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Monte Zucker shows how he sets up the studio for portraits.
Tags:The Studio Set Up,how to set up the studio,monte zucker,portrait,software cinema,studio set up
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What you’re looking at here now is my complete portrait lighting set up the way I generally have it. I have two lights both on the same side. The reflector on the opposite side, or instead of the reflector I have a fill light behind the camera position, a light on the background that I can put on the background or on the subject itself at the same time and a hair light.
So the difference between shooting the film and shooting with digital is that digitally we’re exposing for the highlights. When we’re doing film we use expose for the shadows, but now I want to make sure I have detail on my highlights, and a lot of people I know are unfamiliar with this continuous lighting, the fluorescent light and the spider light. If these were flash I would do exactly the same thing. I have my lights placed one back here 45 degree angle behind me sort of lighting half my face or in profile position.
One light in front giving me my regular light pattern, the reflector here opening up the shadows, hair light, dark hair, a little bit closer, light hair, a little farther back. And as far as the background light, if I want the background to be the same color that it actually is, I have the same amount of light on the background as I have on the face. If I want the background to be lighter or darker, I just increase or decrease the amount of light on the background in relationship to the face.
Flash or continuous lighting is going to be the same thing, but we have to always do a custom white balance, don’t go for the automatic white balance. It’s not going to be good enough because sometimes it will pick up other distracting colors around that you don’t want to have. So after I do a close up of the face and get the exposure right, set the camera on manual, put the Expodisc in front, point it towards the light source then on the back of the camera I’ll just say custom white balance, push the button, select an image, push the button again, and that’s what it takes to get the custom white balance.
Alright, let’s do a portrait setting. I’ve got Ben here waiting on the wings, so before he even comes in I’ll get the exposure using somebody else under the white balance we’re ready to bring him in. Light placement, one light at 45 degree angle behind him. One light at 45 degree angle in the camera in front for the main light, the reflector, hair light, background light.
So let’s bring them in. I’ve already done a quick facial analysis by having a conversation with him but I’ll do it again with you, would have him in place. So why don’t you have the seat here, and we’ll have you looking straight into the camera, and let’s zoom the camera in up close to his face so we can see what we have right. I’m noticing first of all just center him, yes that’s perfect. I’m noticing that his right eye is a little bit smaller than his left. You’re aware of that already, right, Ben?
Okay, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to turn the small eye away from the camera for the two-third view because that means you’re looking into the larger part of the eye. If I turn the small eye towards the camera as most people think that you should do, we’ll be looking unto the narrow aspect of your eyes that’s going to make it look still more narrow.
For Ben’s full face picture in the basic pose we have his body turned slightly. Well, though a 45 degree angle towards the light and leaning him forward at the waist toward his knees that lower his back right shoulder, and see how his head is tipped perpendicular to the slope of the shoulders.
Now what we’ve done is we’ve lit from that one light coming from 45 degrees behind him. We’ve highlighted the side of his face and the side of his nose, and that light came from a low position parallel to the side of his face. With the head tipped to the low shoulder perpendicularly just the way we have it here. The simple basic pose looks unposed. It looks totally natural.
Now let’s leave your body exactly the way it is. We’re going to move light now to approximately a 90 degree angle from the camera because that’s where I think the light is going to have to be to retain the same light pattern when you turn your face to the two-thirds.
The two-third view of Ben has the same body position. As a matter of fact, for the full face and the two-thirds remembering the basic pose the body is at the same angle. All we did is turn his face to the two-third view, move the main light to keep the same light pattern that we always used. We call it one fabulous lighting pattern, and go for the expression.