The Portrait Photographer's Rube Goldberg

This video has come across my desk several times the last few days but I never really bothered to click play until Ben Andino shared it on my facebook page. Not only did I have to hit pause and rewind it a half dozen times or so but I found myself laughing out loud during some of the segments. Every photographer will recognize products like the Gary Fong Lightsphere, Gorillapod, Lastolite Hilite, Canon Lens Mug, Strobe Snoot, and countless other photography staples. I can't imagine how long this Rube Goldberg setup took to build and get working 100% but I know I'm still not sure how several of the segments worked (like Mario and the instant print). My favorite part was definitely the TSA scanner. What part did you guys find the most entertaining? Check out the behind the scenes below to see how 2D Photography made this.

Behind the Scenes:

Patrick Hall's picture

Patrick Hall is a founder of and a photographer based out of Charleston, South Carolina.

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Wow, that was a huge amount of work... 


Thanks a ton for sharing this!! I really didn't expect it to be up here.

Mario:  There's a kind of hidden wireless keyboard just before Mario's role.  It gets rolled over by a black basketball which hits the space bar starting the video that's queued up on our screen.  It was pre-timed to line up somewhat nicely to Mario's movement and I just animated the motion in FCP.

The "instant print" is hardly instant.  Firstly the photo is pre-printed and loaded into the printer.  We set one of our machines to print a blank document, set the print prompt so it just needs to have the enter button hit and we put another wireless keyboard on the table to the right of our model.  We figured that the printer takes exactly 11 seconds to warm up and send a blank document through.  I guess a more in depth BTS clip is in order as well.  BTW the TSA iPad is ALSO triggered by a wireless keyboard that's sitting in a custom built stand about 2 feet to the right of the iPad.  Our green soccer ball rolls over the pin that plays the video on the iPad.

Thanks again for sharing this!  We love fstoppers so it's a great treat.


Ha I didn't expect such a thorough explanation so quickly Dave....I thought I had the printer figured out the way you described.  Very very nice.  Prepare for a huge video with this one!

It´s amazing guys! 

whoa, that was ridiculous. The lack of music made it feel boring though. But kudos to all who made that freakin thing! 

WOW...  I kept looking at it thinking...yeah, I have that, and STOP what is that, and why don't I have it...And dear Lord how many Spider Legs (That's what I call them) can one man have?  And not to start anything here, but I found the lack of music stark.... and cutting edge.  I felt the sounds of the balls dropping onto different surfaces strange and wonderful, I can't image anything over ridding the direct tempo of "Clean and White."  PS:  Patrick, I am NOT a stalker, at least not yours, just a student.

Stalker?  Not following you?  By the way...where did you get your screen name :)

holy crap-- fucking awesome!  this deserves just as many views as that ok go video which is similar.  i don't mind that there's no music, and i like the natural sound.  very well done all the way around.  i will never be self-motivated or disciplined enough to devote 6 months to an (im assuming) unpaid project, just to promote my business (and of course the artistic satisfaction).  this guy deserves to get a lot of great work from this.. amazing!

I know it's pretty childish, but watching the Canon lens get hammered of the rack, at the 16sec mark, makes me laugh out load! Brilliant absolutely brilliant!

Un-fricking-believable!!! :D 

This definitely made my day! Thanks for sharing :-)

Damn... he gave away all our secrets!!  Maybe we all need to show this to clients the next time they ask why we charge what we do?!

Great videos and incredible message from the photographer! 

Very creative!  My favorite part was the nod to OK GO and their Rube Goldberg machine at 2:38

my brain hurts thinking about how much work went into that...

okay.... that was incredible.....

IM SPEECHLESS!!! THat was the most amazing Goldberg machine ever!! what the.... w o w

That's a lot of Gorilla Pods- I'm with Mr. Dobbie, my head hurts. Amazing, might be better than the one from the Ok Go video, especially considering this probably had a smaller crew.

The "crew" never exceeded 3 people at one time for this entire process.

I am dying to know how many tries this took till they got it!

99 agonizing takes... :/

Yay for interesting and unique video
Boo for advertising injections

LOL funny. Thanks. 

whats the deal with the x-ray on the ipad... how did that work!?!?!?

HA!!! dope video!!! the 2:38 mark in the BTS... i was like "is that Kevin Luc?" I bought my AB800 off him.... then i realized he's part of 2dphotography!! DOPE!!!  

Derrel! Glad to know you've watched the video!

word!!! check my vid on the Wednesday run down section R.A.P FLORIDA SHOOTS

must be a very slow business month for these guys

i laughed hard when that canon lens got boned hahaha

that was awesome. AWESOME to the fullest meaning.

awesome, awesome, awesome