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Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light

  
 
c102690
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


Good day all!
I have a question about indoor/night event.
I do understand two ways to freeze motion: using very fast shutter speed (outdoors) or using flash. In using flash to freeze motion, one has to kill most of the ambient light.
However, what happens when you have to shoot an indoor event where the hall is lit with several colorful lights (almost like DJ lights), and you want to incorporate the existing colorful lights but still be able to freeze motion (dancing)?. I have an eos R and don't want to push it past ISO 3200. If I have my way, I prefer max of ISO 1600. Even at this ISO, I don't think I'll be able to get enough speed to freeze motion. So, my question is this: can I use flash to help freeze motion here but at the same time retain the existing colorful lights. I want the pictures to have the same feel as the original scene with all the colorful lights.
I'll appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks



Oct 22, 2022 at 09:31 PM
the-ninth
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


I think yes, if circumstances are right you can get that to work. The basic principle would be to direct the flash on the subject you want to freeze but retain longer shutter speeds to let the sensor capture ambient light. That the actual shutter speed is longer than the flash duration is normal with flash photography anyway, you just need to extend the shutter speed a bit further.

Of course that will lead to a certain bluriness around your subject, but I think that effect can be put to creative use.



Oct 23, 2022 at 12:10 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


Something to understand is the amount of falloff you'll have from your flash to subject distance, and the rate of that falloff iaw ISL as it pertains to your BG ambient lighting.

What that means is that if your flash is close to your subject, your flash power will be "less", but the amount of flash that will reach to your BG areas will be less as the falloff isn't strong enough to get there.

Conversely, if your flash is far from your subject, the relative falloff between the subject and BG areas will be not as different.

Understanding how the ISL falloff vs. flash to subject distance is in play will be a tool to use ... and may influence what focal length you want to shoot with, if you are using on camera flash. But, the key component here is going to be understanding what your flash to subject distance is, as a means of controlling falloff (angle / flag / gobo / barn door are other aspects of control, but ISL may be all you need) from reaching areas you don't want additional luminance from your flash.

Also, you can use a bit of -FEC to keep your subject flash underpowered, and then lift those areas in post.

Been a while since I've done this kind of work, but iirc, set your exposure for your desired ambient exposure. Then set your flash to subject distance for that aperture (with or without FEC to taste).


More than one way to skin this cat ...


Either way, I'd STRONGLY RECOMMEND going to the venue in ADVANCE (i.e. days or weeks before the event) and working up some TEST SHOTS to get an idea of your working distances, and the ambient lighting in play.

For seasoned and experienced folks who do this regularly, this is "old hat" to them, and may feel the advance venue testing is unnecessary. But, for someone who is new to it ... (or, just rusty about it) ... the advance testing will A) help you understand it, B) allow you to try different approaches, to get the desired style you want, C) give you the confidence going in to your event that YOU GOT THIS !!!


GL and HTH ... looking forward to seeing the pics you come up with.


P.S. Check with the Wedding Forum. I'm sure this comes up frequently for them, in dimly lit reception settings.



Oct 23, 2022 at 07:35 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


Embrace the blur/sharp. It's an oft used technique that can be quite effective and convey a sense of time in a single frame. I've used this technique in the studio and on location for decades to great effect. Charlie Haden. Dweezil, and Jorma to name a few. The most important thing is to try and keep most of the ambient light, if possible, off of your subject's face, or it can get too blurry.


Oct 23, 2022 at 08:18 AM
c102690
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


Thanks alot for the tips. Yes, this is for an event next year and I have plenty of time to actually go there and practice with the recommendations here!



Oct 23, 2022 at 12:04 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


I would meter the ambient light and make sure that is at least a stop lower than the light I have on subject. I would probably also gel so my key light matched the color of the ambient. And of course test before the shoot.


Oct 23, 2022 at 04:01 PM
 


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c102690
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


airfrogusmc wrote:
I would meter the ambient light and make sure that is at least a stop lower than the light I have on subject. I would probably also gel so my key light matched the color of the ambient. And of course test before the shoot.


Thanks for your response. In a situation where the scene is lit with multiple colorful lights, how do you decide what gel to use?.



Oct 23, 2022 at 08:04 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


You can't in that situation.


Oct 23, 2022 at 08:26 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


Just wanted to add I always try to go for skin tone. I try to get that right.


Nov 14, 2022 at 12:28 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


You can always process multiple versions of the same file for each different color balance and combine them in Photoshop for a composite that is more or less how you want it to be, then refine that further with the color controls within the program.


Nov 14, 2022 at 01:17 PM
Paul_K
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


c102690 wrote:
Thanks for your response. In a situation where the scene is lit with multiple colorful lights, how do you decide what gel to use?.


You'll need a filter that changes the WB of the flash (usually 5500K) to that of the artificial light (usualy 3400 or 3200K) eg https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/292678-REG/LEE_Filters_DTP_Daylight_to_Tungsten_Filter.html
This will help avoid (with a flash wihout a correction flter) getting a 'properly' lit (at 5400K) subject witgh the backgroundfs getting a unwanted (due to the 3400K color temperture) warmer yellowish color cast.

With the flash (with correction filter) and ambient light both at 3400K, and your camera's WB also set at 3400K (tungsten preset in color temperature menu) the subject wil get a 'neutral' color in balance with the ambient artificial lighting.

Additional advantage is that it helps getting a yellowish 'ghost'' image trailing your fast moving subject, which normally would occur if you use a 5500K flash shooting a (fast) moving subject in a 3400K ambient light surrounding, espercially when you choose a relatively flash synchro time to also capture the ambient light. (Keep in mind you also need select flash on the 2nd !! shutter curtain as otherwise the 'ghost' shadow will unnaturally advance rather then trail your subject)

Note; I re-edited the below after I found an image in my archives that better illustrated the above described technique

I shot this image





MAFB 217 20121124 Adam (full gallery https://pbase.com/paul_k/20121124_mafb_adam )
(D800 2.8/70-200VRII at 155mm 1/160s f/2.8 iso1600 SB800 gellled at 3400K)
using the above procedure

Due the narrow and long venue no stage light was available, making use of flash for the further away models on the catwalk inevitable
However, for the near by end of the catwalk, where there also was a panel of jurors sitting, a number of 3400K spotlights had been set up to give the jurors a clear, well illuminated view of the models coming (and posing) close by to them.

With an ungelled 5400K flash and camera WB, that would have resulted in 'correecct' color far away shots, and yellow color cast near by shots.
By 'gelling' the (off camera) flash with a piece of 'amber' gel, and setting the camera WB to 'tungsten (3400K) the far away shots also became exposed to 3400K (flash) light, rwsulting in images with a color ( = without an extreme yellow color cast) similar to the close by shots illuminated by the 3400K tungsten spots

For comparison, a shot with the tungsten spotlights only ( inevitably when shooting events like catwalk with flash, sometimes the flash hasn't recycled enough for all images i shot in a multiple fps sequence)





(D800 2.8/70-200VRII at 155mm 1/160s f/2.8 iso1600 WB 3400K, no flash)



Nov 14, 2022 at 05:28 PM
c102690
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Freezing motion while incorporating ambient light


Paul_K wrote:
You'll need a filter that changes the WB of the flash (usually 5500K) to that of the artificial light (usualy 3400 or 3200K) eg https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/292678-REG/LEE_Filters_DTP_Daylight_to_Tungsten_Filter.html
This will help avoid (with a flash wihout a correction flter) getting a 'properly' lit (at 5400K) subject witgh the backgroundfs getting a unwanted (due to the 3400K color temperture) warmer yellowish color cast.

With the flash (with correction filter) and ambient light both at 3400K, and your camera's WB also set at 3400K (tungsten preset in color temperature menu) the subject wil get a 'neutral' color in balance with the ambient artificial lighting.

Additional advantage is that
...Show more

Thanks for your input. I have some magmod gels/filter I purchased years ago and they're still pretty good.
I think what I have gathered from your input and others are:
Obviously since most reception halls are lit with tungsten lights (3400K), the artificial light. needs to be jelled with the orange gel/filter (1/4 - 1/2) to match the ambient. That answers part of my question.
As for freezing the subjects (ex. couple dancing), suggestion here is to take the correct ambient exposure and under-expose by one stop or thereabout. Then use the artificial light to freeze the subjects (subject to artificial light should be within reasonable distance). Due to the light fall-off, my flash light will not impact on the ambient ...just the subjects. I will actually have an opportunity to practice this in December.
Finally, when the reception hall is lit with several colorful lights, like DJ lights, you cannot use "gel or filter" to correct the artificial light.
This is what I understand from your response and others. I just need to practice this during a Christmas party next month.
Thanks again!



Nov 15, 2022 at 10:14 PM







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