Yesterday we got an interesting email from our friend Pye Jirsa over at SLRLounge.com. Pye recently helped film a video campaign for a friend's Kickstarter product launch called One and he decided to film a quick behind the scenes video on how he lit and filmed the different scenes. Pye is a big DIY guy and many of the lights he used on this production can be found for super cheap. We don't usually post a lot of Kickstarter proposals but the lighting tips from this one were simply too good to pass up. Watch the BTS video below and then click the full post to view the final video.
After almost a year of work we have finally finished Peter Hurley: The Art Behind The Headshot. We created this to be a double DVD tutorial and we may eventually still make a physical copy but for now we have decided to begin with a digital download. I would like to thank each one of you that supported us by pre-ordering this video and I am so sorry it took so long to produce. Patrick and I filmed and edited this and it was far more complicated than we ever imagined. Creating this video has been the hardest project I have ever worked on but at the same time one of the most rewarding. During the 5 days of filming this video Peter completely opened my eyes to a new way of shooting people. Peter helped me look past the technical side of the camera and the lighting to see the emotion and feeling that each of his clients were producing in each image. When his clients weren't producing compelling images, Peter knew exactly how to coach them into creating that perfect "look." This experience has changed my photography more profoundly than any other experience in my life and I hope that everyone who watches this video will feel the same way. Fstoppers is full of new and free information every single day including the first video we did with Peter over a year ago. This video was created with the professional photographer in mind and it costs $300 for a digital download of the 4 hour video. We know that many of our readers are photography hobbyists and if you don't shoot professionally you may not see the value in this download and that is fine. Please realize that this is a tool and a piece of education that will help (some) professionals take their business to the next level. If you don't see the value in it, please do not buy it and enjoy all of the other free material on our site. If you do decide to buy this video, I would like to thank you so much for supporting this venture and Fstoppers.com. Never in a million years would I have thought we (two wedding photographers from South Carolina) could have created a 4 hour tutorial of this complexity. I know we will never make enough money from DVD sales to make up for the time spent producing it (for some reason we thought it would only take a few weeks to edit) but I hope that this video will impact the photographers who watch it in a huge way.
As we have said many times before, we are huge fans of the crew at StillMotion for their wedding work. In this video, the team steps outside of their standard job to shoot for Shedd Aquarium. They decided to film most of the project on the new Red Epic so that they could shoot at variable frame rates up to 300fps. In the video below, they take us behind the scenes of the creation of this project. Check out the full post to see the reel from the shoot.
If you were approached by a big client and asked to only shoot with one light, would you freak out or would you make the most of the situation? In Nike's latest basketball commercial Basketball Never Stops, they only used one single hard light to tell the story how the game and fans go on even after the court lights turn off. I think videos like this are a great reminder that sometimes less is more. Sometimes a simple setup can still produce dramatic results (even if you have you substitute a helicopter for a lightstand). Check out the video below and click the full post to see a short Behind The Scenes video on the making of this latest Nike Ad.
The amount of effort that went into Sony's 3D commercial Two Worlds is pretty unbelievable. I've watched this video twice now and still don't know if I know what I'm seeing. The creative team filmed the actors at 2500 FPS which required more than half a million watts of lighting and some of the largest fabric grids I've ever seen. Then using green screen, they filmed tons of slow motion projectiles to help their CGI team in the rendering of the background and moving elements. Because super slow motion video often looks fake even if it's real, making sense of what is real and what isn't real in this video is what makes it so interesting to me. Check out the video below and click the full post to see how they created this commercial inspired by the legendary Leonard Cohen.
Eric Curry is a photographer who specializes in painting with light. Unlike using strobes to exposure your photos, painting with light requires you to use long exposures and constant light sources to effectively "paint" over your subject and capture it on your sensor. The newest image in Eric's American Pride and Passion series is one of the most complex light painting images I've ever seen and the behind the scenes video shows just how much work goes into such a big project. Click the full post to see the final image and be sure to click on Eric's website to see many more examples of his layered light painting photographs.
A green screen, also known as a chromakey, can make life really easy if you are doing a lot of video work and want a simple solution for dropping in different backgrounds. David Dugdale created a great tutorial for green screen which shows how to effectively light a chromakey background and key it out in Premiere. ReflecMedia has created a different solution for chromakeying with their Chroma Background Kit. It uses a green LED ringlight that illuminates their special background made up of glass beads. Even with the lovely Olivia Tech explaining how it works, I'm still a bit shocked that such a small ringlight can illuminate the background without affecting the subject. This system isn't cheap but I can see the advantage of not having to carry extra lights just to evenly light a huge background especially out on location.
TheUnderwaterRealm.com is a blog that is following the production of an independent film that will take place completely underwater. Each week the guys and gals are releasing a BTSV which shows exactly what they have been working on. If you are interested in movie production, I highly suggest checking out their website. In the video below the team is forced to build an underwater Kino Flo lighting system. This video is 1 of 29 so there is a lot more quality content to be seen.
If you are planning a behind the scenes video for our 2011 photo contest, you probably also need to setup an interesting interview segment to explain the details of your photoshoot. Most photographers spend a lot of money on their flash equipment but often don't have much in the way of constant lights. The guys over at SLRlounge have come up with a great BTS video on how you can create an interesting interview set on a budget. In this video, Pye Jirsa used basic work lights mixed with natural ambient light. In our contest video we either shot completely natural light or mixed in some of these inexpensive LED lights to make it a little more interesting. Taking a little bit of time to make your interview footage look good always goes a long way and is often just as fun designing as the actual photoshoot itself.
In the past a ring light/flash was a piece of gear that few photographers could actually afford. Today there are a few cheaper options including the Diva Ring Light that can be found on eBay. In the video below Olivia Tech does a quick review of the $200 unit. Now you may still be thinking that is a little steep but when you look at similar products, the price isn't too bad.
I just ran across an incredible ad by Nike called "Nike Chosen." The concept was to grab the best surfers, snowboarders, skaters, motocross, and BMX riders and film them doing their thing at night. The BTS footage (that can be found in the full post) is not as informative as I would like but if you pay attention to the details, there is a lot to be learned. The lighting, especially for the surfing session, is really amazing and although you may not ever do a shoot of this size, the same techniques could be used for your still photography at night.
Monte Isom had one of the most populars videos on Fstoppers back in February. Well he is back with a fun stop motion video for NYC comedian Colin Kane. Monte filmed this entire video on the Nikon D3s with just a few Litepanel 1x1 bicolor constant lights. The final video was made with 14,000 still images to create the final 90 second promo. Below is the final video but you can check out the BTS video in the Full Post as well as read Monte's own words on how he approached this shoot.
Everyone claims that they know how to shoot subjects on pure white but many of them still struggle with the background light washing out their subject. In the video below, Olivia Speranza shows us how she created the look for a video but the same techniques apply to flash as well. The key is to light the background as evenly as possible and expose it so that it is just barely pure white. If your background is a few stops past pure white, the light will begin to eat into your subject.