Behind the scenes: Rune Knight Ragnarok Online

RO-1
ISO 100, 35mm F2, 1/320s, Flash Fired

Another entry of behind the scenes. This is not a weekly thing, it just so happen that the shoots I been doing on consecutive weeks are great for article writing.

Brief summary of today shoot:

  • Shot with a leaf shutter camera
  • 3 light setup
  • 1 2′ octa for fill
  • 1 2’x3′ soft box for highlight and rim light
  • 1 reflector mounted light for back glow
  • Mist used for effects
backsword
ISO 100, 35mm F2, 1/320s, Flash Fired

Ragnarok online is a Korean MMORPG with the Rune Knight taking on a classic warrior class. Donning armor wielding a sword, a class that specialised in balanced defence and offence.

The way this shoot was lighted is very similar to the last post for Yuuki Konno. The key differences were that this shoot minimises the overall effects of ambient light. As such almost all light seen in the picture was generated artificially. The shoot was done from 830am to 1030am, how the ambient was killed to get the maximum amount of light produce was via a leaf shutter camera: the RX1.

ROBTS-1
Rim light fired only to see how it falls on the subject

Leaf shutter cameras are great as there are no limit to their sync rate. The limitation is the sync rate of the transmitter, in this case the Profoto Nikon TTL trigger, which goes up to 1/1200s. This kills the ambient light a whole lot as shown in the image above where only the rim light was firing. Notice how dark the ambient is even though it’s around 840am in the morning when it was shot.

ROBTS-2
Light Test before Effects
Photo 17-1-16, 12 08 33 AM
3 Light setup. B1 on the back, B2 above subject, B2 infront

Light setup:

1 B1 mounted with a zoom reflector behind the half closed fort door. This is to simulate the light leak out from a semi opened door, the door themselves acting as a large light shaping tool and adding to the mood.

1 B2 mounted with a 2’x3′ soft box with grid on a boom positioned top back of the subject. This was the rim light for the subject and gives a highlight on the hair. The additional function it has was to light the mist produced in the air for the glow and colours. The grid prevents unnecessary spill to the background doors and shadows.

1 B2 mounted with a 2′ octa soft box with grid. A Key light for the subject. The grid prevents reflection of the light from the back B! and controls the spill to retain the shadows.

With this shoot, every shot was done with the same shutter speed of 1/320 and lights at approximately 8 for the B1 and 6-7 for the B2 heads. The B1 and the top B2 2’x3′ soft box was gelled for the orange glow.

One note: Asians have a warmer skin complexion, as such orange gel for fill and key light is not needed unless you want a cool tone background.

ROBTS-3
Application of mist with lights fired. The top will light the mist to give it the glowing droplet effects.

Effects:

Misting was done by the 2 assistants. As we do not have the third, shots with flipping was done by the same person that was misting.

The edits were done similarly to my last shoot of Yuuki Konno so do refer to it for more information.

kneel
ISO 100, 35mm F2, 1/320s, Flash Fired
pray
ISO 100, 35mm F2, 1/320s, Flash Fired

Additional thoughts:

Shaping light with available structures are interesting ways to create effect and mood, in this case the fort doors. However as much as this photos look cool, with every shoot, some thoughts must be done prior so that the right setup can be used and execution can be done smoothly to produce the shots at acceptable timing. Try not to think and experiment only on the shoot itself with the lights as this will tire the subject and consume a large amount of time. With that, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this article and do visit my FB page at ZerartulPeaktures!

Equipment used:

  • Sony RX1 35mm F2
  • Profoto B1
  • Profoto B2 with 2 heads
  • Profoto Nikon TTL transmitter
  • Profoto OCF 2′ octa box
  • Prfoto OCF 2’x3′ softbox
  • Profoto zoom reflector
  • Jinbei M1 mini boom
  • 2 water mist spray

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Yuuki Sword Art Online

Yuuki-3
ISO 400, 20mm, F1.8, 1/1000, Flash Fired HSS

This weekend I did a shoot for Chloe Miriee’s Yuuki Konno cosplay. The results are rather stunning even by my standards. This article will talk about how the effects were achieved which is quite standard throughout the entire photo set.

Yuuki is a character from sword art online, a MMORPG like game in the medieval times. A combat class that uses a sword, with quite a good amount of scene in forest and dungeons. A top notch swordsman with a ill fate at the end. I wanted to give her a more magical game like feeling with dramatic motion and emotions. More pics will be posted at my main site and FB page: ZerartulPeaktures

As said most pictures were shot and edited the same way. Summary of how this shoot was done and processed:

  • 1 Boomed Grided light for rim and highlight
  • 1 Grided light for fill
  • 1 Reflector on Light for simulated sun (optional)
  • 2 assistants for misting
  • 1 assistant for wig throwing
  • Color process with Lightroom
  • Effects process with Photoshop

Light Setup:

Yuuki Light Diag

BTS Yuuki 1
2 Lights used for this shot. Top light highlights the sword and gives more contrast.

In a forest, normally with the canopy cover, you get streams of light coming in but on general its not really bright. I wanted it to look sunny even in a forest, like a canopy with a big opening.

1 B2 head boomed fitted with 60cm x 90cm Gridded Softbox on the top. slightly back of the subject. This creates a nice rim from the head to the shoulders and a burnt out effect on the hair to simulate light from the top. Outdoor shoots are suspected to winds so a light head such as B2 and modifiers from the OCF series are great. Make sure to always weigh down the boom and counter balance it well.

1 B2 head on the floor right side with a 60cm Gridded Octa. This is mainly a fill light for the face placed above the camera level. In the shot above, its above the subjects eye level. The purpose of the grid is to fill only the face with minimum spill to the surroundings.

Additional notes:

Yuuki-2
This shot had a additional B1 at the back for the simulated sun..

1 B1 with reflector are used in some shots such as the one above. This is to simulate the sun. Shots that did not used it were due to good openings in the canopy with strong sunlight streaming in.

The light on the boom and the B1 with reflector both are meant to be back light to simulate flare or highlights generated by a low sun. In this shoot, they are fitted with 3/4 CTO gels to add extra warmth to the light. This was part of the reason why the front fill light must be gridded: it will other wise be reflecting the warm light from the front baffle onto the subject face which will be undesirable.

Effects and Color:

Sometime misting do not go well due to wind
Sometime misting do not go well due to wind

To obtain get the slightly magical effects of sparkles and mistiness, 2 assistants were tasked to spray mist into the air just slightly behind the subject. Mist however were easily affected by wind so the assistants need to constantly move.

Freezing the droplets of mist in the air rather then smeared, a faster shutter of 1/1000 was used. The lights were then fired with HSS. As this was a morning shoot, the flash itself could not freeze the motion of the droplets due to background lighting and a much faster shutter was needed. This is one of the situation where Profoto B1/B2 really works well with HSS.

The sense of motion was obtained by flicking the wig base on the direction of the motion that was to be achieved. The subject will also execute the movement and hold the point where the shot will be done to get a more natural posing.

YuukiBTW-2
Out of camera shot

Post processing was the final step. First with Lightroom, the greens were hued to the yellow for a more autumn look. Colors were corrected to get a soothing slightly dulled down look while exposure contrast was increased for the dramatic feel.

Lastly photoshop, to get the hazy feeling with the effects of brighter sun ray streaming down, a combination of Motion blur, Gaussian blur and masking was used. I wont cover on how to achieve them here as you can find video tutorials of them.

Photos and Final words:

Yuuki-3
ISO 400, 20mm, F1.8, 1/1000, Flash Fired HSS
Yuuki-1
ISO 400, 20mm, F1.8, 1/1000, Flash Fired HSS
Yuuki-2
ISO 200, 50mm, F1.4, 1/500, Flash Fired HSS

As above, this are the outcomes of the shoot.  I hope you enjoy my behind the scene on how the shots are done and do visit my FB page at ZerartulPeaktures to view my latest work or contact me.

Equipment used:

  • Nikon DF
  • Nikon 20mm F1.8
  • Sigma Art 50mm F1.8
  • Profoto B1
  • Profoto B2 with 2 heads
  • Profoto 2′ X 3′ OCF Softbox with Grid
  • Profoto 2′ OCF Octa with Grid
  • Profoto Zoom Reflector
  • Jinbei M1 Mini Boom
  • 2 Water spray with misting nozzle (those for watering plants)

Behind the Scene: Akatsuki no Yona

Yona-1
Yona: Nikon DF 85mm F1.8, 1/200, iso250, flash triggered

Akatsuki no Yona was one of the more planned out shoot I had for sometime. Thanks to Sumi for this shoot together with all those that helped out. For the full album visit my page ZerartulPeaktures

Todays article will talk about the creation of the above image at the start of this post.  The image is done using 3 lights. With a combination of 2 images for the spread of leaves.

File 4-1-16, 11 21 02 PM_NIK2292

A B2 head mounted on a boom acts as the simulated sun on the back. It’s mounted with a zoom reflector for a more controlled spill onto the back of the subject.

The light on the left acts as the key light for the subject. A B1 mounted with 2’x3′ box with a grid, it’s purpose is to light the subject like a hole in the forest. The grid prevents unnecessary spill.

The final light on the left as a fill. A B2 head mounted with a 2′ octa, it’s powered at around 2 stops lower then the key light. This is to soften the shadow on the dark side of the subject.

Photo 2-1-16, 10 31 42 AM

The helpers gather the dry leaves around the area and throws them in succession. Multiple shots are done with each throw to maximise the amount of leaves and their arrangement caught on the camera. This is a situation where a better light like the B1/B2 has an advantage. With a lot more capacity, they can be fired in rapid succession while still retaining the Color and exposure.

YonaBTS-1 YonaBTS-2

The images are combined together using photoshop. The images above are two shots straight out of Lightroom with the exact same setting. If you notice there’s almost no shift in Color and exposure which makes combining a Breeze.

Once the images are combined, all that’s left is touching up of image, removing the b2 generator from the image and final touches for the subject.

Yona-1

I will probably be posting more behind the scene shots in the future. Do follow them and my Facebook page @ ZerartulPeaktures

Equipment used:

  • Nikon DF
  • Nikon 85mm F1.8
  • Profoto B1
  • Profoto B2 with 2 Heads
  • Profoto 2’Octa Softbox
  • Profoto Zoom Reflector
  • Jinbei 2’x3′ Softbox with grid
  • Jinbei M1 Boom

 

 

Overcoming the Sun: Clamp Shell Lighting

One of the advantages of using strobes is paring the sun. However sometime not only do you want to light up a subject, you want to have a effect that is hard yet with minimal shadow, similar to what large reflectors create. With recreating that effect using lights, I found the best solution: Clamp Shell Lighting

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 6.16.03 pm

 

The diagram doesnt depict it well, but technically one flash on a boom is above the other, the sun behind the subject back, lights are aligned to the side of the subject for a more natural feel with the camera between them or at the side of the lower light. One difference between the setup I use and a standard clamp shell is my ground light is not exactly below the first light but slightly more offset. This lower light job is to fill in the shadow for that extra spectacular effect, recreating a look similar to a reflector. Depending on where the shadows actually are, it is moved to fit the situation.

Also note, to over come the sun with a 500/250w light, I usually use a metal reflector or bare bulb for power. This is essential especially using high speed sync where even more power is lost. However if the sun is low or in semi sheltered area like a forest or the exterior of a building, umbrellas can be considered to soften the light.

Below are some pictures shot with this setup and their in camera settings:

YunaV2-3

Nikon DF: 28mm F1.8 1/4000 (B1: 10/10 B2:10/10 HSS Barebulb)

11am light is relatively strong. Full power on both lights at barebulb to overcome the sun.

Rae-3

Nikon DF: 28mm F2 1/500 (B2: 8/10 B2:7.5/10 HSS  Shoot Through Umbrella)

As the area was semi sheltered, I dont really need to fight the full force of the sun, as such 2 umbrella can be used to better diffuse the light.

Kobato Small

Nikon DF: 28mm F1.8 1/1600 (B2: 9/10 B2:8.5/10 HSS Barebulb)

Shot during the taiwan evening sun, B2 dont really have the full strength to over come the sun itself especially if done in dual head mode. More will be talked about B2 in the upcoming review.

This photos represent outdoor usage of clamp shell. Gives a nice light on the face thats spectacular yet not too harsh with the second fill light that is usually lower powered to fill in the shadows. Hope you learn something from it!

High Speed Sync with Profoto B1/B2 System

Recently FStopper wrote an article about high speed sync and the difference between it and HyperSync.

Demystifying High-Speed Sync

Pocket wizard also written a more technical write up here:

Understanding HyperSync and High Speed Sync

High speed sync is really one of the best thing that happen for flash photography. However the biggest issue is massive lost of power which from a speedlite results in a output that is insufficient for many purpose. Profoto B1 and B2 provide HSS with a much more efficient output approximately to just one stop lost of light. This is significant since they output much more light then any speedlite.

So before High-Speed Sync was available, I utilised the Rx-1 to get sync of up to 1/1600 using the inbuilt leaf shutter.

Yoshino-2

Juvia-22editSM

 

Both of the above shot is done in the morning around 11pm. Using the leaf shutter, you can not only kill ambient light, but also synchronise with a flash up to 1/1600. However do note that the speed of your sync also depends on factors such as the wireless trigger (I use a phottix Atlas) and the duration of the flash light.

The issue with leaf shutter: There is really not much cameras and lenses with it, limiting your choices. Also sync speed will reach a cap at around 1/1600. This limits how much ambient light you can kill. However the advantage is that you are utilising the full power of the light. Compared to HSS at 1/1600, you save more then 2 stop of flash power, allowing you to do some multi-shots that can best capture action moments.

Of course all this changed when Profoto introduced HSS and I love it.

Kaze-8Ed

Lux-1

HSS allows you to use any lens, any shutter speed, to capture things in the way it would have not been possible without using extensive ND filters. ND filters causes a lot of problems: Darkening of view finder, focus issues, colour tints. HSS allows you to bypass the restriction of the shutter sync and with any lens capture the image. Why do we want to capture something using HSS? The ability to use large aperture lens for the shot resulting in shallow depth of field while properly filling in the shadow with the flash at any shutter speed!

The issue is HSS results in lost of usable light. If you want to maximise your flash, a ND filter is still a more efficient solution. However if you just want to fill against daylight ambient but do not have a leaf shutter system, this is your best bet!

Christy-3

Akatsuki-1

For those who are interested what the Profotos could deliver: B1 in HSS is approximately the power of 8-10 SB910 in gang mode while B2 is half that amount. This allows you to use mods to further enhance the light. However for the amount of power they can produce in HSS, there are restrictions.

Min Power: 7/10 on canon system

Min Power: 8/10 on Nikon system for B1 and 7/10 for B2

At times this is just overwhelming!