Questions About Lighting Using a Power Pack Setup

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by tarpleyg, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone...I have been reading quite a bit on this forum but this is my first post.

    I am looking for guidance and suggestions on light control using a power pack setup. A few months ago I found a rather good deal on a Speedotron Brownline D604 package so I did some research and decided it was, indeed, too good a deal to pass up. I have the power pack, 2 M90 heads, and 2 MW3R heads and all the other associated stands, etc.

    Initially, I was having a hard time controlling the light output. It was too powerful for the semi-confined space that I am confined to. I picked up a few sheets of ND filter and some filter holders for my light heads. Now, I have a little more control but need some more suggestions as to how to control my output and light placement.

    The room I am in is a bonus room above the garage. I have ample depth but not enough width and the height is limited in that the ceiling is gabled on both sides.

    Here are a handful of pictures that I have taken since getting the Speedotron. #6 was actually taken before I got the lights and I was using an SB800 and another flash that I have.

    #1 - The original of this was about 1-stop underexposed but I was able to salvage it in PS.
    [​IMG]

    #2 - I need help on posing as well I think but this was just an informal session with some willing participants. I would like a little less DOF but then it's overexposed.
    [​IMG]

    #3 - I think I had this metered at +2 stops for the background but the foreground/subject is too dark. +1 1/2 stops might be a better formula for me with high key.
    [​IMG]

    #4 - I like the DOF on this one but I still think it's too dark.
    [​IMG]

    #5 - This one was also a little underexposed, much like #1, and I was able to fix it up in PS but now the dog on the left is too bright.
    [​IMG]

    #6 - This is the one I did with the flashes...I think it turned out okay for what it is.
    [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Greg
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    What's the power adjustment range on those lights? It can sometimes be a problem when working in tight spaces if your lights do not adjust to a low enough power. I'd suggest shooting at a smaller aperture...which would leave you with a deeper DOF...but maybe you could play with the background in Photoshop etc.
     
  3. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg TPF Noob!

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    There is no adjustment really other than the ND filters over the lights themselves. I have full or half power and then I can also adjust some based on how many lights are plugged in and which socket they are in (symmetrical vs. asymmetrical). Buying newer, adjustable monolights like Alien Bees or White Lightning units is completely out of the question right now. Photogs have been using these lights for decades so they have to be fairly flexible.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Have you tried hanging some white cloth over them? Or in other words a shoot through umbrella?
     
  5. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg TPF Noob!

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    Yes, actually I have 2 shoot-through umbrellas and that seems to help also depending on the shot. Seems like the NDs do a better job though. Maybe I just need to by a bunch of filter holders and make up a combination of different f/stop reductions.
     
  6. Rick Waldroup

    Rick Waldroup No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What sync speed are you using?
     
  7. tarpleyg

    tarpleyg TPF Noob!

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    1/500.

    These are some I took last night of a friend's son and I am pretty happy with how they came out. At least my consistency is getting better. out of about 100 shots, I had 40+ that are usable.

    I did no bumping of the EV on this one. There were some others that I shot at f/5.6 (vs. this one at f/6.7) that were exposed better but this is the best facial expression.
    [​IMG]

    I may need to do something with the color on this one. His skin looks too dull. I think the gray background is the culprit when I was editing in PS. Sometimes the autocolor correction is not what you really want.
    [​IMG]

    This one is outside of course but I am trying to learn fill flash along with all this.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rick Waldroup

    Rick Waldroup No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yep, at 1/500th, that should enable you to get that fstop down so you can blur the backgrounds.

    I've got an old set of Novatrons that I have been using for over 25 years now. My basic setup is to run the main head through a Westcott light dome at full power. I put a head on the background with a 2 stop reduction, and then I use a reflector as a fill. Just two lights is all I usually ever use. Here is a shot I did from a shoot of a children's theatre group. I shot all of the kid's headshots on location at the theatre and they were later displayed in the lobby. I used the setup that I described above. The camera was a Nikon D1x with an 85mm 1.8 lens. My speed was usually 1/500 and the fstop varied from 5.6 to 4.

    [​IMG]
     

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