White Is Black & Black Is White & Anything Inbetween

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by smoke665, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The subject was mentioned in another thread by @adamhiram about whether to use colored backgrounds, gels, or both, rather then hijack his thread I started a new one. Another TPF member @Derrel put me on to Dean Collins and his "Chromozones" back a year or so ago. Basically by using adjustment to the reflective reading on the background you can change either white or black to represent the entire gray scale. Following this same method you can easily replicate an unlimited range of colors from a single gel. When I actually set up and practiced his methods I was shocked at how simple it was. First the video


    The system revolves around using a base reflective reading off the background of f/11 and a camera aperture of f/11. Obviously being limited with an aperture of f/11 isn't always feasible, so at the end he talks about a chart for adjusting lights, to match your aperture. You read down the center gray shaded column, to find the aperture you want to use. Then you read across (left or right) to get the reading you need to set your background lights at. Remember, the meter reading you take off the background is REFLECTIVE with the meter pointed toward the background.

    1447209527_03278f00a8_m.jpg

    The chart is small and hard to read. I made a duplicate of it, that I keep handy for reference. You can find a PDF copy of the chart here Dean Collins Chromo Chart.pdf

    I also have created color charts for the gels I use regularly using the above chart so I can quickly create the exact color I want.


     
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  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This used to be 'bread and butter' stuff for studio photographers, but like a lot basics, it's gone the way of the wooly mammoth. Nice to see it being used! Dean Collins is definitely my lighting hero!
     
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  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I learned a lot of my lighting basics from Dean Collins in 1986 and 87 and now thanks to the magic of YouTube segments of some of his instructional VHS tapes are now available for people to see once again.
     
  4. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Interesting!
    I never saw this before!
     
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  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @soocom! Hats off to Derrel for putting me on this last year. Like I said once I started using it in real practice, I just couldn't get over the simplicity of how easy it was to get exactly what I wanted in seconds, instead of trial and error, or past experience.

    @tirediron & @Derrel once I learn something that works, I'm not likely to abandon it unless I find something that works better. So far nothing has come along.
     
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  6. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dean is my lighting hero. The guy was always running 100 miles an hour, kinda like me as I down 8 shots of espresso a day. I have all my gels on a chromazone chart but it also enables me to go from setting the bg as pure white, drop the power from my stool with an AB cyber commander to a a know delta between reflective bg and subject incident, ie camera setting for aperture. Can do it again from that light gray to a second delta I like for dark gray, then, again from my stool, kill the bg lights, turn on a kicker and shoot a black bg. When the client looks at the tethered photos, they are always impressed.
     
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  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A real money-saver and a real time-saver! Being able to turn black or gray paper into white, or gray, or into one of a zillion colors....

    Take a quick look, spend 20 minutes, learn a very valuable lesson:

     
  8. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @mrca love my Cyber Commander, only wish it was just a tad sturdier. Really need to do a gel chart, but havent had the time. Given the limited number of gels I have, I just save my light setup when I find one I like.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    one of the beautiful things about pack-and head studio lighting is the ease of KNOWING what fixed light ratio outputs will do when using gels.
     
  10. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    The Bee's connected through the Cyber Commander is pretty slick. All wireless, so the floors stay clear, and being able to save and recall later complex lighting setups is a real time saver. Set up your lights, load the lighting setup from the card in the CC and your good to go. From the controller you can adjust individual lights, groups, or all at once to fine tune if needed. I've never found them lacking in power or recycle time, nor found the temperature changing during a shoot.
     
  11. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Having once stepped of a ladder into the sweep... from the third set on the ladder, staying off a ladder in studio is priceless. I love being able to turn lights, modeling lamps on and off from my stool. When adjusting bg power from my stool, I just hit the power setting take spot reflective readings and adjust. If I want to close down the pupil, I am particular about the size, I just turn on other modeling lights or crank up the power and I keep the full 250 watt bulbs in mine, that's 5oo watts for main and fill and is plenty to get exactly the pupil/ iris size I like. Looks good and gives plenty of iris to work with in post. Careful with the adjusting buttons on the cybercommander. I broke one. Buff sent me one for free. I have 2 cyber commanders as it is an essential tool in my studio. They will pop 10 times per second up to about medium power. I set my camera for 6 fps, not the 9 it can do. That's plenty for portraiture and capturing morphing expressions. The old 18lb orange vagabond will pop them 6 fps, but he mini will not.
     
  12. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Derrel, I love Dean Collins comment on a client saying can you give me that shade selected from the chart, and Dean responds yes but it will cost you. Some of those were shot at Brooks Institute that is out of business and was one of the best photo schools in the country. The grads I knew in CA were fantastic photographers.
     
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