Sunday 13 January 2013

White Seamless

I shot, edited and posted this picture to Facebook yesterday:

A model shot with negative space added in post production
My purpose for this shot was pay hommage to Zack Arias, and to play around with adding negative space in post production. The shot is taken in portrait mode, and about 1/3 of the space on the left was added in post production - pure white fill. I placed the model on the 1/3 line (rule of thirds).

After posting to Facebook, I almost immediately received three separate private messages enquiring how I did the picture with the shadows at the bottom.

This is a Zack Arias trick. Home Depot sells these 4x8 foot sheets of pressboard with a kind of white perhaps melamine painting on one side. In Alberta, they're $16. I bought two of them and they are laid on the floor lengthwise. The first sheet is laid on the white seamless paper (a 9 foot roll of white seamless), and the 8 foot edge of the 4x8 sheet is what is overlapping the paper.

The second 4x8 sheet is placed in front of it, overlapping a couple of inches. The sheet closest to the camera is on top of the one furthest from the camera.

When you get at a low angle and the white seamless backdrop is blown out, the edge between the two 4x8 sheets is barely detectable.

Dial in the light on the model for proper exposure. Then dial in your back lights so that not only the back is being blown out to 255 white, but the sheet goods pick up the reflection of the light and go to 255 has well.

You then have the model stand on the seam, and shoot from a low angel far away.

The light reflecting off of the white seamless behind the model is the blocked by the model's legs, and casts a pleasing shadow down on the 4x8 sheet between the camera and her feet.

The sheet goods are cheap. The edges get "frayed" pretty quickly. The only thing I needed to do in post is to remove a tell-tail sign of the seam on one part on the left side of the model, and I was done with post on the background.

Oh - I also keep one of those large industrial dust mops handy. I run it over the sheet goods before the model gets on it. I find that this saves me time in post production trying to clean dust off of the floor! I wonder if Zack Arias knows that trick?

I love the nice clean background that this generates. And of course, with the versatility of a white seamless, you can simply do a quick lighting arrangement change, and turn the background into black!

Same background, quick lighting change and "take it to black"!
What is your favourite background to shoot on?

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