Skip to main content

High-Speed Photography: Capturing Motion

Lesson 3 of 15

Set Tour & Lighting Set Up

Clay Patrick McBride

High-Speed Photography: Capturing Motion

Clay Patrick McBride

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

3. Set Tour & Lighting Set Up

Lesson Info

Set Tour & Lighting Set Up

So a big part of this whole process is safety, right? We're gonna have some water and we have some electricity. These things are dangerous together. So what do we have? We have a little kiddie pool. This is gonna be the container for our water when our balloons pops, and this is really engineered super well. We have a place, a container for when the balloons are gonna pop, and they're gonna pop up, out, and into this pool. I'm also just gonna be a little mindful and maybe wrap some heads carefully, in case there's any splash. I just like to be really cautious here. Even this cord where the extension cord connects, I'll probably move this just about as far away as possible. So I have a piece of black plexi in there, which can look a lot better when photographed than it does not photographed. So, you'll see the difference there. I have a white piece of plexi for my background, a couple apple boxes in there, just kind of holding the whole thing together. And we're gonna look at a couple o...

f different situations. One where we're back lit, two where we're front lit. So, I have a front light, which is a magnum reflector with a grid on it, so it's just a giant grid spot situation. Here is my MIOPS trigger, which we'll get into in a few minutes. I'm gonna run a laser across the set. Could you get that ball head thing there with the laser on it? And we need some gaffers tape here on standby. I don't know if we have that close by. And this is just a laser pointer. This unit here will work with any laser pointer, so this will run across the set, you'll see this in a second, and when this line is tripped, it will fire our flash. Crazy, right? I don't know. This probably, in my little photo career, one of the harder things I've had to learn, you know what I mean, and I don't know, when I do it, I always feel like I've climbed some giant photo mountain, and I get to the top, and I'm like, yes! So, back lit here. C stands can do so much. So my C stand's engineered over here, I've got one holding my plexi down, I got a shortsy stand here, getting even shorter with the arm. I think there's a lot to understand about grip, you know? Grip is like it's own little ... Even when I look at what these guys are doing with grip around this room, I'm like, "Oh, look how they staged that light." I always study that sort of stuff because there's a sort of rubix cube quality to grip and problem solving with how you're gonna stage stuff. So Chris is running our laser across the set right now. We're not gonna start off with that, we're just gonna talk in simple, general way about photographing translucent materials, 'cause I teach that stuff and kids are always messing it up. And I'm like, don't you know, when you shoot something? You work for bars and stuff like that. You've gotta do drinks, you've gotta do the night life. If you want the drinks to look like they came out of mother nature's bosom or something. Like they're just honey from the goddesses. Is that plexi semi-transparent, and the light will shoot through it? Yeah, the light will shoot through this, and it'll act like ... So, it is. It's not clear, right? Don't get clear. It's opaque, and this one's pretty white. Sometimes they come somewhere in between this white one. It looks a little bit more see through. But this will work, it's gonna work for us today. And before we get started shooting, we're just about there, you and Chris had some challenges last night doing this setup. Can you talk you us through what troubleshooting you did working through those challenges, and what they were, please. Yeah, remind me, Chris. I'm choosing to forget all about them and have the best day of my life today. Sure, so working with the radio trigger system, or rather with the laser trigger system, we had to work with how sensitive it was to an actual triggering, whether that be the sound or cutting off the laser. Threshold, you can set the threshold on this thing. And from there we also had to pick the millisecond delay of figuring out, after it's been tripped, at what point does it actually fire the flash. A millionth of a second. Once the thing hits it, which millionth of a second, Chris, are we gonna choose? I think we settled on four. Four millionths of a second. What is that? Yeah, it was unbelievable. What else did we have problems with? We ran through a bit of that, Clay, at some points, had difficulty sending out a blow dart through a small Starbucks straw. Yeah, we had to problem solve the right straw. Fatter straws, Starbucks, work better than thin straws, from maybe the Seven-Eleven. Just saying. And then beyond that, sometimes as the debris flies everywhere, not everywhere, you guys are safe there, when the balloon actually pops, sometimes it can trigger the flash twice, which then results in a really overexposed image, as opposed to what we're looking for, which is the images that you've been showing on the slide show. Double fire can be a problem. This one, as much as I love this gizmo, it doesn't time out. When it fires, it should time out for a few minutes, and the reset itself. It doesn't time out, so it will fire, fire, fire. That's a little bit of a design flaw that I'm gonna let them know about, but other than that, it's been a great device, and we couldn't do this thing without it.

Class Description

The ability to freeze a moment of time can show power, emotion and detail. Learn how to utilize high speed flash duration to create powerful images in a fraction of a second. Through a variety of examples, Clay Patrick McBride will have you experimenting with your photography in a new way. He’ll explain:

  • High Speed Syncing techniques
  • T1 and T2 Flash Duration
  • How to capture the tiniest of details like water droplets or dust
  • Different trigger techniques depending on your unique setup



I enjoyed Clay's workshop, he is very methodical, and had clear simple explanations for the various shoots. I am excited to experiment with different lighting because he made it seem easy. As he mentioned "start small and make it bigger, bigger, bigger. Thanks!

joanne duncan

I agree with Alison, i think this could have been so much better. Too much tampering around on set, i like the small talk and the model talks, love his presence, very charismic, the only thing that kept me watching although i did fast forward some bits. just too slow and not much info.


Watched it live, I thought it had lots of great info. Hoping to buy it soon.