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Friday
Nov262010

Dolls as Models - Part III of III

Plan A.  Shooting models with foredrops(?) and backdrops presents interesting challenges: scale, perspective, matching angles of light between models and previously-shot backgrounds, and death from boredom.  The images were way too busy, and wouldn't look good printed on text paper anyway.

Plan B.  Eliminate the backgrounds, shoot Ken, Barbie, Harley-Davidson and a few props against a plain white or black background.  The images are cleaner, but it's tedious extracting the subjects from white and black backgrounds (via Photoshop).  Hey, I'll do what they do in the movies: use a chroma key background!

Plan C.  A week later, my green chroma key background arrives.  Now I'll be able to do magic like they do in the movies.  What's chroma key?  Typically a green or blue background used to composite two images together.  Remember when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon dueled Darth Maul?  [You do remember, but won't admit it, because you'll look like a geek].  That action was shot in front of a chroma key background, the characters then extracted from the background, and placed over a new background of something astonishing that they couldn't afford to actually build a set for.  My plan is to shoot action over a chroma key background, then extract the characters so I can insert them cleanly into the book, in some cases beneath the text.  Well, Harley-Davidson's chrome reflects all the chroma green, which looks unnatural, even when converted to black and white.  It wasn't any easier for me to extract Ken, Barbie and Harley-Davidson from chroma key green than it was from white or black backgrounds.  Next…

Plan D.  Revisit Plan B.  White background.  Nikon D3S, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR autofocus lens, (2) Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlights, SU-800 Wireless Flash Commander, Nikon MC-30 Remote Trigger Release, Gitzo GT1540T Traveler Carbon Fiber Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead.  Three weeks later, I have ~1,200 images, various vignettes with Ken and Barbie, and I've knocked the tripod over - camera mounted - twice; I caught it the first time, almost caught it the second time, thank God I have carpet.  Another month of editing, and I've inserted double truck images - means the image stretches across both (opposing) pages; I think the Playboy Magazine pin-up would be a triple truck - on every page of the book.  By the time I've looked at each image, my eyes are too tired to read the text.  Next…

Plan E.  A pragmatic approach: insert images at chapter start pages, and on chapter end pages that contain lots of blank space.  Now I can read the book without my eyes crossing.  Send up for first printing, wait two weeks, and book's back, and…the images look horrible on the text paper.  Various experimentation with b&w conversion settings, contrast, lightness, a few incantations, and I think I've got something that will work.  Send the book up for second printing, but I'm too impatient to wait another two weeks to verify that it worked - it only took six years to write the book - so I launch with fingers crossed that it will turn out ok: if it doesn't, I'll post an apology on fb, blog site and personal web site, requesting that the early adopters wait a month, then re-order the book once I've worked out the bugs.  I think the images turned out okay, but my email spam filter is programmed to delete hate-mail, so I could be mistaken.

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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Response: The Pirate Bay
    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III
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    Rayner Marx - Blog - Dolls as Models - Part III of III

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