Friday, October 16, 2009

Products We Use: Lastolite Cubelite Studio pt. 2

After yesterday's article about the Lastolite Cubelite Studio, I realized there was a major element I neglected to include - a real world walkthrough. In about ten minutes this afternoon I knocked out a capture of a used Canon lens we took in on trade. Here's how I did it:

3:40 - Got the lens from Ryan, grabbed our Canon 1D Mark III w/ 24-70, CF card & Quantum Radio Slave 4i Sender.

3:42 - Turned on the lights that power our Cubelite Studio, a two-head pack system triggered by the Quantum Radio Slave 4i Remote. When we initially set up the Cubelight, some basic testing determined that an ideal exposure could be attained with both lights on 100w/s, with the camera set in full manual for 1/100th, f/10, ISO 100.

3:43 - Put the lens in the Cubelight, took a custom white balance with the Lastolite Grey Card and snapped off the first shot, shown here cropped but not edited:

(The greying background can easily be knocked out in post processing. Since with the Cubelite, the background lighting and main lighting are coming from the same source, they can't be individually adjusted. Getting the proper exposure on the subject is what counts.)

3:45 - Decided I didn't like the wrap around lighting that makes the edges of the lens on the left and right appear to fade out into the background. This can be remedied through subtractive lighting; Creating a gobo to block the direct sidelight. For this, I cut up a cardboard box to get the following image:

(Again, cropped but unedited. The cardboard sides block the light that hits the sides of the lens, but still allows the front of the lens and background to be unaffected.)

3:47 - I loaded the last image into Photoshop, removed the cardboard box gobo and used a quick level adjustment layer mask (the most important thing to know in Photoshop IMHO) and was left with this final result:
There it is. Ten minutes to a softly lit product shot, achieving the 'floating in white' look that is ideal for web product display. You can take more time as needed for shooting more demanding products and situations, but take my word that it is comforting to know that the lighting, diffusion and platform for product shooting are already set up and ready to go. If you find yourself shooting a lot of product for commercial clients or eBay product sales, the Lastolite Cubelite Studio is a strong choice towards creating a system for quick, straight-forward and repeatable results.

No comments: