High-Speed Photography: Capturing Motion


Lesson Info

Set Up: Breaking Sh*t with Sound Triggers

You know, of all the lessons I teach, I think this is the one that kids get excited about, they kind of sit up in their seats. And it's a little bit more, it's almost like a game show at times. I feel like it's a performance more than a photo shoot. We're gonna break some stuff right now, which is, I don't know, brings out the delinquent in me. You know, blow darts, breakin' stuff, all the things we've been doing today. I try to stay like the child and never grow up. It's a cool job we have, being photographers. So this title's called breaking blankety-blank. Objectives today, we're going to discuss a little bit more on flash duration. We're gonna discuss safety concerns and best practices about smashing things. We're going to demonstrate advanced sync again with triggering technology, the sound sync we're gonna use this time. So the moment this little guy hits the ground, there will be our mechanism, our Miops trigger will be firing our flash. We'll discuss teamwork and coordination, ...

and we'll have fun breaking stuff! Right on. I really like to celebrate these guys before and after. So, you know, that's before, and after. Such curious little objects sit in the Five and Dime, and we're gonna let them out of this world today. Free them from the world of matter, you know. So we got a whole bunch of tchotchkes over there. One thing is, with most photography, you want to choose your subjects wisely, you know? So, I think we'll make it like a game show for you guys, and whoever gets the best break will get something. Me or CreativeLive will give you a mysterious prize at the end of it, right? So, you're going to look over there, you're going to see some things. Some of them will break better than others. It's not about throwing them down, but we'll treat it that way, right? I don't know, for some reason that'll be more fun, I think. And I'll treat it like Pat Sajak or something, right? So you know, just crazy how this happens, and tricky, again, but not as tricky as the laser, thank god. And sound triggers, I'm using this one, but they actually make apps for your phone. Right, you can get an app for your phone that will sync to, I don't know who makes 'em, but you can hardwire to your even speedlight, so you can investigate this thing that way. This is just some practicing I did, 'cause you know I talk about, I teach about practice. For me to come in here and be in front of a live audience, I had to go in the studio and I had to practice this a little bit before I came here. Just for my confidence, you know? So, we practice photography. This is filled with pasta, you know? And I think a couple milliseconds later, that pasta was probably all spraying out. So there's again, the element of luck here. This one's great, boom! It's funny, they even have a sense of humor in their leaving this world, right? The process, same process we did last time, but we're gonna make an entirely black room. Room's going to become black. We're going to set camera to the B mode. We're gonna use the shortest flash duration as possible, by setting the flash power to a low setting. So we're using these again on the sweet spot. I'm at six here. What are you at tap? At tap the head, Chris? Okay, six at top as well. So that's right in the middle. We said that's about one sixteen thousandth, right? One sixteen thousandth of a second. Gonna use sandbags on everything. And safety, we'll talk about that as I tour the set. We're going to make a little Plexiglass vessel, little place for all the shards so they don't shoot in your eyes, and you know, we don't get any lawsuits like that. Okay, so we'll get right into it. Just a quick tour of the set. I thought this was, working with what you have is awesome, so I had this little stage here that just seemed to be the perfect place to kinda drop our objects from. So we'll be coming from up here. I have my Plumb Bob, so we can keep the same line of trajectory coming down the set, right, and hit the same mark down there. You guys with me? Right on. Yeah, 'cause we want to keep consistency in this little experiment, so that's what's gonna happen from up here. Coming down now. Talk us through the idea of the plumb bob, and why it's there. What happens there? The plumb bob is giving us so we're all hitting the same mark in the middle of the seamless where the camera is focused and the light is set. If I come in front of that mark, if we're just up there kinda guessing front and back, where we're gonna be dropping from, nobody's gonna be hitting the same mark. So you kinda wanna just drop it a little bit in front of that plumb bob, I think that's what Chris is focused right now, right? And a little bit earlier, I drew like a little mark right down here on the set so we know exactly where they're falling. Just so we can all be consistent and hit the same place, and hopefully hold focus on our objects. So this is just a couple pieces of Plexi that we dropped around the set, they're on a hinge right here just made out of tape. C stands holding them up and in place. C stands are our friends, right? They hold my life together. And I'm just being mindful not to kick my camera, which is as low as possible. I have it on the most baby tripod in the world, right? And I'm just gonna work with this wall to protect my other bits. Using a couple really bare heads, a Magnum with no reflection in it, just turn that around for everyone to see, Chris. Sure. And I'm using this Softbox here with no diffusion it it, just silver so I'm getting as much light outta that thing as I possibly can at the shortest flash duration as I can, right? So, if I had a bunch of diffusion in there, it would subtract light, right? Which would need more power, which would get in the way of my flash duration. So, that's where it becomes a set of decisions. Chris is workin' on focus. Same thing here, the Magnum gonna really kick and throw the light and magnify the light. It's big, it's silver, it gives us probably, if I took this Magnum off, I'd probably read F8. With the light, put it on, it's gonna give me probably X16.5, it's gonna really give me 2.5 stops more light just through the Magnum, maybe 2 stops more light. So, it's a great reflector, I love that that has it. And again, silver on the inside of this Softbox, 'cause it's gonna kick and magnify our light a little bit more than white would. White would make it softer, we want hard light. We see our little tchotchke, how we lookin' on focus and light, Chris? I like the light, tight sharp. Alright Cute expression. Okay. (students laughing) Alright, so this'll be the unit again. We're gonna switch it to a different mode. It's on lightening mode right now, stop. Time out, you. (buttons clicking) Totally forgot how to use this thing, Chris. I can fix that for you. Oh, got it. I got it, thank god. Alright, so it's got a little sensitivity, which is the threshold. It's got a delay and it's got a lock, and I'm gonna put it on a four millisecond delay, 'cause I find in my little bit of research, you know? And if you guys wanna choose your millisecond as you come up here, you can make that a weird part of the process, but we could check that out. So, this is gonna go hardwired straight to my flash, so when I set it, shh. (finger snapping) (camera beeping) Right, it's gonna fire when it hears the sound. (finger snapping) (camera beeping) If I'm too crazy with that sensitivity, it'll just fire, like, right away. I find the sweet spot of the sensitivity of the threshold to be about 84. That's just my little trial and error thing here. I will throw one out, as you guys were setting up we talked earlier in the first set up about any problems that you might of had settin' this up. Did you guys run into any issues? This worked, right? This just kinda comes outta the box and works. It's not as finagley as the laser. The laser really involves some dialing in and a little bit more trial and error. The problem that we had yesterday is that, and I warn you guys, some of these tchotchkes, very thick. Right? Not gonna break, right? And there's some physics involved here where it's just, depending how we drop it, they might break a little bit differently, 'cause they're all little bit of thicknesses, right? Some are small, some are frail, some are a little bit thicker. So there's a whole bit of physics involved to this piece that we need to be, that we'll experience today, you know? And if they don't break, then we set them free, or we give them another life. We resurrect them, we won't break them. I don't know. For some reason I think they have a life. I don't know what that's about, but maybe I'm a weirdo. So this is gonna go inside the set, and we're gonna have to kind of reset this for every shot we do. (fingers snapping) (camera beeping) Alright, seems to be working, seems to be dialed in. No questions from anybody? Alright, cool. You wanna go first? Yeah, okay. Cool. So, come on up. Yeah! (Clay clapping) Jason, right? Yeah, okay. Jason, come on up. Choose your tchotchke wisely. Cupcake? You only get one choice. First one you touch. We'll give you two 'cause you're the first guy. Okay, cupcake's good? Alright, cool. So, you're gonna come right up there. Up the steps, be mindful getting up there. If you can get a close up on that-- Oh safety goggles, are they for me? He's closer. Who are they for, for him? Oh, more for him? I wanna wear some just for the weird factor, for my friends who are watching. They'll be like, oh yeah, and then Clay was wearing these goggles, he looked like a weirdo. Thanks so much. So, Chris, can we clear a little bit of this stuff out so you can get right up in there? Can you just reach your arm out, see how it feels? Alright? Oh yeah. You feel good right up there? Cool, so, couple things we'll have to check. We're definitely on freeze mode on both lights, Chris, right? Freeze on the top at six. Cool, we're gonna turn the models off. I'm gonna have to reset this before you go, so we'll just give that some thought, and we all have to coordinate and kind of be clear on the process, so we'll kinda mime it out one, switch wise, and then we'll run through it, right? And then it'll be a lot easier once you see it a couple times, you'll be with it. Alright, you're the first contestant on breaking! I wanted to say breaking shit with Clyde McBridge, your host, Clay Patrick McBride. Welcome, let's put on our goggles. Yes, they smell plasticy and great. We're definitely off, one thing we're turning off the auto focus, right? So, it's gonna search in the dark if we were on auto focus, it would be, like, looking for focus. We got focused on the mark, we're turning it off, okay? I'm going to check our time object, make sure it's working. Make sure it's set. It's definitely working every time. How you feel, Chris? Feeling good. How many seconds we gonna do? On this, I think two or three seconds. Oh, Chris has got 'em, too. How ya feel, Chris? I feel great, Clay. Great, alright. Experimenting. Two seconds. We're on ISO 100? Yes we are. F22? That's us. Alright, and you're at two seconds? I am. Let's go to three to be safe, I don't know. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, I don't know how long. Let's go to three just to be safe. You got it. You ready, JJ? Yeah. Okay, right on. Let's just see your arm in the spot, I just wanna see where you're at. Okay, so what's gonna happen is, the room's gonna go black. You can just hold it off for a second. Room's gonna go black, I'm gonna reset our thing, we'll be very quiet, right? 'Cause any sound will set this guy off. You'll throw it out, Chris will call it out how? You'll say, "Lights, quiet on set," well, you'll say, "Quiet on set," so you'll say "Lights." I'll reset, quiet on set, lights will go off, And then just listen for the shutter to open. You with that? Okay.

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



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