Making a DigitalMan

Click on Image for Full-Size

Sure…with a little Photoshop and a lotta time you could probably manufacture an image like the one above, but wouldn’t it a lot more fun to pull out a $10,000 lighting gizmo and do it all in-camera?!! That’s just what we did to illustrate the idea of the flow of a digital data stream. The hyper-priced toy was the Profoto ZoomSpot

…the type of follow spot used to create stage lighting effects, but in this case it’s fitted with a 4800 w/s flash tube. All I had to do was make up a few transparencies of ‘zeroes’ and ‘ones’ to drop into the projector and then we could play around with color combinations and lighting ratios until I got the kind of dramatic image I had floating around in my head. The lighting diagram shows the setup wasn’t that complicated…

A large Chimera Super Pro and both skim lights were covered by two Full CTB gels to bathe the entire set in blue light. The background light…with a half-blue and a magenta gel…was aimed through a wooden Matthews cucoloris that created the shadows on the seamless. All that remained was to get the color and lighting ratio of the ZoomSpot just right so that the projected image popped at just the right intensity. Two full CTO gels and setting the spot about one stop brighter than all those blue lights was what we ended up with.

15 thoughts on “Making a DigitalMan

  1. Great shot, but why not just use a data projector?

    Well…I did use a digital projector as a main light source just the other day and I posted how that shoot went HERE, but the differences between a high-end strobe-based focusing fresnel like the Profoto and a continuos light projector that pixelates whatever data you pump into it are huge! If you look at this test shot I did of Bo, you can see how even in the clear areas, the digital projector doesn’t give you a continuos tone…the effect is kinda like shooting through a screen door. The control offered by the Profoto was paramount to making the shot work. BT

  2. Same effect can be home made using an old lens, or if you have an old camera that you don’t mind destroying (the horror) you can do what these guys did –

    home made cookie projector

    Yeah…I remember reading about that on David Hobby’s blog and if used the way it was shown in that DIY Blog post to throw generic shapes and shadows on a background I’m sure it is a nice toy, but quite honestly, while that rig is certainly cheaper than the Profoto, using it would be a giant pain in the ass on a shoot like my Digitalman. The main problem is that without a modeling light you would have no idea where the projected image would fall on the models face. We were making tiny little changes in the angles and where the numbers would fall and the Art Director had very specific ideas of how the shot had to look. The Profoto’s modeling light is on the same optical axis as the flash tube, so it was pretty much What You See Is What You Get…BT

  3. Forgot to mirror the one. If the guy is reading the number we should see them right to left

    ……but who said he was ‘reading’ anything?!! This way it’s a quick read…mirroring the numbers would just be confusing. BT

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