The day before we shot Aerlise, I'd taken delivery of a new portable flash system which worked with the high speed sync and TTL metering on my Sony camera. Steve and I decided to try it out, and we thought we'd trying lighting one of the trickiest areas in the house with it- the stair-well. The stairs in our house are quite nice, but also very tight, and getting any light in there can be really tricky. And since the whole thing is basically a big yellow box, it is really hard to avoid colour casts as well.
What we did to experiment was to poke the light into the scene on the end of a pole, so we could move it around and see how it looked on camera from various positions. We tied poor Aerlise to the stairs (in what was maybe a meaner tie than we'd at first intended- her feet tied through the bannisters actually made it really tricky for her to recover her position if she slid forward as she posed). And then clicked away.
The results are quite unlike our usual style, as you'll see from the first half of the set, where we more or less had the light within the scene rather than projecting in from outside it. We got the light a bit too close to Aerlise and burnt out her skin a bit in some shots, but that's a style all of its own so I've left those shots pretty much as they were rather than trying too hard to recover in post. It's got a kind of Sci-Fi haunted house vibe which I really like.
For the second half of the set we repositioned the light in a more conventional spot down the steps from Aerlise. This is the lighting pattern I've had most luck with in this spot before, and you can see why- it's nicely atmospheric. More horror film haunted house than Sci-Fi. I'm not totally sold on the TTL metering, it seems a bit hit and miss especially if we get the light too close, so I'll probably fall back to manual metering again as is my habit. But being able to flash sync at higher speeds is cool- lets one control the aperture for artistic reasons rather than purely for modulating the amount of light.
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