Sunday, February 17, 2008

Capturing the essense of life!

Hey Everyone!

It's been a while since I've made a video and I had my laptop downstairs in my mock studio and decided to video my technique on water droplets.

I'll go ahead and just show you the video and then I'll put this into words so it gets a little more simplified.

I know the quality sucked, but all I had this time was a 1.3MP webcam that I paid $40 for and it shows. You can make out the important stuff and if you can't here is the essay:

Basic Setup:
-Clear tub filled with cold water (hot water isn't as clear)
-Two strobes (hotshoe flashes would be best)
-Two light stands
-Tripod with a good head (I prefer gripshift, but don't go buying stuff just for this)
-Wireless triggers (Pocket Wizards are what I use, but you can substitute Cactus triggers if that is what's available)
I use three Pocket Wizards for my setup but you can sub one for a cable release
-Coloured gels (pick something fun like blue, red, purple)
-Water dropper... well, anything you can find that drips a constant drop of water will work. I use a medicine bottle with a built in dropper
-A harness for your dropper (I used a wrench held onto a lightstand, but wire or a clamp of some sort would also work)
-Counter top

Ok so for the setup just suspend the main light from a lightstand pointed straight down into the pool of water. I use a Kalt electronic slave trigger to send my PocketWizard trigger to my flash. Mount the PocketWizard using the supplied PC cable (you may sub in the Cactus Ebay receivers here). Move the flash up so it's about 3 feet from the pool of water, turn it on, and set to about 1/8 power.

Get your second light and set it to optical slave and about 1/16 power and attach any coloured gel of your choice to the flash.

Get your camera on a tripod nice and low to get a good even shot on the water that will eventually come down. Don't worry about focusing just yet as we haven't setup the dropper. Attach a PocketWizard to the hotshoe of your camera and attach a camera trigger cable from the PocketWizard to your camera (this will vary from camera to camera).

Place your dropper into your light stand harness contraption and watch the drips fall. Adjust your camera so everything is oriented in a pleasing manor and adjust your focus as best you can.

Grab you third PocketWizard (sub in a cable release here) and begin to time the drops with fake trigger presses. When you're confident about the timing go ahead and start shooting until you fill up your memory card and watch your display to make sure things are focused and the timing is spot on. It will take some time to master but you'll find yourself getting keepers all the time with enough practice.

Here are the results:


Philip Carl said...

Great blog. Love that you are one of the few using the K10 besides me.

Royston Kane said...

Very nice and simple explanation. Good work!

Kiki said...

Thanks for making this! I have been trying to get strobe work without actually using one (I know, not very effective- blame budget/availability where I live) anyways the video really made it clear. Just wondering about position of the second light w/gel, it kinda looks from the video that its pointed straight at the side of the tub- is that right? does it just add colour by 'diffusion'?