ARMY RUBY TEAM | TUTORIAL

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ARMY RUBY TEAM | TUTORIAL

One of our customers, Jamie Rowland of Manicman Photography, won 1st prize in one of our monthly competitions, and part of his prize was a day in our studio.

One of our customers, Jamie Rowland of Manicman Photography, won 1st prize in one of our monthly competitions, and part of his prize was a day in our studio. Jamie is ex army and for personal reasons he supports Help for Heros and various other charities for military personal.

Here at Lencarta, we fully support our military – not just because we supply the various military branches with their lighting equipment, but because we believe in them.  In fact, one of our guys is a reservist himself.

Para + Rugby Player = good security 

So, Jamie came along with a group of army personnel from various regiments. The guy below right is 6’6″ and built like a… rugby player. I can’t say that I’m the type who worries too much about security, but I didn’t even think about security while those guys were here 

JumboPara used for fill

JumboPara used for fill

The video shows what happened – as you can see, it was great fun! Later, we’ll produce a second video showing the technical aspects.

Some of the shots were simple photos of the Rugby Strip and Rugby Ball, needed for the strip and ball sponsors. Rugby players are pretty tough, and so are military people, combine those two togther and what’s needed is hard lighting – so for most of these shots, we simply used two of our Profold Strip Softboxes, one each side, each fitted with a honeycomb, to skim light across the front. Each of these was fitted to a low level Combination light stand, so that the softboxes could be at the right height without tilting them, which is essential.  Because of the size of the groups, we placed the strip softboxes as far away as possible, so that the lighting from them was both extremely hard and so that the light fall-off over distance didn’t create uneven exposure, with much more light on the people at the edges of the shot. On some shots, we used just a touch of fill flash too, and the nearest tool to hand was our large JumboPara, ideal because it’s so big that it doesn’t matter if the photographer is standing directly in front of it and blocking some of the light.

Strip softbox each side of the group

Strip softbox each side of the group

And the flash heads used were our SuperFast – they were needed for  some shots (in part 2 of this tutorial) that involved the guys and girls diving with a rugby ball, the idea was to get the shot whilst they were in the air and just before they landed on the crash mat.  These were the only shots that actually needed the SuperFast heads, but of course there was no reason not to use them for the shots that didn’t need their very short flash duration and ultra fast recycling, so we used them for everything.

Without honeycombed light on the ball

Without honeycombed light on the ball

Back to our Rugby Strip shots – this is very similar but also includes a ball, so an extra light, fitted with a 10 degree honeycomb, was used to light the ball. The shot on the right is with the lighting just on the man, before Jamie added the light on the rugby ball.

Strip softboxes used each side, plus a 20 degree honeycombed light on the ball

Strip softboxes used each side, plus a 20 degree honeycombed light on the ball

BTS shot

BTS shot

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With honeycombed light added to the rugby ball

And, to make it more interesting, Jamie took rugby shots of them wearing their No.1 uniforms too. Obviously, we don’t see Royal Marines, Paratroopers or anyone else playing rugby in their smart uniforms but photography isn’t always about reality is it?

Part 2 of this tutorial will cover some shots taken with a fog machine added into the mix, and finally we moved on to the very dramatic action shots that I mentioned a couple of paragraph earlier.

"War face", No.2 uniform

“War face”, No.2 uniform

Another No.2 uniform shot

Another No.2 uniform shot

When we’re able to do it, we will produce another video of this shoot, showing how it was done. Meanwhile, let’s get on with the tutorial…

Part 1 of this tutorial covered the early, static shots, designed to show off the new sponsored Rugby Strip and Rugby Ball for the 2016 season.
Jamie then did some shots using our fog machine. It’s just about the cheapest fog machine there is, courtesy of Ebay, and it produces more than enough fog for any shots that we’ve wanted to do so far. The only problem with fog machines is that once the fog is out there, you can’t put it back in the bottle – energetic fanning with a 5-in-1 reflector, and having a large studio, does help to disperse it but it still takes time for things to get back to normal, so fog shots need to be taken late in the day. Fog works best when it’s either sidelit or backlit, so that’s what we did, and we deliberately created a bit of flare too. A useful tip with fog maches is to get at least some of the fog in front of the subject, because if it’s all behind then it doesn’t look real.

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Fog in front of the subject, as well as behind

To get the flare, Jamie simply added another light, right at the back and pointing towards the camera. There are various ways of doing this, the light can be fitted with a honeycomb (which we did here) to control the amount of flare, and it can also be gelled, which again we did, to add a false colour for effect.

With added flare

With added flare

And when the fog had cleared, we moved on to some action shots.

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Trying for a Try

The plan was there there would be a nice big crash mat for the guys and girls to land on, but nothing ever goes exactly to plan and Jamie had to make do with an air bed instead – which would be fine if only they could land on something that small and avoid the Lencarta studio concrete floor when they launched themselves through the air…

But these are army guys who also play rugby, and they just got on with it, not once but time and time again until Jamie was happy with the shots. I’ve photographed a lot of people over a lot of years, and I’ve never seen such crazy people dedicated models.

Lighting-wise, it was simple enough. We used 3 of our SuperFast flash heads, because they are the only flash heads capable of completely freezing the very fast action. The re-takes were needed simply because it was difficult to get the all-important ball in exactly the right position and because we wanted each shot to be completely genuine, which meant that there would be no straigtening of the soldiers in PP.

One flash was arranged high above each dive, fitted with a big softbox that provided lighting on the top, and attached to a boom arm. Jamie was shooting from a low angle, looking up to create the required hero effect, so the light from the overhead softbox was lighting on their backs, which couldn’t be seen, but it did a good job of both lighting the hair and creating a rimlight.

Ane another flash was placed each side of the airbed, each fitted with one of our strip softboxes, rotated so that it was horizontal, to light the entire length of the subject. Each of these softboxes was a long way away, partly so that they created hard lighting, and partly because we didn’t want anyone missing the airbed and squashing them <img draggable="false" class="emoji" alt="