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-   -   How would you light this? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/307981-how-would-you-light.html)

David Ruhland August 22nd, 2009 06:33 AM

How would you light this?
1 Attachment(s)
Doing a 30 sec clip of the model and the product. Not liking this lighting at all, I need the product to be more visible. Suggestions?

WARNING: Attached image may be offensive to some viewers

Perrone Ford August 22nd, 2009 06:41 AM

Wow, I have a lot of thoughts...

First I would take that model out of profile, second, I would ditch the very busy cloth the engine is sitting on, third I would try to move the engine and model further from the background.

So you've got a subject that is flat-black and shiny black. So if you light it from camera side you are going to get reflections. You can either use that to your advantage or try to eliminate it. You could go to top-light with a very diffused source (probably how I'd build my base lighting, then try to get specular light onto the shiny black part, then focus on the model separately.

You could blanket light the entire thing which would be pretty boring.

You could do specular light on just part of the engine at a time, changing it as you move the camera from take to take to slowly reveal the entire thing.

Honestly, the model is more distracting than anything in the still.

Ever look at any of the old Soloflex ads? Let me see if I can find one for you.

Perrone Ford August 22nd, 2009 06:53 AM

There are a lot of them out there.. this is representative.

YouTube - Soloflex Commercial

I've included the "related" so you can look at others for ideas.

David Ruhland August 22nd, 2009 07:39 AM

i agree with the model being distracting, however she is the "spokesperson" (very inexperienced i should ad,,,think its the owners daughter or something...) that has been selected for this campaign.

Perrone Ford August 22nd, 2009 08:17 AM


Originally Posted by David Ruhland (Post 1254794)
i agree with the model being distracting, however she is the "spokesperson" (very inexperienced i should ad,,,think its the owners daughter or something...) that has been selected for this campaign.

Fine looking girl... can you put some clothes on her? Maybe in business attire commensurate with the product?

In any event, it forces you to light in a more general way. I still think the best option is a BROAD light source that wraps the entire thing combined with top light for the engine, and some specular lights to cause certian things to stand out.

What kind of look are you after?

Mitchell Lewis August 22nd, 2009 08:52 AM

I would change the the back drop to a much lighter color. Or at the very least try to bring in some back light to make a "halo" around the engine to make it stand out from the background.

Paul R Johnson August 22nd, 2009 10:48 AM

If it was me, then ignoring the girl, because I guess she just 'has' to be in it - I would select a single colour for the background, but most importantly, I would arrange a rear support for the engine, to make it hang in mid-air. I had to do a gold plated 19" rack of electronics and it was so dull, so I used a pole, rigged from the rear, energing from a hole in the drape towards the camera, so you can't see it. Maybe this would even be a good opportunity to use a white cloth and colour it with light. You can do alternative shots with the pole vertical and the camera above. If you need something to spice it up, then get some moving lights and have them project gobos rotating and panning at a slow speed to make the background interesting.


Plain background with some monitors in shot showing the product frm different angles.

ANYTHING to make it stand out, look interesting, be visible and show fine detail. If the girl has to be there, she doesn't need to show flesh like that, pretty, though she is. Reminds me of trade shows where similarly clad bimbos flaunce about on a stand selling industrial winches and chain. Looks really tacky. She's a pretty girl, put her, as said, into professional clothes and use her to promote, not distract from, the product.

David Ruhland August 22nd, 2009 12:28 PM


you are absolutely right...Trade show girl it is, This company is going after the Go Karting Industry and are trying to appeal to the under 25 male crowd.

I have been told that she had participated in contest to win to be the "Chosen One"

I have thought about putting the engine on some sort of (slow rotating turntable) and spot lighting it too.. its just a thought

Thanks for the response

Bill Davis August 22nd, 2009 11:52 PM

Gotta love this kind of thing.

Personally, I bet the client will NEVER delete the original shot. Because from their perspective the most important element of the effort certainly did stand out.

Oh, yeah, we're talking about the engine.

So, the bad news is that you have the single MOST difficult subject you'll ever light.

A shiny black reflective chunk of metal.

Essentially every shiny black reflective chunk of metal acts exactly like a MIRROR for the purposes of video.

So you've got to at least temporarily get rid of the girl and light the ENGINE properly.

That's a matter of setting the camera and the engine, then step one is to apply appropriate rim lights to define the basic shape. Then positioning large lit white surfaces IN FRONT of - or at angles to - the engine that reflect in a way to generate large soft specular hightlights to give the form some shape and depth. Finally, add some overall soft front fill.

Then you'll probably notice that while it's lit properly, it's also probably reflecting the camera, crew, definitely the lights - and everthing else across the "line" so you'll need to hang a bunch of Duv to kill those reflections.

Finally, bring the young lady in and light her. Carefully. So the brightness values of her hair and fair skin, which are the direct OPPOSITE of the subject - read properly.

You'll need a LOT of spill control so that her light and in fact the light reflecting off her hair and skin doesn't bring up the overall level so much that your iris closes down and the engine goes dark and loses detail again.

IF you can't get them both correct in a single exposure, shoot it twice, exposing once for the engine and once for the model and composite them later.

What you're doing is possible, but it requires paying a LOT of attention to the details and having the right equipment and tools to light two OPPOSITES (a light absorbing body and a light reflecting body if you will) in the same frame at the same time.

Let us know how it goes.

Michael Wisniewski August 23rd, 2009 02:53 AM

I'd also try 2 or 3 fresnels on the engine to give it definition and balance the exposure. Definitely re-pose the model and come up with a more interesting background. As for the skimpy bikini, personally, I look at it this way, if she agreed to this, then don't be afraid to use her. It would be a waste of time for her if she dressed up in a bikini and then your setup made her look just just so-so in the video. I say, be bold and experiment with a few different poses and get something worthwhile that everyone in the process will be happy with.

Scott Lovejoy August 23rd, 2009 08:57 PM


Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis (Post 1255030)
I would change the the back drop to a much lighter color. Or at the very least try to bring in some back light to make a "halo" around the engine to make it stand out from the background.

Hits the nail on the head. Black background + Black Object = not a good time at all. Backlighting would fix this, but another color would be nice as well. The same goes for that patterned cloth that the object is sitting on.

Charles Papert August 24th, 2009 01:07 AM

I would recommend going with a white cyc for the backdrop, and a very minimal support for the engine if possible, such as a steel tube that the engine can be bolted to, wrapped in an outer white tube to make it disappear against the background as much as possible. The engine will really pop against the white. If it is impossible to make this kind of support and it has to be placed on a flat surface, I'd build a "light table" gag with a milk glass top that is underlit which will place some nice upglows on the product.

I'd do a large overhead softbox/chicken coop to glow the top surfaces on the engine, which would likely require a strategically placed silk just over the girl's head to knock down the top light on her (nets can be stacked on the top side of the silk if needed). This will still "read" as a white highlight on the engine, if visible. Large, flat and evenly-lit sources from the front will provide exposure and again provide highlights in the dark surfaces of the engine. The gal can be strategically edge-lit to bring out some countouring and sheen as desired (that hair won't need much!)

David Ruhland August 24th, 2009 05:35 AM

I am talking to the marketing manager about changing background colors...Ill keep you posted!

Mike Demmers August 30th, 2009 12:46 AM


Originally Posted by David Ruhland (Post 1255691)

you are absolutely right...Trade show girl it is, This company is going after the Go Karting Industry and are trying to appeal to the under 25 male crowd.

Oh, come on now people. I am just an old sound guy, but I can tell you exactly how to shoot this...let's see, 'Go-Karts'? 'Under 25 males' ? More like 15 year olds, I should think.

If you are going to go up to the bell, ring it.

First, the engine is turned the wrong way, with the reflective part to the right, where it reflects nothing. Turn it 180 degrees so it reflects something interesting...on the model.

'white cyc'? 'backdrop'? 'Changing the background colors'? Bah.

This should be shot in the Carribean, on a fabulous lost island with a pure white, Howard Pyle beach, framed by the deep azure sea. A freshly dug up treasure chest lies open in the background. The model, her blond hair and glistening wet skin framed over the dark sea, has just pulled the black engine, clutched to her breast, from the chest, and now places it upon a tree stump to examine her find more closely. Now framed over the pure white sand, she lovingly caresses it with her hands, pointing out its various features as the narration describes its many virtues...

Full of adventure and symbolism any 15 year old will understand and appreciate.

Now there is, of course, probably a limited budget, so some sacrifices will have to be made. So, no crew - it will have to be just you, the model, and the engine, in the Carribean. It will be tough, but I am sure the owner will appreciate your budgetary responsibility.

Of course all the previous advice about lighting applies.

Now I am waiting for Charles Papert to come along and confirm if this is not, in fact, how he would prefer to shoot this assignment.

I am kidding of course, but I would actually propose this anyway, because the worst that would happen is the client would get a sense of perspective about your budget...and who knows, maybe she really is his daughter,and you just never know what he might consider a good training experience for his daughter who wants to be a model... ;-)


Charles Papert August 30th, 2009 01:10 AM

I like the cut of your jib, Mike. Bravo.

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