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Thread: studio wals color

  1. #1
    not an junior member Janko Belaj's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Knezija, Zagreb, Croatia, Europe...

    studio wals color

    I just have returned from "work-trip" (would that be "of-location assignment"?) and have found wonderful note from my ceo - I'm moving to new, larger studio and I have to choose color for it.
    I have one studio with my friends, the one for "hobby-work", it isn't big, but is suitable for most of our experiments - 9 meters long, 4.5m wide and 3m tall. We have painted half of that studio in black and other half in white, so we have 2 setups for easier lightning - high key and low key.
    Unfortunately, I'm not able to achieve same in "my" new studio: it is larger, but not long enough for such treatment. Or, better to say - it is too big for such divided setups. I have run sort of test with my 3d software and the light fall-of is just to big ("long"): studio is 11m long, but is 7m wide and 3.5 high.

    Unlike previously described studio which I share with 6 friends, in this one I have to position also my "computer table", preparation tables (those on which I will sort and/or prepare products I have to shoot), and some other small "things" I can't describe with my limited English.
    I have idea of painting whole studio in light gray - something like Kodak's gray card, with "roll-like panels" on the side walls. white and black in pairs, so I can change reflection amount. I would just like to hear from you what do you think about my idea.
    The primary purpose of this studio will still remain product shots - from those small setups for catalogs to those I really enjoy - advertisement, but my firm is also thinking about photographing people in this studio. I'm afraid that this studio won't be tall enough for perfect lightning of people, but will be much better that the room I'm using right now. (Not studio, just room.)

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2000

    studio wals color


    Moveable panels made of light wood frames covered with white background paper are a good idea. You control the size of the working "room" at will. Be sure that the ceiling is painted a neutral white so that you can bounce light off it directly. This effective raises the ceiling compared to using a softbox that has to hang under that rather low 3 meters of headroom.---Carl

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    studio wals color

    Every Hollywood studio I have worked in has been set up to do modern advertising product photography in color, which requires nearly shadow-less lighting. Everything, including the floor, was painted neutral white.

    This makes for easy color work, as the shadows practically fill themselves. But it makes dramatic lighting difficult to control and therefore virtually impossible. Especially in a small room, the walls of which are close to the set. Color in an Olympic gymnasium, with walls 100 meters from where you are working, is much less important.

    When I went through my “Yousuf Karsh Phase” I painted everything in the studio flat black. Aside from my accidently walking into walls a lot, it had the benefit that every bit of fill light had to be deliberately generated. When I wanted a black shadow for drama, it was simple to achieve.

    Your idea of moveable “flats” covered with black or white is an excellent solution because they can be modified easily as required. And the middle gray walls should be fine.

    Just be sure that the paint produces a color-neutral reflection. Roscoe in Hollywood used to make a line of stage paint specifically for this purpose. Run a test with the film or digital medium you are using.

  4. #4

    studio wals color

    I would paint the walls and ceiling white. If you do a lot of small products on a table, a gray floor will be easier to keep clean but if you work on the floor paint it white too - at least in the shooting area. If you walk on the white floor you will have to re-paint it often - maybe every time you shoot on it.

    I used to have flats as described by Carl Weese but mine were two sided - white on one side and black on the other. Some were painted and trimmed to look like walls or doorways in a house so they could be used for sets.

    I made the panels from 1/8 inch (about 5mm) thick plywood screwed and glued over solid wood frames. Here in the U.S. standard sheets of plywood are 4X8 feet (about 1.2X2.4 meters) so thats how big mine were. I now use fabric flags and reflectors instead of panels because I don't have room to store the panels.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    studio wals color

    Paint everything matte grey. Why? Because you want to control the light. You will have movable panels, backdrops. White makes no sense to me because you will only have to defeat the reflections. Well, it works for my place which I admit was designed by The State. (Sometimes I think I should wear an International-Orange jump suit in there.)

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