Sunday, April 25, 2010

2nd shoot with wolfpup - "Black Lagoon" anime concept

 I really enjoy working with model wolfpup from MM.  She is one of those models that can work her poses and expressions so well that when she is in front of my lens, I can just go into chimpanzee mode concentrate on the shot and not worry about having to direct her too much.  She just knows how to rock the shot.

This was our second shoot together and this time we were lucky enough to be able to shoot at the Naval Air Museum at Barbers Point on Oahu, thanks to my buddy Chaz at After6Media and his friends there.

This was a great location to shoot at - tanks, APCs, Navy jets, Army helicopters etc.. Chaz said it best - like being a kid in a candy store.

Kecia Littman was our makeup artist on this shoot.  I had previously worked with Kecia a few years ago on a studio shoot on Oahu, and it was great to work with her again.

For this shoot, we went with an anime character theme - Revy from the Japanese anime "Black Lagoon"

This was a concept I've been wanting to do for a long time, but it wasn't until now that everything came together just right.

We started in the afternoon a bit delayed by the heavy traffic on H1, so although there were a ton of different things we could have shot, I chose to limit it to two specific ideas.  I also kept the lighting to just one light - the White Lightning 1600 which was enough to overpower the sun.

First set was with the tank. I setup the WL1600 with a standard 7" reflector about 20ft away from the tank and tested until I was satisfied with the angle and look.  I had wolfpup stand in front of the tank and just let her get into character.

Canon 5D 24-70mm f2.8L iso100 1/160@f16

For props she is holding a Tokyo Marui airsoft G36K rifle.  The shoulder holsters hold two custom KSC airsoft 9mm Beretta 92F pistols "Sword Cutlass Special" from the Black Lagoon anime.

Black tactical gloves, combat boots and the military belt completed the look.  For the outfit, the model just needed to bring the denim shorts and black tank top (actually there was writing on the tank top, so she wore it inside out for the shoot).

By the time we started shooting the sun was now behind the tank and model, and the one WL1600 had to provide lighting for both.

When I took the first shot, the model was exposed correctly, but the tank behind her was a little on the dark side.  Because of the inverse square law, the tank was getting less light than the model.  This was ok for the closeup shot above, but for the wide shot I needed to change it up slightly.

I repositioned the model more to the front edge of the tank and moved the light more to the right so that her shadow would not fall onto the tank.  Since the model and tank were now both about equally distant from the light, the tank looked much better.

Canon 5D 24-70mm f2.8L iso100 1/160@f16

Climbed on top of the tank for some additional shots.  Still using the WL1600 with 7" reflector.
Ordinarily I try not to use such a small light source on a model because of the harsh shadows, but thankfully wolfpup is one of those models that look amazing no matter what kind of light you throw at her.

Canon 5D 70-200mm f2.8L iso100 1/160@f16

To get some motion in her hair for this shot, I had her turn away from the camera, then whip around and bring the gun up to acquire a target.  Shots like these I'll usually crop to 16x9 aspect ratio in Lightroom to give it a cinematic feel.

Canon 1DmkII 70-200mm f2.8L iso100 1/250@f16

Got the idea for this from a Jack Bauer poster for "24".  When the model saw this shot she said it would make a great recruiting poster. ;-)

On some of these shots you might notice the tribal tattoo on the model's shoulder.  We didn't have time for our makeup artist to create the tattoo to match the anime character we were portraying, so I experimented with adding it in post.

We were starting to get into sunset, so we headed over to the helicopter gunship.

We mounted a 5' Octodome on the WL 1600 and used that as our main light.

Wide shot of Chaz shooting with his model Rose using the Octodome.  We took turns shooting with the Octodome and the models manning the gun.

 When it came time for wolfpup and I to shoot, I instructed her to really exaggerate her actions, as we were emulating an anime character.  This led to one of my favorite shots from this session.

When I worked on this shot in post, I noticed that there was no pilot in the shot.  Don't really notice it in the shot below because of the 16x9 crop, but in the uncropped original the entire cockpit was in view and it was clear there was no pilot.  To fix that (and do a slight director's cameo), I had my brother use his iPhone 3Gs camera to take a picture of the back of my head.  I comped that into the shot where the pilot would be.  You can barely see it here, but it's little touches like that that help to sell the shot.

Canon 5D 24-70mm f2.8L iso100 1/160@f8

We were wrapping up after the sun went below the horizon, but we were getting such great colors in the sky that I wanted to get in a few last shots.  While wolfpup got ready, we raised the Octodome up and tilted it down about 45 degrees.  Chaz then got below the light and held up a silver California Sunbounce mini reflector.  We brought wolfpup in as close as possible to this beauty lighting setup and got some great glamour shots to end the day.  An added plus was that the makeup colors Kecia used on wolfpup's eyes was a good match for the colors of the sunset.

Canon 1DmkII 70-200mm f2.8L iso100 1/250@f8

There were so many other things we could have shot at this location, but there just wasn't enough time.  Hopefully we'll have the chance to shoot there again in the near future.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boudoir Photoshoot with Kat and Uilani

A week after the shoot with Lia, Heidi and Uilani, Kat contacted me to set up a second shoot with Uilani.  We shot three different looks - two boudoir style and a fashion look.

For the boudoir look, I wanted to try something different with the set this time.  We setup an inflatable bed with a comforter cover and cream colored satin sheets.  For the background we hung white tulle from a pole supported by 2 C-stands, and four wooden folding closet door panels.

Behind the panels we setup two B800s with Rosco 305 gels and aimed them through the slats of the doors to emulate sunlight streaming in from the outside.

To help make it look more like a bedroom, we put a nightstand with a lamp next to the bed.  To get light from the lamp to match the flash units we were using, we replaced the light bulb in the lamp with an SB26  fitted with a Stofen omnibounce. Because the SB26 has a built in optical slave, it fired reliably whenever the main light fired.

Ran out of closet door panels for the background, so we used one of the white V-flats to stand in for a wall.

For the main light, we used an AB800 with a 5ft Octodome boomed above the front of the bed with a C-stand.  The power level was controlled via a wired Alien Bees LG4X controller.

For fill, we added a 4x8 silver litepanel just below the front of the bed. Below is what we ended up with:

When we started shooting, we noticed that on some poses because of the overhead position of the Octodome, we were getting a shadow on Uilani's chest.  To help raise the shadow area, we had Quddus hold another SB 26 aimed Uilani's face and neck.  As she changed poses, Quddus would also move and readjust to keep the light aimed correctly. 

Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/125 @ f8
Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/125 @ f8
Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/125 @ f8

Uilani changed outfits and after Kat changed the makeup look, we shot another set, this time shooting with the intention of converting to black & white / sepia:
 Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/125 @ f8

 Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/125 @ f8

Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/125 @ f8

For our final setup we headed out into the hallway upstairs.  Near the upstairs landing, one of the walls had a section of glass brick, with sunlight coming in from outside.

 To make this a deep blue color, we setup an AB800 with a beauty dish and 2 CTO gels (full and 1/2 cut).  Tried setting the camera to tungsten white balance , which would change the outdoor light to blue, but wasn't getting the right color tone I wanted.  Then I tried dialing it in manually with  the Kelvin setting on the camera, but it only let me dial it down to about 2700K. Iwanted it to go a tad more but because this was really pushing the camera color to its limits, my 5D basically said to me "hey, cut that out" and I had to make do with that. Because we were shooting in RAW, we could later go into Lightroom and bring down the white balance even further than what the camera would allow.

For fill, we used a silver photoflex litepanel.  As you can see from the picture, the section of glass brick is only 9 bricks wide, so there wasn't much room to play with. Uilani had a very limited area in which she could pose for this set.

Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/160 @ f7.1

Using the 70-200L helped compress the space and hide the edges of the glass brick wall.  Also shooting at 1/160th allowed me to drop the light level of the outside light coming in, which resulted in a darker blue background.

Canon 5d iso100 70-200mm f2.8L 1/160 @ f7.1