LIGHT SUGGESTIONS

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Rick, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Hello,
    My first time to this site, which I find very nice and informative.
    For grins, I'd like to try that "look of the stars" from the 30's & 40's era.
    The George Hurrell look to be exact, b/w. I have some models and a older hair dresser who would like to do some of the old styles for me. Many of which she did many years ago and thought it would be fun to do again.
    My question has to do with the lights. I didn't want to use my Photogenic
    flash lights or my "blue bulb" hot light, which by the way, scare the hell out of everyone when they give out! I kind of had my eye on something like the Arri 1000W Fresnel system or maybe even Mole Richardson. I was thinking of two to cover main and fill. I do have some "Inkie" lights for
    hair and accent lights. I've seen these lights on ebay from time to time and think that if a person wasn't in a rush that they could pick-up a couple of lights reasonable.
    Having not worked with the Arri Fresnel system of lights or Mole Richardson, can anyone tell me if I'm looking in the right direction or be willing to share their experience working with these brands of lights?
    Any tips on this era of b/w portrait work?
    I'd like to stay with the 1000W so as not to spin the electric meter off the side of the building when I turn them on!
    Thanks,
    Rick
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

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    We have a set of Ari's in our studio at work. We use them mostly for video production, but I have used them on ocasion. The lights get so hot that everyone in the room (a huge studio) ends up sweating. I find that I can get the same look with my strobes, and the sessions go a lot smoother due to the comfort level going way up this way.

    There is a book on hollywood portraits, I'm not sure if you have seen it or not, it has the poses and rough layouts for the lighting. Remember, a lot of that look is due to using large format film and expert retouching with lead pencils.

    Good luck.
    Brian
     
  3. brYan

    brYan Subscriber

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    Check out "Hollywood Portraits" by Roger Hicks. Has photos and lighting setup diagrams.

    If I'm correct, photographers in that era used ortho film to achieve those unique skin tones and dark lips.
     
  4. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I've never used Ortho, but I've always understood it to be a "male" film. In that it produces a kind of ruddy, rugged look. Or so the books tell me. Did the pancake cancel that effect out on the skin?
     
  5. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (bmacphoto.com @ Jan 8 2003, 08:19 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>We have a set of Ari's in our studio at work.&nbsp; We use them mostly for video production, but I have used them on ocasion.&nbsp; The lights get so hot that everyone in the room (a huge studio) ends up sweating.&nbsp; I find that I can get the same look with my strobes, and the sessions go a lot smoother due to the comfort level going way up this way.

    There is a book on hollywood portraits, I'm not sure if you have seen it or not, it has the poses and rough layouts for the lighting.&nbsp; Remember, a&nbsp; lot of that look is due to using large format film and expert retouching with lead pencils.

    Good luck.
    Brian</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Ah, memories - working in a "loft" in August - with hot lights - "R2" floods - anyone remember those?

    It didn't matter much if the model/s were nude - the photographers earnestly wished that *THEY* were.

    I *love* my DynaLites.
     
  7. DKT

    DKT Member

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    Speaking of dynalites....there's an issue of View camera magazine from several years ago, that had an article in it about doing Hurrell type portraiture. The guy who wrote it used dynalite heads with gridspots and shot 4x5, if I recall. It's a good article if you're interested in that style.

    fwiw, I've used Mole Richardsons and you can't go wrong with those either....I've only used them for studio and location interior work though....currently I use alot of Lowell lights like Omnis and Totas...Lowell has a new one out that may be worth a look--a 650 watt fresnel that uses alot of the Omni and DP light accessories, called the Fren-L. If you ever get into other types of studio work, Lowells are great system lights, compact and well built...PLUS they're compatible to a degree with Dynalites (which I love as well).

    KT
     
  8. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Those wonderful old Hollywood portraits were always done with "hot lights" not strobes. They give off intense heat and are difficult to use. However they are very hard edged lights and the only way to get that with strobes to is to use the stobes with the fresnel lens. I believe Norman makes one.

    You will notice that in all the Hollywood portraits the falloff from highlight to shadow was almost instantanious.( a very hard edge). That is what creates their intense contrast. As has been mentioned these were done primarily by the studio, promotion department, which had huge budgets and put everyone to work to create it. Sets, wardrobe, hair and makeup people and the magic of the worlds best retouchers, as well as some not bad looking subjects. They all used at least an 8x10 camera.

    A recent book called "About Glamour" by Len Prince is his attempt at this art form and is pretty good.

    Have fun trying to duplicate the look and there are always subject that would love to do it.

    Michael McBlane
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Disclaimer: This is all from memory - which has been known to fail on rare occasions. If this is one of them, I apologise.

    George Hurrells style was rather unique, and so was his technique. He had a very large studio - or rather: Long.
    In this long room he would put several (the prase "up to eight" comes to mind) lights. Some he would put very close to the model, others a loong way off. INto the light path he would put "flags"; tall, narrow rectangles of fabric which he would use to control the quality of the light.

    Sounds like hot work.

    A quick Google-search turned up this page: http://www.hurrellphotography.com/

    The picture on the front page shows Hurrell at work.

    As to orthochromatic film, I read somewhere that lipstick was green on the silent movies. This supposedly gave a more pleasing shade to the lips than red, which would go totally black!
     
  10. DKT

    DKT Member

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    Check out the back issues of View Camera for that articl. It was from a few years ago, and has a shot of Bogart on the cover, if I remember correctly. The article went into great detail about Hurrell's style, methods and negatives... This article also talked about the various lenses he used & their individual characteristics--how he "misused" the lenses and took advantage of their flare etc in conjunction with the arc lights the studio let him use. Goes into a short study of his negatives, and then the author details his method for a modern approach using the grids on strobes and an old calumet C400, if I recall.

    May not be 100% authentic, but it was a good article nonetheless...plus Camera Arts seems to sponsoring this site, might as well look up one of their publications.
     
  11. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I have the book "Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits" by Mark A. Vieira and it describes a lot of his techniques over the years. His golden age lasted form 1925 to 1943. After that time the studio system was coming to an end and the formal glamour Hollywood look had run it's course.

    During his time at the various studios that he worked for and even at his own studios his technique and equipment changed many times. The film was improving and he changed with the times. The one thing that he did practically invent was the "boom light" or at least a moveable boom. He used it in a lot of his portraits, heavily backlighting his subjects as well as using it to light their faces at times.

    As good as Hurrell was, he is often given too much credit these days for the Hollywood look. There were a lot of great photographers during that period whose names are forgotten. Some are Clarence Bull, Bill Daniels, Frank Tanner, Laszlo Willinger, and many others.

    Michael McBlane
     
  12. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions! I'll even give the green make-up a try as I do have some of that. Seems I read about that same subject some years back which prompted me to get the make-up.
    One question that's still with me concerns the lights.
    Arri makes a fresnel in 1000W and also a tungsten in 1000W. It appears the
    fresnel has a tighter focus capability than the regular tungsten model, which does focus but not as tight.
    Which would be better for b/w portrait work, fresnel or non-fresnel?
    Another way of putting it, which model would give that quick hard light fall off?
    Thanks to all for the help
     
  13. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Rick:

    I believe that when lighting with raw tungsten lights, and the main light is pointed at the subject, you use a fresnel. Any other lights such as rim lights and fill lights you can use barndoors etc. I think that if you don't use a fresnel you will see the paterning that is visible from the bare tungsten tube.

    The purpose of the fresnel lens is to collect the light rays and send them in a directed or focused manner therefore giving you the hard edge you are looking for.

    Michael McBlane
     
  14. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I guess I'm a bit of a heretic but I don't like many of the photos on the site mentioned. I'm sure the head and shoulders stuff is fine, but the full length portraits IMHO are clumsy. Although I would have liked to get to know Jean Harlow a whole lot better! Hubba hubba! [​IMG]
     
  15. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Well, like anything it is a look you either like or don't.

    I like it personally. It is almost as if the look is there to emulate a painting.

    You definately have to give those guys credit though for doing what they did with what they had.