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Author Topic: AUTO PHOTOGRAPHY: So why not just light the ceiling?  (Read 3000 times)
Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« on: October 02, 2010, 11:43:52 AM »
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Auto photographer go to great lengths to use ceiling mounted softboxes for auto shooting. I just have to wonder why don't they just bounce lights off a white ceiling? Doesn't that create a large source, or is it too difficult to control the spill area, gridded softboxes or barn doors won't do?
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MrSmith
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 01:00:49 PM »
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people do use the ceiling it's just another way of lighting a car as is direct lighting, kinos etc.
the trouble with a white ceiling/studio is getting contrast and colour in the car, that's why people often shoot in grey studios (i personally like a grey studio with no floating ceiling and good returns in the corners at the front of the cove.)
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haefnerphoto
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2010, 02:56:47 PM »
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As I tell my clients, they are a million ways to light a car.  Studios constructed with what's known as a eggshell cove would be the closest method to lighting off the ceiling.  Imagine coves from ceiling to floor with compound radius's in the corners and that's the eggshell.  I've built two of them but prefer another method which is lighting off of flying flats or bounce tabs which can be moved around to reflect into the vehicle.  You can create more contrast with this method.  Other types of automotive lighting are large soft boxes (usually around 10'x30') and kenoflos which are placed around the car.  I use all of the various methods depending on the look I'm after.  Attached is a shot of my studio that illustrates the flying flat technique.  Jim
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NickCroken
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 01:37:04 AM »
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As I tell my clients, they are a million ways to light a car.  Studios constructed with what's known as a eggshell cove would be the closest method to lighting off the ceiling.  Imagine coves from ceiling to floor with compound radius's in the corners and that's the eggshell.  I've built two of them but prefer another method which is lighting off of flying flats or bounce tabs which can be moved around to reflect into the vehicle.  You can create more contrast with this method.  Other types of automotive lighting are large soft boxes (usually around 10'x30') and kenoflos which are placed around the car.  I use all of the various methods depending on the look I'm after.  Attached is a shot of my studio that illustrates the flying flat technique.  Jim

It doesn't hurt to dream about shooting in an environment like that does it?
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eronald
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2010, 03:37:08 AM »
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An acquaintance of mine in Germany made a very good living shooting cars, until the industry there turned to CGI; two years ago at Photokina I met him the first time and he was suffering, now he has closed his studio, laid off his staff.

CGI allows new things like ads for white cars to be done easily, but I guess its killer aspect is faster previews and fast turnaround times for changes. I do agree with my acquaintance that the ads look unrealistic, shadows are wrong, tire textures are wrong, speculars are not quite right, the whole images look harsh.

I wouldn't invest in a studio if it didn't pay off within a year or so. My acquaintance was doing some of his work at a specially constructed for-rent facility with turntables for the cars, which has since also shut down.

Edmund
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haefnerphoto
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2010, 05:07:10 AM »
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An acquaintance of mine in Germany made a very good living shooting cars, until the industry there turned to CGI; two years ago at Photokina I met him the first time and he was suffering, now he has closed his studio, laid off his staff.

CGI allows new things like ads for white cars to be done easily, but I guess its killer aspect is faster previews and fast turnaround times for changes. I do agree with my acquaintance that the ads look unrealistic, shadows are wrong, tire textures are wrong, speculars are not quite right, the whole images look harsh.

I wouldn't invest in a studio if it didn't pay off within a year or so. My acquaintance was doing some of his work at a specially constructed for-rent facility with turntables for the cars, which has since also shut down.

Edmund

Yes, there's no denying that business is a challenge these days.  First, CGI, then car sales drop 40%, rates are 50% of what they used to be.  On the bright side, my clients are finding that photography is superior in quality, cost and turnaround compared to CG, so I'm seeing a resurgence in demand.  Right now I'm working on a Chrysler project, when it's done I'll post a few shots.  Jim
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jduncan
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 06:44:25 AM »
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Yes, there's no denying that business is a challenge these days.  First, CGI, then car sales drop 40%, rates are 50% of what they used to be.  On the bright side, my clients are finding that photography is superior in quality, cost and turnaround compared to CG, so I'm seeing a resurgence in demand.  Right now I'm working on a Chrysler project, when it's done I'll post a few shots.  Jim
The problem is that some times the render is done as part of the design of the vehicle. Also I believe there is a difference btw  building a new studio for auto Photography and already having one. Render technology can produce very good results. The good enough mind set did hit rendering. That means that tech like ray-tracing have been replaced in part by "game technologies" that looks almost as good. The problem I see wth new studios is that as computer power continues to grow, my bet is that the industry will start to invest again in increased photo realism. Next year computers will get a very high bust in fp math performance with Sandy bridge and Buldozer.
I will follow this advice:
 Edmund:I wouldn't invest in a studio if it didn't pay off within a year or so
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eronald
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 02:53:20 PM »
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I will follow this advice:
 Edmund:I wouldn't invest in a studio if it didn't pay off within a year or so

My acquaintance tried to invest in equipment to capture environments in Panoramic HDR, for car environments, and also sold panoramas of vendor locations for a while, then that  market too went bust - now he makes web pages. And this is in the best of Europe's economies, namely Germany Sad

Edmund
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
JSK
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 03:56:37 PM »
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why so pessimistic Edmund Smiley

I don't want to mention economy because it effects everybody.. but here I'll give you the perfect example of somebody who excepted the new standard along with todays challenges and is still growing as a photographer knowing that CGI is just part of the industry nothing more.. there are obviously other parts more concerning.. nothing to do with Creative Art but more to do with late payments, cut but cash payments, no payments until the next job is done etc.. CGI is just walk in the park.. like video cataloging every shoot (that most of our clients expect to walk away for free Wink )

HERE and mind you he is not the only one doing it..
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2010, 04:02:15 PM »
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Nice link.

What I find interesting is that my acquaintance in Germany moaned about seeing a different (and younger) kid every time he went in to Head Office, until his ability to persuade the kids finally ran out. Feel familiar?

Edmund

why so pessimistic Edmund Smiley

I don't want to mention economy because it effects everybody.. but here I'll give you the perfect example of somebody who excepted the new standard along with todays challenges and is still growing as a photographer knowing that CGI is just part of the industry nothing more.. there are obviously other parts more concerning.. nothing to do with Creative Art but more to do with late payments, cut but cash payments, no payments until the next job is done etc.. CGI is just walk in the park.. like video cataloging every shoot (that most of our clients expect to walk away for free Wink )

HERE and mind you he is not the only one doing it..

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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
MrSmith
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 06:40:16 PM »
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"but I guess its killer aspect is faster previews and fast turnaround times for changes"

i disagree. it's a few minutes to rotate the car, move the camera or change the lens, just how long do you think it takes to input and render data?

i sometimes work as a car lighting assistant and a large japanese manufacturer is now coming back towards photography for a lot of the work, the main reason is it looks better and an art director can 'art direct' and a different look or angle can be changed with relative ease.
cgi is good for some things but it hasn't killed photography just yet, it was the reason i didn't pursue car photography though. there are lots of very good car photographers out there with not much work.
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jimgolden
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 07:59:08 PM »
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"What I find interesting is that my acquaintance in Germany moaned about seeing a different (and younger) kid every time he went in to Head Office, until his ability to persuade the kids finally ran out."

its the connections that get you the work - just as important if not more than the work itself...
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2010, 08:30:23 AM »
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Yes, there's no denying that business is a challenge these days.  First, CGI, then car sales drop 40%, rates are 50% of what they used to be.  On the bright side, my clients are finding that photography is superior in quality, cost and turnaround compared to CG, so I'm seeing a resurgence in demand.  Right now I'm working on a Chrysler project, when it's done I'll post a few shots.  Jim

Seems like it is pretty much "last man standing" in Detroit now...

How many studios have gone out of business?
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Jonny Gawler
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2010, 12:00:48 PM »
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Auto photographer go to great lengths to use ceiling mounted softboxes for auto shooting. I just have to wonder why don't they just bounce lights off a white ceiling? Doesn't that create a large source, or is it too difficult to control the spill area, gridded softboxes or barn doors won't do?

i sometimes help some people shoot cars in a grey cove studio with a white floating ceiling. we use arri juniors - which have fresnel control for flood/focus - and barn doors (and also black lighting control foil) to stop spill.

as far as my experience goes, softboxes will work with flash which just gives a much cleaner file (compared with a 30sec+ exposure with tungsten white balance which is where i generally end up). trying to use flash on a ceiling (or white cove) is much more difficult to control, unless anyone knows of flash units with the same beautiful (and controllable) flood pattern of the arri fresnels?
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haefnerphoto
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2010, 01:18:11 PM »
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Seems like it is pretty much "last man standing" in Detroit now...

How many studios have gone out of business?

Craig, Not that many studios have gone out of business.  Some are used more as rental stages then before.  The only major studio to go under was Acme Photo and that was probably five years ago.  A couple of guys have retired too.  Jim
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JSK
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2010, 01:46:01 PM »
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Nice link.

What I find interesting is that my acquaintance in Germany moaned about seeing a different (and younger) kid every time he went in to Head Office, until his ability to persuade the kids finally ran out. Feel familiar?

Edmund


I hope it's not us Smiley it sounds like he definitely needs somebody to represent him..
I don't think years or gender matters anymore.. our experience is.. we have to upgrade
our technical stock as well as our intellectual stock, one doesn't stand a chance without the other!!!

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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2010, 11:26:53 PM »
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As I tell my clients, they are a million ways to light a car.  Studios constructed with what's known as a eggshell cove would be the closest method to lighting off the ceiling.  Imagine coves from ceiling to floor with compound radius's in the corners and that's the eggshell.  I've built two of them but prefer another method which is lighting off of flying flats or bounce tabs which can be moved around to reflect into the vehicle.  You can create more contrast with this method.  Other types of automotive lighting are large soft boxes (usually around 10'x30') and kenoflos which are placed around the car.  I use all of the various methods depending on the look I'm after.  Attached is a shot of my studio that illustrates the flying flat technique.  Jim

Fascinating information! The reason I am asking is that I am often asked if I can photograph a person with a car. I guess if I can make a panel using PVC pipes and fabric and suspend it above the car that would work. Is there a cretin formula for determining panel size or 10x30 is the standard?
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Abdulrahman - and yes its a long name but has a meaning "servant of the merciful". you can also call me abdul
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