using digital to get a "polaroid" from a studio scene?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by TomStr, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    hello,

    i was wondering, could i use our small digital camera as a light tester in the studio? before shooting on film?
    if i put the iso settings and time and diafragm as i use on the analog camera do i get a good idea of how the final film print will become? (using standard developing times of course)
    in the old days i used polaroid in the school studio but that is a long time ago...
     
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  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes, I do this with a DSLR & studio flash but it's not really a topic for discussion on APUG :D

    Ian
     
  3. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    goh, i know, but my main goal is to take pictures on black and white FILM, not d*gital. i just want to use the d*gital to create a preview for my film shoot. to rule out wrong lights, dark spots...
    Thanks anyway!!!
     
  4. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    The answer is yes, it's very useful & many film photographers use this method, e.g. studio photographers & large format landscape.
     
  5. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    @ goldie
    thanks a lot!!! now ill have more fum in the studio this sunday!!! and more good negs too!!!
     
  6. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Why don't you just use Polaroid? I know they stopped producing their films, but Fuji makes them now.
     
  7. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    i have no large format camera with polaroid back. i use 35mm film. hence no polaroid...
     
  8. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    A bit more confidence in your own skills, and/or perhaps a bit more time taken to ponder the scene you are trying to capture, and you do not need Polaroids.

    They only were usefull anyway to show other people who were not sure about your skills that you did indeed know what you are doing. :wink:

    But seriously!
    Reminds me of a talk given by a german photographer and advertising man (i wasn't there, but have seen it as MP3), mainly about art directors (the Alfa Romeo bunch). My memory of it is not perfect, but the gist of it is very clear.
    Broaching the subject of Polaroids, and the inane demand to see (preferably many) Polaroids, he folded a bit of paper, tore it so that when unfolded again it formed a frame, held it up, and shouted (to the art directors) "there is your f***ing Polaroid!".
    Very right he was.
     
  9. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    i agree, but to form your skills you need to practice and train a lot, and to do so without making dozens of "bad" pics, making small changes in the light setup and not really knowing what it is going to do to the final picture...
    so i think that for training purposes the digital polaroid can come in handy...
    of course i dont want to take away the creative aspect in the dark room but when i shoot a whole film without "polaroid" and get 2 "good" pics i rather use digital to test and get 10 good pics out of my film ;-)
    perhaps when im famous you can see me shouting and cursing about the purpose of polaroid ;-)
    until than, everything that can help me is welcome ;-)
     
  10. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Of course.
     
  11. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    The only other thing I'd add is that you should first check that your d* camera exposures match up with your film camera. They should, re ISO, aperture etc but we don't know what gear you have so perhaps just do some test before you commit to the studio, in case they differ in some significant way. Should be easy enough to work out a test. Are you using flash or continuous light in the studio? Some form of preview is definitely necessary with flash & still very helpful with continuous.
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    With my studio lights I find that a flash meter and the modeling lights actually work much better.

    The only time the "digi-Polaroid" helped me was with digi shooting.

    Take a high-key white background for example, any digi will show a "perfect white background" long before the film will. Low-key has the exact inverse of that problem with black backgrounds.

    I actually used a cloth doll that had facial features and worked with one light at a time to get the lighting setup right. For example, set the main at camera f-stop setting plus 1/2 to 1 for fair skin, fill at "main minus" one or two or three depending on how dramatic I want the shot, background for high key white at main plus maybe four stops to get perfect white (this requires lots of space behind the subject to avoid a halo effect).

    During the shoot I leave only the main light's modeling bulb on so I can see how the light will fall.

    Unless you are using a head support and duct-tape on your subject, a Polaroid can't help you with a perfect pose. :rolleyes:
     
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  15. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    Mark,

    my subject for this sunday is an apple, a few film cans, a plate, a fork and a knife. I think they can sit in the same pose for a while :smile:
    thanks for the great amount of info. i havent much studio experience so all info is welcome!!!
    but you can be sure, i will be using my light meter and my head rather then staring at a small d*gital screen :smile:
     
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Yes, but mostly to confirm light ratios as a last test before shooting my 4x5, etc. My studio flash - trust old Speedo Blackline - has nice bright modelling lights, to see where the shadows fall, but they are not proportional in thier output. I set the 2mb digithing for the right exposure and slave trigger the studio flash, with an IR filter over the on camera flash.
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Have fun!
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    One further caution - if the digital camera has a smaller than full frame sensor, most likely the digital image will show greater depth of field than your film image.

    Matt
     
  19. alan doyle

    alan doyle Member

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  20. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    That's exactly what I plan to do on a studio lighting workshop I'll be going to today. They said to bring a DSLR and lots of cards and batteries. While everyone will be chimping like mad, I'll be unobtrusively switching from a Nikon D200 to a F6. Wonder how that'll go.
     
  21. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I always find that the value of polaroid/d****l in the studio environment is to highlight how the "proportional" modeling lights aren't that proportional at all. It's particularly useful in complex subjects where it's often easy to miss shadows thrown by one object on another. I've never found them valuable for judging exposure - other than to highlight substantial errors. Art directors always want polaroids or, today, immediate image display - a bit like a lot of people want to see their medical charts. Doesn't mean they really know what they're looking at - just feel they oughta!

    Tom - do what works for you and enjoy it! (And the apple afterwards!!)

    Bob H
     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You can, but IMO it isn't very helpful, as the way you would expose to get a decent exposure on digital is different that the way you would expose to get a good exposure on film. The way a digital sensor reacts to light is unlike most films. Instant previews for me have always been more about composition, lighting ratios, lighting placement, etc., and not about exposure or color. I even find Polaroids fairly useless for most situations, though they are great for some things.

    If you need to shoot tomorrow, and have nothing else, by all means, use whatever tools you have at your disposal. However, realize that there are better tools that you should use in the long run if you intend to keep shooting in these situations. Any flash meter will tell you much more useful information than a histogram on a digital camera.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The way you expose to get a decent Polaroid is different to using slide film or B&W film. So there's little difference whether you use Polaroid or Digital for your preview image.

    The important factor is knowing your equipment, films etc, and knowing what the differences will be between using Polaroid or Digital and your chosen film.

    A flash meter or normal ligh meter is far more reliable for determinig your exposures, but a Polaroid or Digital capture can be invaluable for checking the balance of your lighting set-up, if you have that capability.

    Ian
     
  24. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Almost every photographer shot Polaroids. Even i did.

    But why? :wink:


    Polaroids should not (because they cannot really) be used as a replacement for an exposure meter.
    They are good for checking almost everything else but exposure. As a surrogate exposure meter they are very coarse, and may not do any better than DSLRs with their reported different characteristics.
    (They are much too expensive to be used as such anyway).
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The things that makes studio shooting different than any environmental shot are 1-control, 2-control, and 3-control. I like to think of a studio setting as a factory floor.

    The magic of the studio is repeatability and all-weather shooting. There's a lot to learn but once you get things where you like them for any given style; the lighting, the environment, and the lenses all become standards. Like a standard printing setup for an 8x10 in an enlarger the times; f-stops, shutter times, and placement of the lights, the choice of film, camera, and lenses become nearly fixed, "X" can literally mark the spot on the floor fixed for each piece of hardware for any given style you have developed.

    The variables you need to see are are things like expression, stray hairs, and trash in the scene at the time the shutter is ready to drop. Trash in the background is a killer, in home studio sets it's things like wall sockets, light switches, wall clocks, and your spouse putting their keys and a bag of groceries in the scene while your changing from the Polaroid to the normal film. In dedicated studios it's stray cords and the clients briefcase, etcetera.

    The variables are the things a Polaroid doesn't always see, and it can't even duplicate the way your EI 25, f 2.0 setup works anyway. These problems are why I don't see a Polaroids value. The real value come from experience with the real media you want to use.
     
  26. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    so i can use it to check any obvious mistakes like hard shadows, verry high light spots... and i can check the composition. But otherwise it would make more sense to use my lightmeter and form an image of the end result by measuring multiple points.
    So i will use both, measure with the light meter, check digital and then make an analoge negative. I will try to keep notes of the different situations i use so i can check my negatives with the digital previews.
    This information will help me a lot tomorrow!!!
    Thanks!!!