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Photography using artificial projector backgrounds

A wise man once said, If you can’t bring the subject to the location, bring the location to the subject.

Err, sometime early last year I participated in a campaign to model for a certain line of apparel. The photographer for the “SM Urbanista” campaign was Xander Angeles and he had a unique way of bringing a surreal urban look into the studio. As we could not do outdoor shoots, Xander brought the background into the studio. What he did was take photos of urban backgrounds and project them to the studio wall using an LCD projector.

I’m not quite sure how the exact settings for the camera were set but this was obviously done using a slow shutter speed (I remember not breathing for about 2 seconds per take) and I do not remember a flash being fired (I could be wrong). Can anyone explain the anatomy behind these kinds of shots?

Tada!

sm_urbanista_campaign_2006.jpg

Okay, no more laughing! Especially after viewing the rest of the shots. 😀

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

5 replies on “Photography using artificial projector backgrounds”

“An exciting juxtaposition of images can be achieved by front projection… a view of the interior of the Ely Cathedral was projected onto a beaded screen by bouncing the image of semi-transparent glass.The camera was mounted behind the glass with the lens exactly in line with the axis of the projected image, ensuring the model masked her own shadow. A flash unit lit her independently to eliminate any projected image on her body.” – John Hedgecoe, The Art of Color Photography. p 234

Note: A diagram showing the position of three screens, floodlights, etc was also included in the page.

I though I remember that type of shot from a photography book. 🙂

Sometimes you can also do it during post production with the help green/blue screen. We mainly use it in filming but it can also be done in simple photography.

It’s hard to use a projected background since your main light’s output will be limited with respect to the projector’s output. You’d have to use a really strong projector or dial-down the strobes by much, thus requiring slow shutter speeds. But looking at the output, the whole experiment-kind-of-thing turned out good it was well worth it. =)

You can balance flash with ambient light by playing with your settings. It’s not that hard – but not entirely a piece of cake either.

If you didn’t notice a flash, then he probably used hot lights ‘coz you guys are pretty well lit.

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