This is my sister’s ride – I ride the bus…

About this tutorial

I always do a car shoot with my students in the product and still life course I teach at Langara College. In this case, we decided to shoot my sister’s Cobra kit car that her husband custom made. The Cobra was a wonderful challenge to shoot – not only does the car have beautiful lines, but the body is all one piece. It’s not unusual to use the dividing in the sections of a car to aid in your lighting, but that’s not really possible with this car. The metallic paint is also a real challenge, as this kind of paint will react very differently to a variety of light qualities. We also decided not to shoot the car in a studio and opted to shoot the car in the underground parking at the college. I wanted to give myself the option of having the industrial, gritty environment in the background. In the end, I decided to only use the cement floor of the parking lot and allowed the background to fade to black. We had to shoot the car in two spots in the underground parking, as the ceiling was far too low (about 12 feet) in the parking area. So we shot the car in the exit ramp between the 1st and 2nd floors, which had a ceiling height a little closer to 20-feet. We then shot the car in the parking area again quickly with a simple 12X12 scrim above it for the sole purpose of shooting the shadow cast by the car. Topics covered in this tutorial:
  • Lighting large reflective objects.
  • Working with large scrims to sculpt specular highlights.
  • Building complex composite images.
  • Lighting for complex composites.
  • Lighting cars with metallic paint.
  • Dealing with shadows in composites.
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