I’ve worked with a lot of dancers onstage, and musicians, even the occasional rock star. So, when we were casting for talent for this shot, I thought, well, how about a barbershop quartet? Four awesome, affable gentlemen. Onstage, at the famed Oakland Paramount Theater. The four of them sang in remarkable unison and harmony. And the 19 flashes used in this picture followed suit.
It being a Nikon project, dedicated to announcing the presence of the new SB-5000 radio controlled TTL Speedlights, we lit the whole darn theater with small flash. Back end done radio style, SB-5000, up front around the camera were standard issue, long standing, SB-910 units. The point of all this was to show how the older tech, still valid, line of sight stuff, plays nicely with the newfangled kid in town, the radio 5000. We put it all down in a video, here.
And I put it down in a sketch, here.
So, let’s follow the bouncing ball. The key is the compatibility of the line of sight commander, operating via SC-29 cords and hot shoed to the camera, and the radio directives the camera is pumping out to the far away flashes. Beautiful thing about the new system? You’ve got six zones. I used to occasionally get frustrated with being limited to three. Now, it’s kind of hog heaven, and necessary, especially when confronted with a sizable theater. It’s an art deco marvel with gilded walls and it fairly drips with classic architectural panache. Why shoot there and not really be able to see it, front to back?
The only light shaper in the whole damn picture is the Lastolite Four in One umbrella, used shoot thru style. Everything else is a raw flash, either bounced for fill, or directed, raw, towards walls and other dead zones in the theater. All the background lights had gels, mostly warming, but three had deep theatrical blue. If you kind of bounce back and forth between the pic and the sketch, it’s pretty evident what each light is doing.
It was fun, but of course I have a very stretchable definition of fun. Took most of the day, but our quartet of gentlemen were terrific to work with, and made it easy. Here’s another frame.
Old school Speedlights meet new school Speedlights, and the marriage worked out well. With this kind of technical range, there are amazing possibilities out there for small flash. Just getting started….