A week or two ago, I brought the Guerilla Drive-In projector rig over to Harold’s photography studio to take a beauty shot. I think it turned out AMAZING: kind of hyper-real, like the spaceships in 1970s science-fiction films that started out as actual models (rather than computer wireframes). Click on the image to zoom in (check out the metalflake tank!)
From a total layman’s perspective, here’s how Harold does it (once the bike has been rolled into his studio):
Harold positions the camera lens using a great big rolling boom and locks it into place. He uses a little camera-back thingy with an eyepeice on it to look through the lens to get the focus right, then he attaches a digital back to the lens. At the push of a button, the whole studio is plunged into darkness. Harold then picks up a big fiber-optic hose with bright light streaming out of one end, and pulls a trigger mounted to the hose. THere’s a big SNICK! noise as a metal shutter in front of the camera opens, and Harold "paints" light from the wand directly onto the subject.
While the shutter is open, there’s a measured "beep beep beep" sound, which Harold tells me is his metronome. He uses the beeps to keep track of how much light he’s painted onto various parts of the subject.
There are also different attachments for the hose: a paddle, a long tube, a little dentist-sized curlique: the whole thing is like a marriage between a vacuum cleaner and a light saber. All in all, it’s pretty DAMN cool to watch. Thanks for the image, Harold! I’ve already made it the “hero” of the GDI main page. Next step is to photograph nighttime backgrounds!
2 responses to “Guerilla Drive-In Projector: Studio Shot”
I’ve been wondering how “light-painting” was done, but this exceeds my imagination. Now I want to know if the unit was really that supernaturally clean? Were dings and fingerprints edited out or does baptizing them with light removes all besmirchment? Does Harold ever do portraits?
The unit definitely was not that supernaturally clean. The “light bath” seems to get 99% of the way to the squeaky-clean effect — though I know Harold has also used light at an extreme angle to bring out texture in the surface, too.
Harold _does_ edit the photo — for instance, you can see that the parking sticker has been desaturated (and of course, the light beam is artificial), but it’s kind of surprising how much the so-real-its-unreal effect is due to the lighting technique, and not to Photoshopping.