MIXED LIGHT (PART 3)

How to move camera and convert color temperature with conversion gels

May 20, 2016   1672 views

Mixed light, conversion gels, color temperature

Part 1 and part 2 of this article

Part 3. Mixed light. Moving camera and converting color temperature with conversion gels

But let’s return to the mixed light technology. In previous article we learned how to setup the aperture and the shutter speed of the camera to work with continuous and strobe lights simultaneously. It is very important because in mixed lighting we use them at the same time so we have to totally understand how to change exposure of those types of light.

In creative photography the mixed technology means blurring some part of picture with continuous light while keeping another part of picture sharp with strobe light. So we have to understand how the picture will change if we try to blur some part of the picture.

For that let’s move the camera during capturing and look at the behavior of each lighting source. I went back to the original settings: f11 aperture and the shutter speed of 1/25 sec. I'm going to move camera when picture is capturing. But it is not easy, the shutter speed is 1/25 sec and I have to move my camera very fast to blur the left part of the picture. Look at this picture:

mixed light, color temperature, 5600K, conversion gels, 204 You see that the right side is still sharp but the left part made with continuous light became blurred. Again, I have to move my camera very fast. You understand that I can make the both part of picture sharp if I don’t move my camera. Even without tripod, just holding the camera in my hands. And all I could do at this shutter speed was just to make left part a little blurred. We can distinguish the shape of the lighting spot, the lighting unit and we even see the bricks on the wall. They are blurred but we can still distinguish them. But what if we want to blur left part totally with mixed light technique, not to see any details. Yes, we have to make the shutter speed longer. Longer and longer. For example 1 sec shutter speed. And We have to move the camera with several circle motions. Take a look:

mixed lighting shooting, 5600K, conversion gel Now you see on the left part just “a mist of light”. No details, no lighting units, not bricks of the wall. The exposure is too long and motions of my camera totally dissolved everything in this part. Because every part of the lighting spot was capturing in movement and this movement was long enough. But you see again that the right part is still sharp. Movement of my camera didn’t affect to the sharpness of lighting spot created with strobe light.
Ok! Now we understand how to blur some part of picture. You can move your camera, you can ask the model to move, you can move everything around but you will still have the blurred part of picture and the sharp part, made with continuous and strobe light. That is the main principle in mixed lighting shooting.

But you see that we have very big difference in color temperature of the sources. What to do? To convert it. To take pictures in mixed lighting technology we have to make the color temperature of the lighting sources equal. Let’s return to basic settings and look at the picture again.

mixed light, color temperature, 5600K, conversion gels, 201, 204 Here the color temperature in RAW-converter is set to 5300K (the color temperature of strobe light) and we can say that the right spot is neutral (no any colors), while the left one we could call orange and warm. The situation totally changes if to set color temperature in RAW-convertor to 3000K.

mixed lighting, light, color temperature, 5600K, conversion gels, 201, 204 The light on the left became neutral, while the right spot seems cold and blue. But let’s set the color temperature to 4000 K, medium position.

mixed light, studio, color temperature, 5600K, conversion gels, 201, 204 The difference now is not much evident: a source of continuous light is slightly warm and orange, while the strobe light paints the wall in a little blue, cool color.

Now try to apply the conversion gels to achieve the same color temperature of different sources.

There are a lot of conversion gels for every type of light but here we are interested in only two of them made for working with strobe and halogen lamps: 201 and 204 conversion gels.

conversion gel 201 color temperature blue CT

conversion gel

The first one is a “cold” Full CT Blue (201) gel. (I should say again that all manufacturers use the same nomenclature, so no matter where you bought these gels, you always can find them with the numbers I cite here.) This conversion gel changes color temperature form the color temperature of continuous light to the color temperature of continuous light. Take a look. I put this gel over the left lighting unit.

mixed light, color temperature, 5600K, conversion gels, 201, 204, CT Blue You see the color temperature of both lighting units became the same. Totally the same. We still work in 5600K and this 201 gel changed the color temperature of continuous light from 3000K to 5600K. So we got both lighting spots neutral.

There next gel is 204 “warm” Full CT Orange gel. On the contrary it changes the color temperature from the strobe type of light to continuous.

mixed light, color temperature, 5600K, conversion gels, 201, 204 I put this conversion gel over reflector but now I also have to change color temperature in my Raw converter. You understand that with 5600K color temperature in my RAW converter they both will be orange. Take a look!

I got it! They are equal again. But now you see I made it by changing color temperature of the strobe light. And by changing the color temperature in my RAW converter.

Now we understand how to operate with shutter speed and aperture, understand how to move the camera to blur some part of the light and understand how to convert color temperature with conversion gels. So let's now come to the next part of this article with examples of pictures made with mixed lighting technology where I will talk about the practical application of your knowledge.

Part 1 and part 2 of this article

(to be continued...)