Recently I got a delivery with three new Flashes, Nicefoto RQ800C. These flashes have extremely short flash duration (1/20,000 sec on t.05 at the fastest setting), which is suitable for freezing fast movements in a studio environment, for example splashing water. I did a thorough test of these flashes for creating a commercial image/compositing which I’ve had plans to do for a long time.
Note: This shoot was not done on assignment by Nocco, just a personal project of mine.
When shooting the images that are a part of this compositing I made two different light setups. When I shot the drink cans I used six flashes. This is what the light setup looked like:
One flash on a small lightstand pointed to the background. This flash is not really important because the cans were to be extracted, but anyway…
I used two flashes with 60x90cm softboxes to create the contour highlights on the cans. This is what a picture looks like with only those two flashes and the background flash:
Then I added two more flashes with honycomb grids that I softened through tracing paper on each side of the can. These flashes were also shielded by two black boards to get a slightly sharper edge on one side of the reflection, and one softer side that created more of a gradient towards the middle of the can. This is what it looked like when these flashes were added:
Slightly in front of the can I also put a flash from above, on a boom stand. This flash had a honeycomb grid and was shot through a diffusor screen. This is what a shot straight from the camera looked like with all six flashes:
I prepped the cans with dulling spray, that gives a matte surface with a ”chilled” look, as if it was just taken out of the cooler and had stood in room temperature for a couple of minutes. Then I sprayed the cans with a mix of 50/50 water and glycerine. This makes the water drops bead up and get a nice round shape with good looking reflections.
I triggered the camera with a Pocketwizard radio transmitter. That way I could hold the cans in the exact angle I wanted to and take several pictures until I got what I wanted. This is what the images of the cans that I used for the compositing looked like straight from the camera:
When the images of the cans were done it was time for all the water images. I rigged three NiceFoto flashes for this since I needed a very short flash duration. It is very important that all flahs light you use for these kind of images have the same short flash duration. If you use one flash with longer flash duration it will not work. The water drops will get ”tails” of light and become blurry. I set the flash duration to 1/15,000 sec at t.05. That’s usually short enough flash duration for freezing action.
Below are some examples of images I took details from to the final compositing. From some images I took bubbles that looked good and sharp. From others I took the fruits, water drops in the air and so on.
Since I shot with a Hasselblad H5D-40 I could use 1/500 sec shutter speed.
The final PSD image consisted of 66 layers and adjustments layers in different folders. When you have a PSD with this many layers it’s best if you organize eveything very thoroughly, else it gets pretty messy working with it. All in all this image took about 30 hours of retouching and 5 hours shooting in the studio including light setup.
It would be too extensive to include every little detail in the retouching process but it includes a LOT of details and accuracy to get it right. Below is an extremely shortened and simplified animation of how the image was comped together.
If you want a closer look at the detail and the sharpness that a Hasselblad camera produces then take a look there at a larger version of the final image: www.markusp.se/download/nocco_3000px.jpg