I changed the picture on this post cause this last drum kit picture I made for our studio website updates turned out the coolest of the bunch, so I decided to make it the main pictue. This is a Staccato kit… everyone used them in the early 70`s, but now they`re getting hard to find even if you pay a big price. They don`t even have great tone, but they look stunning and if you mic them up with lots of EQ on stage, they sound massive just like they always did. They`re made of fiberglass, and were made in Canada by Ayotte, and in England under the Hayman/Arbiter label. The snare drum in the pic is a vistalite (plexiglass) Hayman which is from the same era and vibe. Using the remote flash under the snare (see below) I was able to illuminate its transparency
Below are the rest, and here`s a basic description of how I set up the shots for anyone who might be inetersted in some of the lighting methods and tips I discovered during the many hours it took me to set up these simple looking shots. I’m not experienced in this kind of work, so maybe my own trial and error might help anyone doing similar product shoots to avoid wasting time in getting it right.
I used two Elinchrom 250 W Flash heads, each with 60 × 60 cm softbox. The one on the left side was kept oblique to minimize reflections, and low enough to avoid downward shadows from the metal brackets holding the toms. The flash on the right side needed to be high to avoid reflections from the metallic brand labels. With product shots, getting the manufacturers labels well lit and recognizable is totally important. I also chose a backround of a neutral tone so that all the different colors of the various drum kits would show up nicely and not clash.
This set up seemed simple enough, but there were problems, even after optimizing the positioning of the two main lights. The snare drum was important to the shot, but being tucked in behind the kit, it was in total shadow. To solve this, I took my off-camera hot-shoe flash and mounted it onto a remote light cell (can be bought in most camera shops) that triggers when it sees the flash from one of the main lights. I placed this smaller flash facing upwards just at the bottom of the bass drum so as to light the snare and the seat. A bonus was that it also lit the inside of the bass drums so that the inside walls could be seen through the holes used to insert microphones and resonance damping for recording. It also added a bit of light underneath the cymbals which although I didn’t notice before, it made a big difference when compared to the original shots without the extra flash.
So this was all working OK, but the shots still lacked dynamic. I then used another separate hot-shoe flash with remote cell, placed in the rear and facing upwards to light the rear wall just enough to break the monotony.
The rest was just down to balancing the intensities of the four flash units, and finally adjusting the camera aperture to get the best depth of field while letting in enough light to avoid underexposure. In the end, I marked all the positions of the flashes and camera tripod so I could keep these basic positional settings for all the shots. It was enough work setting up the kits mechanically without having to worry about going through the lighting setup again.
The setup was constant enough so that I needed very little post processing… just adding a bit of contrast to boost the dynamic, and collaging in the manufacturers’ logos on the bass drum skins.
I hope anyone who’s interested enough to have read this through picks up one or two tips that might make similar setups a bit easier. Any questions, and I’ll be happy to attempt an answer!!
EOS 5D, 35mm, f13, 1/60
9183 views, November 2011…
Thanx for lookin’ !!