White Box

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by tr0gd0o0r, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    I'm about to start working on my final project for my advanced photography class. I'm planning on doing a series on the toys I played with when I was a child (on 35mm B&W tmax 400 for anyone who cares). I want to have the stark contrast of a subject on an all white background. My idea is to get some white poster board and/or foam core and build a 3 sides box w/ a floor. Then I'll blast it with some studio light or my flash to get it lit. I'm thinking about the size of four posterboard (One of the toys I played with was a train set, so I want plenty of room. And the walls would probably be one or two posterboard sizes high (would hate to run out of wall). I wanted to run the idea past the forum to see if anyone has done this before and see if this sounds like it should work and/or if anyone has any suggestions.
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Is it important that you have a box? You will be able to see the corners so make sure they are neat and straight. Any defects will stick out like a sore thumb.
    If you want just a plain white b/g then get a roll of white paper (like Colorama) and put it on the floor and up the wall. Don't have a 90 degree corner but curve the paper parabolically - this will make what is known as an infinity cove and you can get even lighting on both back and floor by putting the lights at 45 degrees pointing at the curve, making sure that the distance from the floor is the same as the distance from the wall.
    If you want to minimize or kill the shadows, raise the obljects up on blocks (the more you raise them the less shadow you get). Do it through the camera so you can't see the supports. Use two lights either side of the camera at distances from the camera equal to the floor/wall distance.
    What you are trying to do is get all the distances from the lights to all surfaces the same. This gives even illumination with no fall off (an application of the inverse square law). You may find that the lights don't give quite the same illumination but you can fine tune it by moving one of the lights.
    Best to set the lights up first. Mark the centre spot on the b/g - you find it by holding up a pencil (like a sun dial) and moving it until shadows are at a minimum and of equal intensity.
    Meter either by using an incident attachment or putting a grey card where the object is to go.

    The same lighting rules apply for a box.
     
  3. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Pretty much the above post sums it up.

    I did a still life series for a class. I used a piece of poster board ( my subjects were'nt that big) and made a nice seemless backdrop. I light from either corner crossing the lights at the center where the subject was. They came out really nice. If you have studio lights to use, great. I used 500watt halogen work lights from the hardware store.
     
  4. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    The paper actually sounds like a far better idea, the reason I didn't start with the idea is i used a sheet before and I could see the wrinkles in the sheet. What is this colorama paper you speak about? Any suggestions where to buy some sort of paper to use? I do have studio lights, but i'm afraid the room their in might be far too small for this shoot. They're at my church and the people who set it up had no idea what they were doing. I've also been thinking about doing the shot outside in the shade. Any suggestions on that?
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    UK stockist here (to give you some idea)
    http://www.richardfrankfurt.co.uk/on-line_sales/colorama.html
    but there is bound to be a US supplier - or an equivalent type of b/g paper.

    If you are going to do it outside you need to set it up on a North facing wall when it's a bright day. North light is soft and even. Artists have studios built with big glass windows facing North.
    And you want the day to be windless.
    Indoors is best if you can do it.
     
  6. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    B&H photo has backdrops.
     
  7. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    Update. for those other cheap bastards, I ended up using 4 pieces of white poster board. Worked pretty well but I have a few suggestions. USE A BACKLIGHT!!!! this really helps because as long as the backdrop is well lit you can't see the lines. Also put the closest piece of cardboard to yo uon top when they ovelao. This way the crease is sort of pointing away from you so its more difficult to see. Also, pay attention to that advice about even lighting, its a nightmare.
     

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