Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Funnel

Odd name for a blog posting but let me explain..............

A little while ago I shot a series of historical re-enactments of the life of Queen Elizabeth the first

We shot this in Penshurst Place

It seems like a dream assignment, indeed it was in many ways apart from one, yes you guessed it-budget!

By the time we had paid for all the locations, costume ,props, and crew we had not very much money left for talent

So, how does one make nine actors and a sparsely filled table seem like a full on Elizabethan banquet?

The Funnel

I first heard of it in relation to a critically acclaimed BBC docudrama called 'Culloden' by Peter Watkins made in 1964

Peter Watkins was faced with the same problem

Not enough talent and a HUGE area to fill

It simply means putting more talent at the front and filling in the gaps with talent progressively further off in the background

I used the same technique for my shoot

I used Elinchrom Rangers, with the main light in a Chimera Large Softbox on a Redwing boom(the Flash centre have one going second hand here!)

Shot on a Canon 1ds 28mm lens 1.3 sec at F14, a long exposure to pick the candles up, so VERY little ambient in the room which meant movement was not an issue

Note also that by shooting diagonally across the table I'm making it seem like there is much more food on it than there actually is.

All a case of making less seem like more

Something I have made a career out of...................


photoshopabuser said...

Sweet post! I am going to store this one in the memory bank and see if it will stay...

Sarah Balderas said...

Great shot, Drew...always a learning experience!

James Kingdon said...

Thanks for the post, it's always interesting to see how you approach these things. The soft cool key seems a bit at odds with the candlelit setting though.

James. said...


Question, at that shutter speed, even in in low ambient, are you models not going to blur? or are the dark even with 1.3 seconds of exposure and your strobe brings them up? Or, are you getting second curtain sync out of the strobes? If so, how?

Thanks, love the blog.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your responses guys

No blur as we shot with ALL the lights off once we had pulled focus



Jens Christiansen said...

Hey, I didn't even notice the lack of subjects until you pointed it out! This is definitely a technique I'm going to drill into my head over and over until it sticks.

Question: what if you were to do the funnel technique, AND combine multiple exposures?

topcat said...

i love this shot, looks like a movie still
remarkable to produce this on such a tight budget when it looks such a lavish setting. guess its all to do with good planning all round to create that trademark 'less is more' effec

Anonymous said...

I looked at the depth of field before reading the text and thought "that wasn't shot on MF"!

Unknown said...

Once again thank you for all the comments

Jens has hit on 'the' secret

If you combine multiple exposures as well as using the 'funnel' it can be spectacular, jst make sure the same person is not too noticeable, I try to get them to switch uniforms around as much as possible....