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Old 05-12-2004, 12:29 AM   #1
Jean Kelly Jean Kelly is offline
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Vermeer lighting




I finally got to see "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" last weekend, and was blown away by the lighting and sheer beauty of every scene. So, I'm in the process of planning my next challenge. I've found a beautiful dress for Clea to wear (Betsy Johnson, resale shop, $20.)! It's cream with peach undertones, she will be seated on a chair with a rose cushion ( I want the peach with rose reflections). And this time I will actually use a backdrop in the deep sage green so I can incorporate the green in the reflections also. Now the lighting is what will make this piece. I'll be posting my reference photos for critique, but in the meantime does anyone have any suggestions. How do I get that light???

Jean
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Old 05-12-2004, 09:48 AM   #2
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Quote:
How do I get that light??
Book a flight to Delft. Or Luxembourg, where the movie was filmed.

But before you despair of ever recreating "that light" on an overcast Wisconsin afternoon, you might be comforted (or dismayed) to know that the film's cinematographer had to rely on a bit of backup himself:

[QUOTE]The film
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Old 05-12-2004, 09:55 AM   #3
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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The quality of the light is determined by numerous factors. The position of the light, the size of the light, the distance of the light to the subject and the strength of the light.

The larger the light-source, the softer the cast shadow edges and the light to shadow transitions will be. Conversely, the smaller the light-source the harder the light to shadow transitions and cast shadow edges will appear. The size of the light in relation to the model appears to change if the distance changes. The sun, for example, is huge but is also far away, so the effect is of a small source (hard shadows).

Closer light-sources give more drop off (gradation) while more distant light-sources have a more even (flatter) effect. I use strobe lights (equal to 600 watts per light). I would use a small softbox at about 4-5 feet from the subject to capture that look of a small window that is typical of a Vermeer. I would also use a fill light close to the camera position, very diffused. I don't, as previously stated, like using a reflector panel. Too inexact for me.

Vermeer's main light was positioned more to the side.

There are many variables. You have to experiment until you get the look you're after.
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:24 AM   #4
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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This thread has been moved from the "Photographing your subject in natural light" section.
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:47 AM   #5
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Thanks for posting that information about the cinematography, Steven. Sounds like they hired the right guy:[quote] I respect logical, natural sources, not because classic painters did, but because I like it. It
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:52 AM   #6
Jean Kelly Jean Kelly is offline
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Steven, what an amazing set! If I could I'd drop myself into the middle of it and soak up the"ambiance". The story is powerful enough, but the beauty is what impressed me. Sorry Eduardo, you helped create a beautiful movie and visual treat.

Marvin, my brother (the color guy for Quadgraphics) gave me some color corrected florescent tubes. I'll get them out and see just what they are. I also have numerous types of sheer, guazy fabric that I could use as a diffuser. It's time to start playing. I've never taken the time to set things up, so this will be a new experience for me. I'll ask my friend (the photographer) if she has a strobe I could borrow, and see what happens.

Jean
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Old 05-12-2004, 12:05 PM   #7
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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The Photoflex company makes a product called a Softbox that is kind of the industry standard for replicating window light (at least in terms of size and softness, if not exactly replicating north light color).

You can look at their products at http://www.photoflex.com -- they also have some interesting online lighting lessons that are worth looking at.
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Old 05-12-2004, 12:37 PM   #8
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Unnatural light!

Window light is ideal when one is painting from life but, IMHO, inadequate for photography because the film or CCD's aren't as perceptive to subtleties. I know people disagree with this but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!!! Film stock doesn't begin to capture the tonal nuances that the eye perceives but it has movement, which distracts from its shortcomings.
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:54 PM   #9
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Last incursion here, on the "softbox" subtopic.

If the pro models seem a bit pricey, consider this home-made design, or this one, which is a bank of natural spectrum fluorescents I cobbled together for my own use (and which I am not representing is the equivalent of natural light):
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:59 PM   #10
Jean Kelly Jean Kelly is offline
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Thanks Michele, I checked out the site and it looks interesting, my friend may actually have everything that I need. I wasn't sure what a softbox was and was ready to start a search. You've saved me precious time.

Marvin, I've done all my reference photos in natural light. Every photo I've taken indoors has sucked due to my lack of knowledge of photography in general and trying to learn both photography and a new camera with bells and whistles. Now I feel a little more comfortable with the camera, so ready to try "artificial" light. Since this is a portfolio piece and Clea is available to model I'll also be painting from life. Guess I'll have to move to Delft or Luxemborg and take Clea with me. I'd rather practice with a friend than a paying client. I want that soft glow that I saw in the movie and in Vermeer's paintings. Time to do a search on Vermeer. I'll check out the thread on his techniques here in the forum.


Steven, Thanks for the link, I've bookmarked it and will cjeck it out further. On the cheap sounds good to me.


Jean
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