12.01.2011

Playing around with actors. White background musings.

Outtake during our set up.  No post processing.
 I packed up some lights and went to shoot some photos for "The God of Carnage," at Zach Scott Theater last week.  A quick assignment to shoot two couples against white.  The images will be used online, in a post card and in print ads.  I lit the actors with one big beauty dish from 45 degrees to one side (main light) and a second beauty dish on access with the actors as a fill.  The main beauty dish was 28 inches in diameter and the fill dish was 18 inches in diameter.  Both had white, cloth diffusers  over the front.  All the lights were my new, el cheapo, Elinchrom D-lite 400's.

We were shooting in the rehearsal studio so I had plenty of room to stretch out and to get the white muslin background as far back as I wanted.  I used two lights, one on either side, about ten feet back from the background to light it.  No modifiers on the background lights.  I've become lazy about white backgrounds.  In the old days we had to get them right.  Now, with content aware fill and refine edge in PhotoShop CS5, I think  the images are better off being clipped in post processing.  But that's meat to chew in another post.

I switched back and forth between the Olympus EP3 with the kit lens (and, for my Jedi Knight friend, ATMTX.....I put a trigger in the shoe of the EP3 and used the force by looking on the LCD screen on the back.....the vertigo was almost unbearable...  :-) ), and a Canon 1DSmk2 with an 85mm 1.4 Zeiss ZE.  Both at f8 and both at ISO 200.  That's the sweet spot (ISO-wise) for both cameras.  Looking at the images on the screen the difference isn't that much.  Either set of files would work just fine.  Yes, the Canon is a bit sharper and more detailed if I look at 100% but......  The images have the same overall "look and feel."

I saw the dress rehearsal of the play on Tues. and laughed out loud while I was shooting it.  Fun to have a whole theater as a camera test lab.  If you are in Austin you should see this play.  It's well done.  And if you have not seen The Santaland Diaries  you might want to stop reading in about twenty words and head to the phone to order tickets for you and your closest friends.  It's that good.

Live theater is fun in the way that live music is fun.  You love being in the moment.  You're aware there could be a "train wreck" and you're relieved when it doesn't happen.  Good night.

8 comments:

Spiney said...

Santa Land Diaries as in David Sedaris? I'd love to see that. Unfortunately we are here in PA. We are going to see a family friend who is an accomplished actress at the age of 11 in Miracle on 34th street on Sunday. Love live theater and live musicians. The arts in general. Your play looks funny. Is your backdrop a muslin? Is it white or do you throw enough light at it to make it white. Shots look great.

wjl (Wolfgang Lonien) said...

So you have a Padawan now? Just kidding ;-)

kirk tuck said...

Oh no, Wolfgang. I am the learner when it comes to using the naked screen....

Frank Grygier said...

Andy does bear a strong resemblance to Yoda when swinging his light saber... er.. P1 around.

Frank Grygier said...

The image looks great for an EP-3 or is it the 1DS. Hard to tell.

Frank Grygier said...

I have been thinking of using the hot shoe with a trigger and attaching a Hoodman over the LCD to prevent Jedi vertigo.

Bold Photography said...

The most fun is watching Kirk in action shooting these theater shots (sorry, theatre for those on the other side of the Pond). Working with highly talented actors is a dream come true for any photographer - these folks are SO expressive and responsive to Kirk's suggestions...

Interesting bit about the background. Is technology making us lazy? Or just optimizing the workflow?

kirk tuck said...

Or both. The practice of photography is in constant flux....that's the appeal.