Thursday, October 29, 2009

Painting with light: Hide and seek

Here's the latest submission for my Advanced Techniques class. The assignment was "Painting With Light." The concept we eventually came up with that this ghost was playing the children's game hide-and-go-seek with herself.

The dance went a little something like this: "Click." I started with the camera zoomed at about 35mm on the figure in the center. Meg strobed the creepy girl (Caitlyn) in the bushes at the beginning of the exposure, then I covered the lens and zoomed out the lens to 24mm as she moved to the right side of the frame. I uncovered the lens, and Andrew started painting the tower, using a spotlight with an orange gel. Meg strobed Caitlyn again about half-way through the exposure, and I used a flash light to paint the foliage around the tower. "Unclick."

We kept getting delayed by rain, and the whole project took two different nights of going out to the park to shoot. Monday night, we thought we got something usable, but once we looked at it on the computer, we realized that there were too many problems with it to submit. We went out again on Wednesday night, and eventually our concept morphed into the below image. This picture took about 15 takes, each time tweaking little elements to get it just right.

You definitely can't get this kind of thing without great team members.

Here are a couple of outtakes from different concepts we tried.

This one didn't work for a number of reasons. There are all sorts of rogue light spots that showed up to the right of Meg. Jake's shoulder is a little too ghosted, but I'm not ghosted enough in my perch in the tree. Some of the bushes are a little too hot, as are Meg and Jake's faces, and the strobe created profile shadows against the silo in the back. Good thing we decided to re-shoot.

The original idea was sort of a modern twist fairy tales. I think it was a good idea, and Jake was definitely a great sport with the fangs, but the scene was lit unremarkably.

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