Update Number Two

So, day two of this four day shoot was completed on Thursday, this time on-site in Saratoga Springs where the Philadelphia Orchestra spends their summers.  And just like the first shoot on tues, all of the people I met were delightful.  My side of the crew was the same with the addition of James and Kevin who worked as PA's and drivers and such. It was nice having a couple extra pairs of hands when things needed to get done, as there was more driving and larger instruments this time.

When we met up with the boys as I'll call them, I did a quick double check of the equipment they picked up from the rental house, and sure enough we had packs but no heads, so we had to make a pit stop at fotocare before getting on the road.  As is turns out, ultimately the fault was mine, I didn't have them on the list. One of those "staring straight through" the obvious stuff.  No harm, no foul. That's what double checks and teamwork is for.

In the last shoot we worked in a big New York studio, but this time we setup on the stage of a theatre.  It was just big enough for our setup width wise and everything came together quickly.  However after a few test shots I noticed a little problem.  You see, in the studio there was a white floor and walls, and so I had a de facto reflector on the far side of the subjects filling in the shadows.  However here on the stage, there was nothing to bounce some of the light back onto the other side, just a whole lot of cubic feet of really dark air.  So Meg and I fashioned a quick solution by clamping a white tablecloth to a clothing rack we borrowed from the wardrobe person (thanks Patty).  It worked fine, but obviously I would have rather seen it coming.

Lightroom 2 was released last week and runs pretty well.  The adjustment brush is a great idea and could prove very useful trying to tame RAW data even before it gets rasterized into a PhotoShop file. However I've found that it's a little sluggish when painting in the adjustments, and I've got some pretty beefy machines.  We'll see if it improves. More about my thoughts on Lightroom 2 when I get back from Lenox later this week.

The reason I brought Lightroom up is that I used the automasking features to desaturate the green screen paper to grey for the selects before I send them to the client.  And it took no time at all.  Just choose Saturation in the HSL panel > click the little handle icon to activate the tool and then click and drag down anywhere on the green and presto, you shot on grey paper.  I'm very impressed, and it makes the images much easier to visualize in the final composite.

On my next big shoot, I'd also like to try double diffusing my light. I'm using a 60" softlighter for my key, but I see a lot of people in shoot videos sticking a scrim or diffuser between a softbox and the subject..  I need to play with that.

At the end of the day, a few of us where invited to to see the orchestra play.  It was a pops night and it was a program of movie scores. So I walked over mid-concert with a couple of my co-workers and we caught 15 minutes of it before we had to hop in the car to head home. A full orchestra playing live outdoors in a lovely setting on perfect summer night as a special magic.

So, in the end I learned to always check the equipment before getting on the road, tableclothes are my friend, Lightroom's automask is very handy, and that the Philadelphia Orchestra can play.  Ok, I already knew the last one.

Off to Lenox, MA tomorrow, more updates in a day or so.  Someday, hopefully, I'll get to show you the fruits of all this labor.