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5 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs

Lesson 12 from: Lighting 201

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

5 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs

Lesson 12 from: Lighting 201

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

12. 5 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs


Class Trailer

Chapter 1 Introduction


Welcome to Lighting 201!


OCF = Anytime/Anyplace


Chapter 2 Introduction


Wired, Infrared or Radio?


“Pocket, Medium, Full Strobe?”


Our 3 Favorite Flashes “Pocket Strobes”


4 More Flashes “Pocket Strobes” Worth Looking At


Our 2 Favorite Medium Strobes


Understanding Radios Part I: Channels & Groups


Our 2 Favorite Radio Triggers


5 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs


Fantastic ND Filters at Any Price Range


Our Favorite “Sticks”


Our Favorite Ultra-Portable OCF Light Modifiers


12 Mounting and Must-Have Lighting Accessories


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Light Stand or “Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Monopod Light or “Boom Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a “Medium Boom Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Manual Flash “Big Boom Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Full Feature Flash “Big Boom Stick”


Chapter 3 Introduction


8 Steps to Perfecting Each Scene & Image When Using OCF


Over Powering the Sun - Part I


Over Powering the Sun - Part II


Slow Down! Watch the Details


More Power Without The Power


Adding to Existing Light - Part I


Bare Bulbing with Large Groups


Back Lighting to Create Interest


Getting Crazy with the “Whip Pan”


Chapter 4 Introduction


The Flash Modifier You Already Own


The Oh-So Powerful Umbrella


Large Group Shots with an Umbrella


Exposure Balancing via Lightroom


Portable Softboxes - Westcott Apollo


More Light Control, Just Grid It!


Dusk + Modified Pocket Strobes


More Power? Medium Strobes FTW!


Perfect It In-Camera. Then Photoshop


Adding to Existing Light - Part II


Adding or Enhancing Light Direction


Our Ideal Group Lighting Technique


Incorporating Flares with Flash


Cutting Light, Grids and GOBOs


Chapter 5 Introduction


Fog + Flash + Grid = Dramatic Change


BYOL! The 3-Light Setup That Only Requires One Light!


What About the Fill Light?


Backlight + GOBO + Fog = Magic


Drawing Attention via Light Shaping


Visualizing Lights & Color Shifts


Mixing Ambient + Gobo w/ Flash


Better Light Can Change Everything!


Chapter 6 Introduction


Subtle Refinement = Massive Difference


Great Light Changes Everything! Part II


Manually Triggered RCS + Shutter Drag


The Right Power for Each Scene


Dodging and Burning via Light In-Camera


Subtle Light for Natural Portraits


Light Modification & Simple Compositing


Expanding Your Photographic Vision


Lesson Info

5 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs

Five simple steps when it comes to troubleshooting radios or off camera flashes. Meaning if your off camera flash is not firing generally, it could be related, or generally it could be solved with these five simple steps. Okay, step number one I'm going to say that this is actually step number zero and it's not even on this little list right here. Why? Because it's something we talk about in lighting one one in depth, which is this when your shutter speed on your camera goes above one, two hundred of a second, you're going to have issues with radio is being able to communicate with that speed. What that means is on the camera. If this is set to like let's, say one eight thousandth of a second, okay, and I fire. If I have a radio on this at that speed of one eight thousands of a second, it cannot communicate with the radio, fire the flash and do that all quick enough for it to basically be cot in camera. This is called a sink speed issue. So if you notice that your flash doesn't appear ...

to be firing like you take a shot and it fires, but then you don't see anything in the image it is because of a sink speed problem. Okay, so what does that mean? You have two options that's why we're not going to cover this in more detail on this here because we've already covered it before you have two options one use a full feature flash that has high speed sync now that's going to sacrifice your overall flash power but it will at least allow the flash to synchronize with a higher speed shutter speed or you throw on a neutral density filter that's going to cut down the overall amount of lightness scene and now you can adjust your shutter speed down to like, say, one sixteenth of a second one one sixty of a second one, two hundred second whatever speed below one, two hundred a second you can adjust it down to that still get the same overall exposure in the scene and now you have your sink speed achieved and so far so if you notice an image that it looks like there's a band going across it like for example, if you're at one three sixty of a second one for a second, you fire and you see that the flash fired and it looks like half the image got covered in flash and half of it didn't you're basically what's happening is the shutter that curtain is opening and closing before the flash is fully fired, so it opens the flash pops right when it's midway and then it comes down that's a six speed issue okay so again if that is confusing to you at all if you want that explain in more detail reference back toa lighting one on one let's go ahead and jump into our five simple steps when it comes to troubleshooting radios I'm gonna go ahead and grab our odin I'm gonna take it off our lovely little foot right here come off almost hit myself in the face that would have been funny that's not good okay let's put that on to our camera and I'm gonna go take a pop and I'm like wait a second what's happening why is it flashing what's going on I do understand ok first things first whenever your flashes not firing the first thing to look at is the channel and the grouping meaning I need this guy to be on the same channel as this guy okay and then I need them to be on the same groups so what am I gonna do? I'm gonna look at the back of both of these and I see well I'm on channel one here and I'm on channel one here weird that's should be working what about my grouping? I go oh I'm on the group's ceo crap group c has turned off here is this set the group c yeah this is set to group see okay, well now I know the problem they're on the right channel, so they are communicating with each other. But I've told group c to stay turned off. So what do I do? I go to group c and I turn on group c. Get to it. This is where a pocket is. It is a little bit nicer because I don't have to click so many buttons to do that. And now group c is on and we get consistent fires. Okay, so check the channel and grouping let's, go to point number two. So the next step, the next most simple reason why you're off camera flash is not firing, is you're on the wrong radio mode? Okay, now every radio is gonna have probably at least two or three of the most common radio moz one is being able to transmit, one is being able to receive, and the other one is being ableto do both transmit and receive, which is known as transceiver. Okay, so those three are the most common radio modes that pretty much every radio operate device is going to be able to do so. What I need to do is make sure that, for example, on my pockets right now, this is set to t x r x, which you can see right there as well, which means transmit and receive or transceiver if I press mode, it goes to tx on lee. So this is trans evil me? Now, if I want this to actually receive it doesn't do it. Okay, so if I have this set to you know, if I have this on my off camera flash and I need to receive a signal and to fire that flash it's set to transmit only right now. So it's not going to receive a signal if I set this to our exit by pressing mode again, it goes to our ex. And now it's going on ly receive a signal. So if I have this on my camera now, I need to transmit a signal now, it's not going to do that. So the safest setting is basically tx rx. Transmit and receive. Okay, this also has other modes again. This is where every radio's going to defer. Okay, so we have agents are we also have our p which is really a point. If you want to extend the distance of the possible range. Basically on this. So this has five total modes. Want to make sure that the mod that we are operating it is the correct mode again. Every radio system has the same type of functionality that's why we don't need to walk through every single one of these, because once you just understand the different layout options and the different menu buttons and where everything is, you can do the exact same thing on any device. So in looking at a photo techs odin always to know is, how do we need to? How do we get to the mod or to the menu where we control those functions? Well, from the previous video, I explain that basically you hold down this m s button, and then it takes you into the mode where at this point we can choose to be an odin transmitter and odin receiver, we can make it a master a slave. We could do any of those things, so if I wanted to receive from my odin or from another metros, sorry, this is the odin from another me chose I would set this to odin receive if this is set on odin transmit that's, the modi would use when it's on my camera so I would transmit toe other odin receivers. That makes sense. So hopefully, I don't know, I'm waiting for you guys to respond to that, but no, I'd like to ask questions, even if they're rhetorical ones alright so make sure that your radio mode is set correctly transmit, receive or transceiver those air your three most basic modes that really most any radio's gonna have now the next thing number three is a faulty cord or connection. Now what that means is that you might have a bad cable but more likely you might just not have that cable seated correctly so it might not be quite seated in now these guys I absolutely despise these guys. This is the p c synch okay, so you can see on this side of has that piece easing port right here. This is like twenty thirty year old sync technology and it is absolutely horrendous for that exact issue forgetting it seated properly so I'd highly recommend getting a cable that has this little scar on here this little school I could actually screw it into the pc think port and that way it'll lock in place and it'll be much more secure and you'll get less misfires with this so usually they don't come with these locking pc saying cables yet to buy these separate this goes to a three point five millimeter stereo on the other side now by far the best connection if you have the choice like, for example, if your flash has both a three point five millimeter and a p c synch by all means use the three point five millimeters slot that's the standard slot on apocalypse erred and also they have it like on a loop royalty this port this connection is much, much more consistent, much more reliable, much more effective. It's just better overall. So if you have that option, the three point five million a option is by far better if you're using for some strange and misfortunate reason you have the, uh, v b or not, you are not to be that the vivid tar to eighty five each of these those used these guys, which is a three point five millimeter on the pock wizard side to this sharp and pointy needle thing on the other side, I've never had any issues, actually, with this having a bad connection and the connection always works. The only thing is it's a pain the butt plug in and to take out, but it actually works fairly well. Sometimes the cables can go bad and that's another reason why? Maybe your flashes and firing and the best way if you guys could guess the best way to basically figure out what the problem is is to simply narrow down, right? You just kind of narrow down by testing out different things, so if I think it's something wrong with the cable, I'll just take the cable and test it with the same pocket wizard with a different flash and if I think it's the pocket wizard, I think is the radio, I'll test a different radio and so forth, so we just kind of narrowed down to figure out what is the common denominator that's causing all the problems. So that's number three, number four is low batteries. Yes, indeedy low batteries can actually cause issues when it comes to relaying radio information so it can prevent radio information being sent for the full range because it's, a low signal is being sent out or low sing was being received, and it could also do other frumpy things. So just make sure that you check your batteries now the to recharge your batteries that we most highly recommend on. We've done a lot of extensive battery testing. What you guys can see on s r lounge. The two ones that we love the most is the standard, any loop and the any loop xx. Now these guys are quite a bit more expensive, and they're marginally better, so I would say for the budget, thes air the really the best value, but they're fantastic batteries. Okay, so just make sure that if you're having issues also check your batteries number five is distance flash interference, slash water, what does that mean? Well, most easy understand his distance right if we've exceeded the range for you noemie chose plus the range is going to be a few hundred feet okay it's not going to have the same kind of range as a pop quizzes plus three same thing with the can in the kind of six hundred ex artie they don't have as powerful of radios built into them as, say, a pop quiz so you're not going to get the same range of fifteen hundred feet off of this guy the rain is still good though and it's great for most purposes but that's the first reason you might be exceeding are pushing the boundaries of that range limit number two interference what does that mean if we're working within structures that have a lot of steel, they have a lot of beams they have a lot of things that are coming between you and that receiving side that can actually reduce your overall range it will actually reduce the overall range so when they test the range on a pock wizard is being fifty hundred feet that's an ideal circumstances what's ideal that's like being in the middle of a field where there's basically nothing between you and the receiving side so just know that if there is a lot of stuff between you yes, you don't require line of sight but still the more stuff in between you and the receiving side the more it's gonna have a potential to interfere with that transmission now that brings me up the last thing which is water water is actually just a natural interfering element when it comes to radio with radio waves water is the first thing that's going to basically cut off a radio signal that's why underwater they don't use radio they use sonar okay they use sound because sound travels better underwater versus radio waves so if you're working near a body of water that doesn't mean that it has to be anything big like I've for example I have taken shots you know where basically I have someone on the other side of the pool and I'm sitting at one side of the pool there at the other side of the pool there's may be only twenty feet of distance between us but I'm shooting low and close to the water and there standing at the water's edge and that twenty feet of water right there is enough distance to interfere with the pocket wizard so what you do in that situation well, you try if possible to get a little bit further away from the water so if I could if I had a cable I would basically plug in my pocket with the rather than running the pocket wizard to the hot shoe what I would do is plug it in b a this little pc sink let's grab this guy no that's the wrong guy let's, grab this guy. Ok, so I grab this guy, put him into the p c synch port, okay? And then I would plug it into my pocket with her, and rather than firing with this on my hot shoe, I would lift it up. So if I'm close to the water, I'm going to shoot low while holding the pock wizard up in the air. So that way the pock, whether it is further away from the water and the likelihood of getting a signal across to the other one is going to be far better. So that's how it kind of deal with water, but just know that if you're in this situation where we're shooting across the vast ocean even though there's probably not fifty hundred feet there, there is no chance your pocket is it is going to fire. One other thing to know about water is guess what? Our bodies are made up of fifty to sixty percent water at any point in time, okay, some people have a little less than we will have a little bit more I don't know don't kill me on that number, okay, but either way, wh what that means is with and this is where, you know, people always say like, oh, my, you'll know radio system works perfectly fine it works absolutely find in every situation, the thing is that when we're at weddings, what do we have if we set up a flash on each side of the room and we're shooting in the middle of the room and there's four hundred people there and there's one hundred people on the dance floor, guess what we have between us, us and each of those receiving points, we have one hundred people and guess what they're made of, mostly water, right? So that water that those people are going to act as interfering subjects and that's why in those situations, we say that we have consistency, consistency and reliability issues that we don't have unlike, say, a pocket was that we don't have that issue with the foe tex metro's, because the radios are strong enough to get through that interference, so those were kind of the extreme situations that we say that we run into consistency and reliability issues. It doesn't mean that if you're shooting more simple stuff and game of chutes and you're out on other stuff, you're doing things in the studio. Yes, they could totally work just fine, but in certain situations they may not. So just remember that if there's, you know, tons of people operating between you and those receiving side of the radio. That is water and that's going to act as interference as well. So you need to have a higher power radio like apocalypse or a better unit, like the metros plus. And in situations where it still isn't working, you need to get that radio up higher into the air. Ok, so they can transmit and receive a little bit easier. So these are the most five common kind of reasons why your off camera flash might not be firing correctly. And this is how to trouble shoot them. To make sure that on any shoot you can get your flash is working properly and consistently. Hopefully enjoy this video. I'll see you on the next one.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting 201 Slides

Ratings and Reviews


Pye is a god. His teaching style is really engaging, breaking down everything you could want to know about each example in a fun yet detailed manner. The course is absolutely jam-packed full of great information and fantastic inspiration. This course, as well as Lighting 101, give not only a perfect foundation for anybody learning about flash from scratch, but also have more than enough tips and advanced techniques in them to help experienced flash users seriously up their game. Cannot recommend it enough.

Lê Tiến Đạt

I'd like to say thank you to SLR Lougne, Creativelive and especially Pye for creating this wonderful Lighting series. Pye has a great sense of humor and he is also a great teacher. He expains everything in tiny details. I love his creativity, all the tips and dedication. Recommended!

Karen Ruet

I'm watching this live and am seriously considering buying this course. I really like the examples and all the information. Pye is super generous and easy to listen to. I also appreciate the talk about gear and am happy that Pye is giving us options for different price ranges. Thank you, Creative Live.

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