Tuesday 3 March 2009

Winter Storms.....

This time not snow but storms of a rather more turbulent nature

Meet Stuart Robinson.

I photographed Stuart the other day for Channel 4 TV in the UK

He was the subject of a Cutting Edge Documentary 'A very British Storm Junkie' as he is an amateur storm chaser who travels the world

The challenge was to create a truly eye catching image, with the aid of photoshop, as twisters are rather thin on the ground in the London area.

I worked very closely with ace retoucher Charlie to create a cohesive and 'plausible' image

The only stipulation was no flying cows.......damn!

Charlie spent many a happy hour creating the 'background' storm from goodness knows how many images

The trick then was to position and light Stuart in a way that worked

This meant shooting him from a slightly higher angle...

Lighting him from the back with 2 Chimera strip lights, to mimic the backlight in the back ground, and a medium Chimera softbox from the front

Then to bring Stuart in, standing him on sheets of plastic so we did not destroy too much seamless, spot the mistake? We used black plastic at first which would have made cutting him out a bit of a mission, so we switched to white.

Here is Stuart getting into the swing of things

Leaning into the 'wind' direction of the model is all important

Now for the fun part......spraying him with water, now before anyone writes in the lights are battery powered so pretty darned safe, behind softboxes, and further away from the very gentle mist spray, to give a further authentic look

This is the shot we used in the end, and this is how it looked on the Channel 4 website


Dave Keating Photography said...

WOW! This is very nice. I am really impressed with how well you put a shoot together, and how well you have planned it. I also love your tripod setup. Great work Drew, and I appreciate the setup pics.

Joe said...

Wow, this is simply mesmerizing ! It looks amazing ! If only I had a photoshoper like that working for me :P !

Unknown said...

Tell Charlie he did a great job... Oh and you did too!

I really enjoy your various description of your work and the setup shots.

Thanks for sharing the knowledge!!

Justin Sutcliffe said...

Fascinating stuff as always. Great shot and trickier than you make it look.

Did the seamless end up dead from the spray anyway?

TBG said...


Sell your DVD in America!! :)

(trying to buy a euro copy..)

Unknown said...

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the comments

Please be patient with me on USA DVD sales

I'm working something out right now with Mid West Photo

We will press them in the next couple of weeks



Sergei said...

great story and image, Drew, thank you!

Debbi_in_California said...

Please don't hate me for asking this...but I think most of the 'work' to make it realistic is the Photoshop. You pay someone else to do that for you you said in an earlier blog message. How much do Photoshoppers charge?

Debbi_in_California said...

I don't see any lights on the background. Wouldn't white make him easier than gray to cut out? Or am I missing the backdrop light?

Thx Drew, always love your creativity! (and I need lessons from Charlie!!, maybe he will do a tut on how he puts a montage together?)

Unknown said...

Hi Debbie

A couple of retouchers have asked me to use grey backgrounds so there must be something in it....

The CGI image exist first, then the stormchaser, using Capture One's remarkable overlay utility it is easy to work out where he fits AS you shoot.

He is shot to to match the background.

There is light breaking through the cloud on the left hand side of the image, so we put 2 strip Chimera's behind to mimic the light breaking through the clouds.

I created a robbery scene last week using this same technique



Debbi_in_California said...

Thanks Drew! I watching Mid West Photo and I want that DVD!!

Dan said...

Thank you for all the details Drew. "Tilted 'octa' 35 degrees" ect. Really helps a lot.

Unknown said...

Thanks guys,the trick is to be methodical about the construction of the whole image.

The reason to use grey and not white is you get a nasty outline reflected from the white background

The background DID survive!

A bit mangled though