Shoot: Gelling Background Color


Lighting with Gels


Lesson Info

Shoot: Gelling Background Color

We're gonna use a couple V-flats, this could be anything, could be a strip bank, could be a wall you're bouncing into. Just so happens we're using this V-flat to kind of just shape the light, and make it very broad. So we're bouncing one head into a V-flat. The second one, this is our orange gel again, the second one will be, I just want more mood and attitude in my background. And I want even more falloff to the background, I even want this light to fall off more. So let's make a mistake with that first. So if I just show you, if I just do it, you don't understand that it's kind of hard, right? So yeah that looks about it. Were they both on a six? 6.6, 4.8. And I thought we had this one a little bit flatter here. Didn't it come a little bit flatter into the wall over here? Sounds about right. And this way. Let's hope so. 'Cause this was angling more towards the background, remember. Was it this one? Yep. Chris remembers, thank God, thank God. So let's start with one li...

ght at a time, and I'm gonna do something a little bit weird, and usually I start with the main light, right, but this time I'm gonna start with the background light, and getting just the background light to look the way I want it to. So can you read the light on the back wall Chris? Hold it. Ready. 2.0. Okay, cool, if I shoot that at read it now, it came up. 2.01. Okay, I'm gonna come up a little bit more. At least these pro photos, they have the control set right here, so I can tweak them a little bit. Now you're at 2.00, 2.0. Okay, it's kind of nice that I can tweak the lights without Chris having to go to it. You might be on the wrong, Oh, I'm on A? Yep, 'cause this is C? Okay, I wanna be on C? I can go up here Clay, I'm right here. Okay you got it, thank you. Yeah, I'll go up a stop. They have groups, right, so we have A, B, C, it's all on this little controller right here, I can noodle 'em around. Test? Yep. 2.8. Be great if you're working a wedding, and maybe you don't have an assistant, you can't get to your light, you want to change it. What do we got? 2.8, fly. Okay, great, cool, if I shoot this light at 2.8, just go back there for a minute Chris. If I shoot this at 2.8, it's gonna look really light, right? But if I continue to stop down, just stay there for a minute Chris, I'm not even in focus, right. If I underexpose this blue gel, this is 2.8, now I'm gonna shoot it at F4, I'm gonna underexpose it. It's gonna get more saturated, I'm gonna shoot it at 5.6. It's gonna get more saturated, I'm gonna shoot it at F8. It's gonna get more saturated, right. So you see if I underexpose it, if I just shoot my gels at what the meter says, right, they're gonna look kind of flat and pastel-y. If I want them to look more saturated, I just bracket it down, and now I'm underexposing one, two, three, like four stops. So underexposing that gel four stops, gonna give me a more saturated color. I think I'm gonna be even crazy and go five, let's go five Chris, woo, crazy. If I could just focus. Got no background light to focus, alright, so like paintings of Chris here. Right on, that color's really starting to look electric and deep, right. So just go through that bracket again, let's just repeat that Chris. Right, I know they're out of focus, but it doesn't matter, we're just looking at the color density. This is shot at meter, the first one's shot at meter. If the meter read 2.8, I shot it at 2.8. Now we start to underexpose it, one stop, now it's at F4, I'm underexposing it two stops, 5.6, underexposing it three stops, F8, underexposing four stops, that's a totally different color, right. So that's one gel, we saw it four different ways just through exposure. You have to do that experimenting with gels to start to get the colors to look the way you want to. With me, cool, alright. You want to add a main light? I do, I want to add a main light. Which will be that, this, and we'll see what happens real quick. Godfrey come on over. And it doesn't have a grid on it now, so it's really gonna spill. Okay that's great. So we have no grid on there. So we're gonna have this problem that I think a lot of people have. We'll just stand you up. Could we turn that model light on though for it Chris? Yeah, and just aim that on him. Yeah, right about there. Yeah, great, let's take a meter reading on him. Might be a little bit close, but, yeah, let's go there. You ready? Yeah. Test. 5.63. 5.63, alright, let's go, we want it to be at F11, 'cause that's where my background's looking great. One more. 16.2. What about if I went down a full number, wait. 8.5, so let's just go up a bit. 8.8. 8.8. Okay, I'll live with that. I'll live with that. So watch how quickly, gonna call that F10. Cool, just turn into that light a little bit, Godfrey. Yep, nice, let's take that hair down. Yep, like The Predator, bring it around in front of you. Yes, this is awesome. You get called The Predator a little bit? Do you get that? A few times as I ride. Yeah, you ride motorcycles or bicycles. A motorbike. Okay, right on. Perfect, alright, let's just see what happens here. What happened to my background, yo? Why did this happen? Contamination. Contamination thank you. So my beauty dish is such a broad light, spilling all over my background, and all that beautiful blue magic we worked up back there just went away, right. So that's what we gotta take a look at. So how can we deal with that? There's a couple different ways. How could we do that? From the audience, please. What's that, the grid will help us. What if, oh no, Chris that moron forgot my grid at home, what can I do? What's that? Flag it, right on, so I could bring some black flags in there, or I could use the mysterious black art of cinefoil, anybody ever use cinefoil? You use it? It's just giant black aluminum foil. Whenever I'm gonna start to noodle and mess around with my lights a little bit, I'm always gonna get my model out of there, 'cause I don't want to hit him in the head with the light, 'cause yeah. So just step out for two seconds. Thanks so much, you can just be on standby right here. Right on, so I'm gonna ask Chris to drop the light down a little bit. And you know, if you can't get this stuff, you can just get black fabric, like black fabric will work the same way, like something that's just gonna sock up the light. I'm gonna try to create a little flag around this thing. And shape it down, let's hope that works. Gonna give it a little bit, and just I'm trying to take it off that back well. Now, in a perfect world, can we just bring the house lights down just a little bit, is that possible or just on this side? Yeah. Just 'cause this is where our model lights become really important, 'cause they're gonna help us just see how their shadows are falling back there. Looks to me like it's staying right here right now, so Chris is gonna bring it up. With his strength. With his muscles, let's go up a little bit higher with it. Right on. Yeah, and it'll probably subtract, and he's taller than you, so let's go up even a little bit higher with it. And I'm just gonna wave my hand here. And see, I think I see the shadow right here Chris, where do you see it? Yeah, I see it falling right about here, so it doesn't seem to be hitting the background very much. So that's what we're keeping an eye on, right. And then it becomes like Franken-light. And you start to look like, I don't know, like a wizard, one-light wizard. It's probably not gonna be, well we're have to meter it again. Come on back Godfrey. Let's get a little card for, we got a small bounce card, yeah, 'cause it's so high up now. We card. We've got it right here behind this. Okay, that's great. Ready to read? Ready to read. Step up just a touch, yeah right about there. 8.8. 8. 8.4, and let's turn that light off for a second. So I'm just having him to turn off the background light, and I just wanna see if this light's spilling on the, just read this light, see if it's spilling on the, On the background? Yeah. Go ahead. No. No, okay cool. So we'll just look at this light by itself, make sure it's not spilling. And I think this is the practice you kind of want to get into, just seeing one light at a time. Definitely not spilling, right, completely black there. He's kind of disappearing, but we are gonna kiss him in with this guy a little bit, too so we'll be in better shape Right, just that's a game changer. Use the silver side, see what's going on there. Chris gonna bring my blue light back up. Alright, bring this guy in. Right on, walk it right in there, yeah. Head a little bit this way. Just follow me like a mirror. Yeah, great. God I need an apple box for you bro, you're so tall. Alright, like Kevin Garnett or something, right on. So now we got 'em both happening, right? Blue light's not contaminating. So I'm just trying to go over some of the problems, like maybe you tried to set up a blue gel, and it just wasn't blue, right, it's all washed out. So you gotta use that inverse square law, you gotta create some separation in the light. Now we're gonna bring a second light in. We're gonna use this orange edgy light from the backside. Think I'm gonna actually, you could stay where, yeah, you could turn a little bit straight right now. Yep, cool, I think this light needs to move out just a wee bit. Cool, maybe we'll put him back on the stool too. Yeah, I need a little half apple Chris. You got it. Maybe, I'll just put him in the stool, that'll be the great equalizer. Got him in the stool Chris, we're cool. Have a seat. This light's working now. Mmhmm. Okay, right on. Maybe we just read it, and see what it's doing. Ready. Looks like 2.82. Okay, cool, we'll start there. I can go up a bunch, right. You can, yeah, it's at 6. He needs to slide back in the chair. About to there. Yeah, and I think we might need a bigger card, but we'll try to do it with this one. Yeah, we might need a bigger card underneath. We could use that Bring your head up. silver one. Just drop it back a little bit. No, let's just do him right here, we'll just do it like this, this'll be good. Just as long as we get his head into the light. And bring your head forward, chin down, right on. So I'll make a mistake here, right. Alright, so maybe just open him up a little bit. I like a lot of overhead light, right, but it can go wrong really quick. Can we just see them side by side, maybe not crush the black so far. Yeah, great, alright. So you know, I like the overhead light, it can be real attitude-y. And we're not getting, we're getting a little bit of kiss from that orange light on the side of him, you see it there? But it's not doing enough for us, right. So we definitely want to max that thing out. Bring that light, I'm gonna bring it all the way out. So I'm going up four stops on it. And let me just see you face out towards this light now. And just bring this light, this hair away from your shoulder behind you. Yeah, great, and bring your head up. Chin down a little bit, yeah, great, see how this is gonna look. Cool, it's looking better. But where orange light's totally contaminating on our background, eh. Wow, look at that. Alright, maybe that's not what we like. Alright, how we gonna correct that Chris? Well you could move the V-flat a bit and just angle it so it doesn't fall off, or lower the power a bit too, because that's a full power, 1,000 watt stroke, so that's really gonna bounce everywhere. Yeah, let's come down two stops on it. You wanna re-angle the V-flat just a bit? Yeah, re-angle that V-flat just a bit, thank you Chris. Good, test. Oh. You feel better about it? And Chris I feel like my key light from the front is just a little bit in the wrong spot, let me fix that. It's just not positioned with enough care. But I do like how this is all shaping his body real nice, that's looking cool. You brought a little forward? Yep. Alright, I'm gonna bring it a little bit down and in. Always just give it a little wave, see what my lights are doing. Connecting with Godfrey here, what's up my man. Creative live, you and me brother, yeah. That's my Dimebag Darrell impersonation. He played for Pantera, I don't know if you know him. I've heard of him. Some heavy metal. Yes, some heavy metal stuff. Through the whole day I photograph him, he's like, yeah brother, let's do this! You know, I was like so fired up, I'm like, oh yeah, he's like my hype man. There we go. Still looks like we need some light in his eyes, huh? We could bring in a bounce card. Yeah, I think I just gotta bring this light down and in, I think it's gonna be staying off the back wall nicely now, just a little too toppy. And this is where it gets dangerous, like I could knock Godfrey in the head a little bit, so just trying not to do that. Just again, seeing that light on my back well, can you guys see that creeping around there? Watching it, tuning it, tweaking it. See like I don't think pictures just happen, right, they're kind of made and it's a little walk in the woods, getting a little bit lost, right, finding yourself somewhere new, you know. Boom, boom. Okay, that's looking great, feeling it. Felling it, yep, looks, yep. Still I'm gonna bring it down a little bit more in his face. Yep, and let me just see you look off camera that way> Yep, too far, come back a little bit, chin down. Bring that other hair outside, back behind your shoulder. Great, and bring this, mind if I, do you mind? Yeah, no. Believe in the democracy of touch brother. Great, chin up a little bit, turn towards me. Get that card in here now, too. Yeah, you got it. Silver? I think white. Silver's always so aggressive. Go silver, and I'll be like, ew. And then we'll do white. And then we'll do white. That's what I think. Right at me, good eyes Godfrey. Turn your chin a little bit to me, man. Perfect. Perfect. Alright. Yeah, I think the silver's too aggressive, let's go white. You wanna see white? Yeah. I think the silver's a little too aggressive. I do, I do, uh huh. Perfect. And let me just see, could you sit towards me? Sit a little forward on your knees. We're just gonna bring the chair back a little bit, too. I wanna work with his hair a little bit differently. Let's let it all fall down in front of your face. Okay, great, and chin down just a little bit, kind of like look at the ground there. Yep, bring that white card in. Yeah, probably right about here. Perfect, and eyes up to me. Great, nice. Great, lovely. Looking sweet, right on. Yeah, you look like a linebacker for, yeah, for some football team or something like that.

Class Description

Color has a way of making the ordinary extraordinary. In this course, Clay Patrick McBride will explore the power of gels. He’ll show how to light and create dynamic images by balancing and accentuating color.


Vitamin Dee

Great class if you're wanting to learn how to work with gels! This class will take you through the process step by step as you build your shooting playbook. I enjoyed Clay's honest and simple approach. Clay and his assistant, Chris, make a great team as they show how gels work and show you what not to do. They make learning fun!


Enjoying every minute of this class.

Doug Richardson

I found Clay's classes and teaching style worked very well for me. For example, Clay's method of first testing one light in a multiple light set-up and the adding the other lights one-by-one was great. I recommend this class for anyone working to add different lighting styles to their work.