Mixing three different lightning systems together. Profoto Air, Pocket Wizard and Canon optical sync.

15 05 2013

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Hey everybody!

Today I thought I might share a great thing I finally made work yesterday. I’ve tried this a few times before and either it didn’t work of it was unreliable. However, I thought of something different yesterday and it worked just fine. It is also very reliable. I was able to sync a flash triggered by Profoto Air system, another one triggered by Pocket Wizard and finally, I was also able to triggered speedlites with Canon proprietary optical line of sight triggering. All this in sync!!

First, I tried to put the Pocket Wizard TT1 in the hot shoe of the camera and the master flash, a 600EX-RT, in the hot shoe of the Pocket Wizard TT1. That’s the scenario in which I had unreliable results. I then had an idea to put the Pocket Wizard TT1 in a separate hot shoe triggered via a PC cord plugged in the PC Sync port of the 5D Mark III, and then I put the 600EX-RT in the hot shoe of the camera where it belongs. Magic!!! everything fired in sync. I even have TTL with the speedlites!

This setup let me with another option. The hot shoe of the Pocket Wizard TT1 was still unused! That’s why I slide the Profoto Air Remote in it. Magic again!!! Three very different systems, all working together even if they weren’t design to do so!

I’ll try to shoot something worth showing and I’ll come back with some exemples.

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Powering a Canon 5D Mark III with a Vagabond mini!!

3 10 2012

Over the last year, I’ve worked on a few projects as a DP for my friend Chris. Over that year I have acquired a lot of knowledge in video production, which I had never done before.

One thing that I realized is that power comsuption is very high in video mode for all HDSLR ( obviously). That means that you have to change batteries about three times on a normal shoot day. That also means that you have one more thing to worry about on a already over busy day. There are a few solutions out there to take care of that problem, but they often involve a lot of money:

You can buy a battery grip for your camera.
There are very nice but very pricey solutions from Anton Bauer.
Etc
Or…

You can buy an ACK E6 adapter from Canon and a Vagabond mini from Paul C buff and you have a very nice and acfordable battery solution for your HDSLR (around 350$ CAD).
It can be a little bulky, but you now have the opportunity to plug another device in the mini (let’s say a monitor) since you have two sockets.

With only the 5D plugged in, I’ve never depleted the battery more than a 1/3 of it’s power for a total of 4.5 hours of footage (on and off). Pretty impressive!!

And if you’re a photographer, it will double as an awesome battery solution for your strobes, or a great source of power for timelapse photography.

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Astonishing 5D Mark III

30 07 2012

Hey all,

I got my Canon 5D Mark III back in March in the first pre-order batch and I’ve been amazed ever since I started using it. I’ve always held back on the 5D Mark II because of its lack of speed. I used to shoot a 1D Mark IIN. So last summer, knowing that a Mark II replacement was coming, I bought a 7D to keep me waiting. I must say that the body feels pretty good and it is a very nice camera for speed work and video also. However, I was never satisfied with the image quality of this camera. Above all, I discovered recently that it front focused!!.

So here comes the 5D Mark III! What a perfect camera for my needs. It is small (compared to a 1D series body), fast (relatively), the IQ is awesome (especially with some lenses) and the high ISO is just insane (really!!!).

Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 35L f1.4 ISO 8000

I did a wedding early July. As there is still no support for the 5D Mark III within the Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1 (as of July 2012), I decided to go completely available light, knowing that the Mark III did awesome in earlier events that I did. As you can Imagine, the reception room was pretty low in available light. I had with me the Canons 35L 1.4 and the 85L 1.2, but I wanted a fast shutter speed (who doesn’t?). To be comfortable, I pushed the ISO up to 8000 !!! Really, 8000! Whoever tried that on a Mark IIN or a 7D know what I’m talking about! This high ISO is just impossible to use on these two camera and I guess it is the same for the 5D Mark II. But with this new baby, it is not only possible, but remarkably good for events (I wouldn’t shoot stock at ISO 8000!) Add a little noise reduction in Lightroom 4 (about 30) and the file looks really nice.

Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 35L f1.4 ISO 8000

I’m glad I didn’t used flashes at the reception, because it would have killed most of the nice pinkish bluish ambiance. Here are three photos taken during the dinner/party at ISO 8000 so you can judge for yourself.

Thanks!

Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 35L f1.4 ISO 8000

Thanks for reading. You can find my images on my iStockphoto portfolio by cliking on the banner below.





One strobe and the new Canon 5D Mark III

16 04 2012


Hey,

Last week-end, I went to my parent’s for the easter holiday. I know a really cool place there where I used to go bouldering when I was in high school. I knew it would be a perfect spot to do a few trail running photos. It would also be a very good opportunity to test my brand new Canon 5D Mark III in a real shooting situation.

My lovely light stand ­čśë

So I brought with me the 5D III, a few lenses and my Profoto AcuteB2 AirS kit with a 60 inch shoot thru umbrella. This is the exact same setup that in this other post, but the umbrella is bigger and it made a big difference in the final images. How? because it lit the entire scene, thanks to the very wide beam spread of the shoot thru umbrella. Here’s a good example in the next photo. The trees and the subject all ┬áreceived the light they needed and were adjusted in post.


Even if the 5D Mark III has a maximum sync speed of 1/200 sec and the flash duration of the Profoto Acute B2 is not short enough to ”catch” a runner. I think it did a very good job showing just enough motion to be great.

I used a combination of Pocket Wizard Mini tt1, Flex tt5 and Profoto Air sync trigger. The Pocket Wizard were used to trigger the camera while the Profoto Air Sync fired the flash. (I was the runner, so I had to use a remote solution).

In this case, the ambiant was about 2 stops under the main flash, giving just enough fill light to complete the shot.

In this photo, the ambiant was probably about 2/3 stops under.

Thanks for reading. You can find my images on my iStockphoto portfolio by cliking on the banner below.

www.profoto.com

www.Pocketwizard.com





Lifestyle shot with one flash

11 02 2012

Hey,

Two weeks ago, I decided to bring some gear outside to try something I had on my mind for quite some time. There’s a great demand right now for lifestyle images that look natural. By natural, you need to understand that buyers don’t want to feel the flashes in the photographs. I put feel in bold because natural looking images don’t necessarily means natural light. It is ok (and essential in my opinion) to use flash in most shoots to be able to control your images.

Knowing that, I started to think of a way to create technically great images with flashes in a natural way. I started thinking of a way to get a very diffuse light as a starting point. The best tool I could come up with was the shoot thru umbrella. It gives a very soft light and is all over the place. That should do it for my main/fill light. I also wanted a kicker light to give depth to the images. As I wanted to go light on this shoot, I decided to use the cheapest light that I have, the sun. That’s it. One light setup and I was good to go.

For this shoot, I wanted to use very shallow depth of field with my 50mm F/1.4 and I wanted a nice background. I found a spot fairly close to the parking lot, so I didn’t have to carry all the gear to far.

I began with a reading of the available light and adjusted it at about 1/400 sec @ F/2 (I used a polarizing filter to bring the shutter speed down by two stop) I already knew that my camera was able to sync to the Profoto Acute B2 at 1/400sec without too much banding. I then adjust the Acute B2 to match my F/2 aperture. It was easy enough because the pack can go down to 9 watts. Combined with the shoot thru umbrella and a small distance, it was perfect.

I used myself as a model because it was easier. That means I needed a way to trigger the camera. I used two pocketwizards, one on the camera and one in my hand. With the autofocus on, that worked  pretty well. To trigger the flash, I decided to use a traditional sync cord because I felt it was more reliable than the auto relay mode of the pocketwizards and also because my other TT5 radio have some issues right now.

You can see the approximate setup in the following pictures (except for the pocketwizard).

As it was winter, I used the second setup to be sure to protect the head and the pack if the snow started to fall of simply to protect from snow that fall from trees. You’re never to ┬ácareful when you use expensive gear. You can also see that I used a hook to hold the pack. That way, it prevents to carry sand bags and it also helps a lot with the radios when they’re used. Pocketwizards don’t like to be close to the ground. Also, when it is possible to carry a c-stand instead of a normal tripod, this is the best thing to do, especially on the snow. Normal tripods have a hard time with packed snow and it is difficult to have a solid base because of the swing in the tripod legs.

So, finally, here are a few of the images. You can see the rest on my iStockphoto portfolio at:

Thanks for reading!

 





Another quick behind the scenes of a simple studio product shot

15 01 2012

Hey all,

Here’s another really quick post about the setup I used to make a few editorial product shots for iStockphoto. At the beginning, this was just a lightning test, so the shots are not that creatives, but I tried to add a little something for the last one. First, Here’s the studio setup.

I used 4 strobes. the key light is a Profoto Acuteb2 AirS 600 with a umbrella. The kicker is a AlienBees B800 with a small square Lastolite Easy box. The fill is a Einstein E640 in a 64 inch silver PLM with front diffuser fabric, overhead. Finally, the background is illuminated with a Canon Speedlight 430EXII with a blue gel. I used a Canon EOS 7D with a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS. The flashes were triggered with Pocket Wizards Mini TT1, Flex TT5, Zone controller AC3, Power MC2 or simply by optical slave for the AB800.

And here’s the shots:

For the last one, I decided to try the shortest flash duration of the Profoto┬áAcuteb2 AirS 600 which is supposed to be around 1/6800 at t 0.5. I replaced the AB800 by the Einstein as the kicker and set the Profoto to -4 and Max (fastest flash duration setting). I removed the overhead fill. I’m pretty satisfied with the results. At 100%, the flash tail is still visible, but it is very usable if the subject isn’t moving too fast. For this shot, I used old gliding wax scrapes to ┬źsimulate┬╗ snow.

So here it is, your comments and questions are always welcome.

www.pocketwizard.com

www.profoto.com

www.paulcbuff.com





Fitness photos with Canon and Pocket Wizards.

29 04 2010

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m posting two photographs I made last sunday on the Mount-Royal, in Montreal.

The two photos were taken with a Canon EOS 1D MARK II N and a Canon 50mm f/1.4. I used to hate this lens and came very close to sell it because it gave me crappy results wide open at F/ 1.4. I got used to the Zeiss 50mm Planar F2 on my Leica M8 and I can say that this lens beat the Canon by far for the sharpness wide open (for me, the Canon is unusable at 1.4). HOWEVER, I now realize that the Canon 50mm has a wonderful bokeh in comparison to the Zeiss. I sort of figured out that the best way to use this lens is by starting it at F2. That way, I can get decent sharpness AND a really beautiful bokeh.

By the way, those two shots were taken using the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 with a Canon Speedlite 580EX. I first got some range problems with the radio remote. I’ll have to test it to find out if my problems were caused bye the noise emitted bye the 580EX or simply because my radios were to low, close to the ground.

Here are the photographs.

Thanks

PL