Photographing The Cap at Comic Con

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This was one of the first "live" events the Olympus E-M1 covered. As I mentioned in The Tides of Change post, the Olympus was originally purchased for personal work.

Anyway, it gradually became the "do everything" kit, and this was the first full on event, very quickly followed by a two day equestrian event. Anyway, back to the Cap.

This isn’t a studio session. It was shot on a balcony with a crowd of onlookers and the usual hustle and bustle that goes with a comic con event. You can feel a little intimidated with Thor stood to your right, and Darth Vader hissing away down your left ear ‘ole, and both of them wanting to peek at the back of the camera each time you chimp. Have you tried telling Darth Vader to get his fat head out of your line of sight? Well, it doesn’t go down too well, I can tell you.

So........

When the Cap walked onto the shooting area, my first thought was the poster which had been used to promote the first Captain America Film. It was an upper body shot, and the lower half of his shield falling away into shadow really quickly. The setup wasn’t really ideal for such a shot, to be honest, as it was a typical event setup with two key lights and two high accents. The key lights were a couple of honeycombed 150cm Octas, which are great for full lengths and groups. To get the fall off, I raised both Octas to the maximum height on their stands, which was around seven feet, and then angled them both upwards to cross the Cap. The fall off from the honeycomb cut nicely across his shield, although it took a couple of goes to match both Octas properly.

Each key light was powered by 600Ws location lights, and were firing at 1/8 power as they were a fair distance from Cap. Incidentally, I had brought him further forward to ensure the key lights didn’t illuminate the backdrop, so as to preserve the depth of black.

The accent lights are gridded beauty dishes, which I tend to clamp to each top corner of the backdrop and angle them down towards the expected subject placement. It’s not to save on taking stands, it’s more to do with placing the accent lights out of harms way. Each accent light is powered by a 300Ws location light, firing at ¼ .

And that’s actually about it.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 1/125th ISO400 12-40mm f2.8 @f5.6
 
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Repp

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As always, very informative. Do you just set the accent lights to the best case placements and then forget about them or do you adjust them for each shot/setup?
 
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As always, very informative. Do you just set the accent lights to the best case placements and then forget about them or do you adjust them for each shot/setup?
At an event such as this, the accents are at the top corners of the backdrop, set to cross at the target point where the subjects will stand. Due to the distance, the spread of light is large enough to cover most scenarios, and due to the height and angle, don't cause flaring problems for me.

With the high volume and frequency of shooting, it just isn't feasible to adjust the accents in this type of scenario. The key lights, on the other hand, are pretty much within a step away. They can be adjusted without breaking stride.
 
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Julia

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Your explanation of the surroundings of the shot made me giggle, @MichaelSewell :) I've attended a few conventions here in Germany, and I was often part of the DVD crew that interviewed the stars and shot behind the scene footage, so I have a sense of the situation you are describing. My most challenging interview was of Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver / Stargate SG1) with hundreds of onlookers pressing in, a rather shy actor, bad light (my camera guy hissing to me to tell MacGyver to turn this way and that way) and me hating to be in the spotlight :)

I'd say, considering the conditions, you did a marvelous :biggrin: job!
 
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Thank you @Julia

Don't tell the Cosplayers, but I tend to view these kind of shoots as personal projects, as opposed to the usual shooting for clients.
Shooting for clients is quite restrictive, insofar as I'm shooting to someone else's brief. Whereas this kind of shoot means I have far more input.

The folks at the conventions are great. They all do so much work for charity, I take my hat off to them.
 
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For fun, below is a photo I took a few years ago in Chicago. I had no clue what I was doing. I'm getting better results now with off-camera flash (rather than no flash). But how do you arrange a 4-light setup? Does the convention invite you? Do you prearrange things or do you just show up with equipment and setup somewhere a little out of the way? I would have loved to have your lighting setup with this guy.

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Captain America by Thomas Remisoski, on Flickr
 

noohoggin1

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Very cool and fun! I'll be attending San Diego Comic Con in a couple weeks and can't wait to take photos of the various cosplayers there
 
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How do you arrange a 4-light setup? Does the convention invite you? Do you prearrange things or do you just show up with equipment and setup somewhere a little out of the way?r
It can happen in one of two ways. I'm either contacted by the event organisers because they have seen me working at another event (They all visit each other's conventions to keep an eye on the competition), or I contact the organisers and send example images.
 
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