Indiana Bones Work Log

Concept

Once again on Sunday I looked around the house trying to draw inspiration from some of the interesting decorations we have collected over the years. We seem to have a lot of Egyptian stuff and so I imagined a scene like this.

A little bit of Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom! I want to make it look like Artsy is in a giant hall with huge Egyptian statues in the background with Artsy inspecting a precious relic in the foreground.

Pre-Production

I spent a lot of time trying to make rays of light in Photoshop last week and was not satisfied with the results. So this time I decided to reserve an evening for some technical tests to see if I can create the light rays on-set with my strobes.

Here are some test shots I made as I tried various combinations of zooming the flash, using snoots, grids and cookies.

With strobe zoomed to max of 105mm
Strobe at 24mm with snoot.

It seemed I was able to get a decent beam of light but was not getting the light rays that I wanted. Light rays are made when there is a healthy mix of shadows in the light beam. So I needed something to actually block some of the light. In the film industry, a common slang term for things that block bits of light is a cookie. So I cut out a cookie from some white poster board that would fit snugly on the end of my snoot.

The cookie

Now we’re getting somewhere!

Strobe @ 24mm with snoot and cookie

Now I can rotate the cookie to get different patterns of light beams.

Rotated cookie and pointed flash more towards the camera. Strobe @ 24mm.

The Shoot

Now that I’m confident in my ability to capture real light beams. I set out to capture the 3 elements of the shot.

Statues

I had 3 small book-shelf decorations to work with (thanks to some lucky shopping at Ross).

I wanted them to appear to be lit by light streaming in from the top of the frame, so I lit them all the same, with top-down hard light through a grid.

Statue 1, Pose 1. I also captured this facing left.
Statue 2, Pose 1. I also captured this facing right.
Background Statue. For size reference, this stands about 1ft tall

Light Rays

Now for some yellow light-rays using my new cookie.

Talent

Finally, the talent. Artsy was pretty easy to pose here, I just had to hold a treat slightly off camera to direct her gaze. I also threw some random bricks in that were left-over from construction to try to make it look like maybe she was at an altar of sorts…

Artsy shot with a yellow light in the background. I knew I’d have yellow light rays being cast everywhere and watned to have some natural yellow light falling on herto help blend in.

Post

To begin with, I tried to establish the fake perspective in the shot to help me position the statues. As it turns out, I needed a bit of education on 1-point perspective (see youtube videos below). Because I got it wrong twice.

First attempt at perspective lines

I moved on and got my light beams roughly positioned, reduced the brightness of the background objects and then realized my perspective was all wrong. So I re-did the perspective….

Re-doing the perspective again, unfortunately this is also wrong, the statues are actually inside the walls in this perspective.

3rd time is a charm.

The perspective I ended on

Some minor dodging, burning and blurring of background layers and I arrived at the final image.

The final image.

Time Spent
Planning 1 hour
Photography 1.5 hours
Lightroom 20 mins
Photoshop 4 hours

Lessons Learned

  • I can make satisfactory light rays by filling the air with junk (fog, dust) and throwing a cookie on the end of my snoot.
  • It’s really hard to tie a scene together without a ground plane, it would have been nice if I could have thought through how better to setup the backdrop so that it included a ground plane.
  • I should have used my protractor to position the statues at exact angles when photographing them so that the lines would be parallel and lend to a better illusion of perspective.

Youtube Tutorials Consumed

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