2013-08-22

Shooting in the London underground darkness with PhaseOne IQ180 and Profoto

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We joined Chris Gale in the London Underground and witnessed him put the Phase One 645DF+ equipped with an IQ180 to the test.

Working in the London underground gives a number of challenges. Chris has do the shoot without main power, in almost pitch darkness, and it has to be completed in only 3 hours. These challenges demands highly reliable equipment, capturing at the best possible quality, time and time again.

Chris:
"Today I'm doing a photo shoot in the London Underground. I'm shooting in a disused station called Aldwych. It has been closed since the mid-1990s but is open for filming and photographic shoots like the one I'm doing today.

I've got a number of challenges to get the shot I need today. There is no mains power down there. We'll be working in almost pitch black conditions and we only have three hours to get the shot we need.

I'm shooting over a comparatively large area so I need to ensure that I can reliably trigger the flash. There are no second chances to get this shot so I can't have any problems with
my camera system, software or lighting.

I'm using 6 Profoto battery generators. The images will be shot using a Phase One 645DF+
with a Profoto Air Sync on the camera's hot-shoe. I chose the Air Sync as it should work
on a range of around 300 meters.

Setting up the light is the most time consuming part of the shoot. Fortunately, I've got a big team to help me today. I've also got an expert digital tech to help with Capture One Pro software.

It's pitch black down here so we'll be working by torch light and occasionally using a model light from the flash heads to see what we're doing.

I'm lighting the model with a single flash head with a beauty dish that has a honeycomb grid. The flash heads that light the tunnel are using magnum reflectors. I've put one lamp head around 4 meters behind the model and then used the other 7 lamps in roughly 15 meter intervals to ensure the tunnel is properly lit as far as the eye can see.

I'm using a Phase One IQ180 digital back with a camera. It has a huge 80 megapixel sensor so we can easily use these images on a billboard. Just as important, a back like the IQ180 produces files with a massive dynamic range so every detail is captured.

I like to work closely with the client or art director and shooting tethered helps them see
what they're getting instantly on a laptop.

It was a good shoot, the client was delighted with it, we got more shots than they actually wanted, and it was a good team effort. All the gear worked flawlessly so that
meant I could concentrate on the shot so I didn't have to worry about any technical issues whatsoever.

I'm very happy with how it went, the client is extremely happy with how it went and now we're going to have a beer.

Photographer: Chris Gale

Phase One - http://www.phaseone.com





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