Light and Dark


I recently shot some video of an engine rotating in place. The lighting was tricky because when shooting an object from all sides, you need to set up the lighting, and then rotate the object, and see how it looks, and rotate it again, and see how it looks, etc. With a still photo, you can light for your shot, at a specific angle, and of course, re-light if you change angles, but with video it all has to work no matter where in the rotation the view of the object is.

I shot the engine on black, focusing on lighting it, but not the background, as we wanted black, not “black dimly lit.” It worked out well, and I just had to mask out a bit of the background that wasn’t fully black.

But then, the client wanted to see it on white. Setting this up proved more challenging, as the focus became lighting the background to make it disappear, and since the background was not seamless (remember, the engine is rotating during the process) I ended up focusing most of my efforts on lighting the background, not the actual subject, the engine.

There is a small amount of shadow to the front-right side in the white version, which is fine, as I was really just trying to avoid any shadow in the back or side where the seams were, to make it all look seamless, and keep me out of masking hell.

All in all, I’m happy with how it turned out. (I personally like it better on black, but hey, that’s just me. :)

(Update: You can now see some sample footage.)