I originally shot cars when I was coming up as a photographer, and I have wanted to shoot them more and more recently. When approached to do a Behind the scenes video about some of the commercial shots I was involved with last year I really wanted to show what I do with the Westcott Ice Light. Over the course of the project planning, it grew into involving two of the best crews I could ever imagine working with! The Dupont Registry has always been the dream magazine I look at as far as I can remember. The crew at AlreadyBeenChewed.tv is the future of commercial photography as far as I am concerned! With cooperation of both Dupont and AlreadyBeenChewed they have allowed me to create one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.
The process of Light Painting is actually pretty straightforward and required minimal equipment. For the main shoot of the car the equipment used was:
- Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
- Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G Wide-Angle Lens
- CamRanger Wireless camera iPhone / iPad cameras remote Control Transmitter for Select Canon and Nikon DSLR Cameras
- Induro Carbon 8X CT314 Tripod
- Kupo Master 40″ C Stand with Sliding Leg (Chrome Plated)
- Apple 16GB iPad Air (Wi-Fi Only, Space Gray)
- Westcott Ice Light
- Westcott SkyLux
- Westcott Strip Softbox with Silver Interior
The final shot requires multiple images to be layer into a single image for different purposes such as, spectral highlights, shadow, and details. Basically the camera can not move a hair. For this I used the Indruo C-314 Tripod and a sandbag to keep everything stable. The hardest part is to shot and not get movement whatsoever, this is where the CamRanger comes in.
The Camranger allows me to have full control over the camera from and iPhone, iPad, or computer. This way I am able to adjust focus, set f-stops, and set the camera to bulb capture. I need to use bulb capture for the longer exposures required for light painting. I am able to start the capture, shoot what I need, and end the capture. I then can review the image and make adjustments as need for the next image. I also have the option of live view. I can do a test run watching the screen to see if I am going to get the desired reflection off of the car.
The Westcott Ice Light is one of the best pieces of equipment I have used for this style of shooting. General in light painting techniques I would use flashlights or pen lights. These all work OK but have different white balances. The Ice Light has a super controlled white balance, general matched to my flashes white balance of 5600K. This way I can also use my flashes in a lighting painting and flash mixed image. The Ice Light also has an internal battery, which has an insanely long run time. I didn’t have to recharge the battery for the entire shoot, and the video guy was using the Ice Lights for most of it. They also have a soon to be released barn door attachment which helps control the beam and light spill off of the Ice Light. I also have the ability to control the light output via the dimmer on the Ice Light control panel.
Westcott also has a new product called the Skylux. This is a Kelvin-matched constant 1000W LED video light that works well with the Ice Light. It is not battery-powered as it draws a lot of power. It also has a dimmer control so you can match the power of the Ice Light. I love using the Skylux because it accepts a wide variety of light modifiers and accessories from Westcott. I tend to use a large soft box to get softer lines along the car, or softer reflections.
The initial shoot is the easiest part of the entire process. I then go into Photoshop and layer in all the images I took. I ended up using 31 images for different highlights, shadows, and parts of the car to create the below final image.
After the shoot I walked around downtown Tampa Bay and took various images for a background. I ended up liking the sparkling garage of the Westin the most. Here I dropped the car into the background, added a shadow and some light coming through the windows of the garage. This part is tricky as you have to shoot the same focal length, camera level, and angles so it looks realistic.
For the final image I shot the layers over to Barton Damer of AlreadyBeenChewed.tv. They specialize in motion graphics and creative design. I have worked with them on a few previous projects and they are my got guys for any C4D style image processing.
After shooting some smoke, and sparks in the garage Barton was able to finish off the final image! Feel free to click the image and download it for a desktop background or screen saver! Thanks to the crew at Dupont Registry for the Ferrari and location, Barton for working hard on the final image, and Alex Glass for the Behind the scenes video!
Westcott Lighting Gear in Action