a shoot where the strobes don't show up for some reason and she has to use the video lights intended for the BTS video instead. She had to bump her iso a bit and open up a little but the lighting looked great with clean razor edged shadows.

Edited on Dec 16, 2013 at 05:18 PM · View previous versions



Dec 16, 2013 at 01:05 PM
tivv
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


andrew00 wrote:
There's videos for the first two shoots you referenced online - and yes big continuous lights were used.


That's awesome, thanks! I've actually only had my camera for a little over half a year, so I'm basically brand new and definitely don't have a crew or anything like that, but I could easily grab a 650w to mess around with as they're relatively cheap. Honestly, I just use a set of Alien Bees at the moment and they work fine for the time being. At some point I'll invest in something else when it makes sense, but I want a good idea of exactly what I want and what's going to help me achieve that before I go spending a bunch of money. Until then the humble little Bees are great for learning.



Dec 16, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


This post may also help you: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=771311&page=1#post15739129


Dec 16, 2013 at 05:22 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


I miss shooting with actual Fresnels - Mole Richardson Baby's mostly. I never found a good substitute for the real thing.


Dec 16, 2013 at 06:47 PM
tedwca
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


While not cheap, this Fresnel by Larson will fit pretty much any studio flash. http://www.larson-ent.com/detail286__Fresnel_Lens.htm


Dec 16, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Paratima
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Light, Science and Magic

The best book in the business! Really.



Dec 16, 2013 at 10:18 PM
JBPhotog
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Any studio strobe where the reflector can be removed can do this, it is the bare bulb effect. The light source comes from a very small point, just the flash tube. Once you add a reflector the shadows will become less sharp, even a highly polished one like a sports reflector adds blur to the edges.


Dec 16, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


JBPhotog wrote:
Any studio strobe where the reflector can be removed can do this, it is the bare bulb effect. The light source comes from a very small point, just the flash tube. Once you add a reflector the shadows will become less sharp, even a highly polished one like a sports reflector adds blur to the edges.


It does work pretty well when flagged depending on the distance, the horseshoe shape of most flash tubes means you don't get the point source effect. For full length it would be hard to see but a tight headshot the difference would be there.



Dec 16, 2013 at 11:08 PM
tivv
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


Paratima wrote:
Light, Science and Magic

The best book in the business! Really.


I'm slowly working my way through it actually. I agree it's really fantastic.

Mark_L wrote:
This post may also help you: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=771311&page=1#post15739129


Thanks for that. I like the suggestion of lining a reflector with black cinefoil. I'm going to try that as an immediate short term option until I can explore a more permanent solution. Modifying a Selecon Acclaim sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I could figure out the best way to do that without a bit more direction. My DIY skills in this arena are a bit lacking right now.



Dec 17, 2013 at 01:26 AM
zurkzees
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Hard Contrasty light (like fresnel) from flash / HMI alternatives?


The first shot is by Alex Prager and this site breaks it down.
http://guessthelighting.com/2011/10/06/alex-prager-lights-more-than-bags-for-bottega-veneta/

Bruno Dayan, the last photo, is one of the photographer I admire because of his lighting.
I haven't experimented enough to figure out how he does it but I'm sure some his work
is done by Fresenels and spot modifiers.

Speaking of Fresnels, I use one by profoto. I got featured here.
http://www.profoto.com/blog/fashion-photography-2/light-shaping-tool-profresnel-spot/

The light characteristic is different from other any modifiers I've used, including the Elinchrom
Maxilite that another member has posted. A Maxilite was used to shoot these images.






https://31.media.tumblr.com/e8183d1888ea0ca0dd30d57b2341845b/tumblr_mf41rk2Txj1qzocrto1_500.jpg

There's also the Profoto hardbox which reduces the size of the flash by soaking a lot of
light which I used to shoot these.











Keep in mind, modifier characteristic look different when balancing outdoor ambient light vs.
studio setting with very low natural light.

Hope it helps,
-Xerxes

Edited on Dec 17, 2013 at 05:12 PM · View previous versions



Dec 17, 2013 at 06:20 AM
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