Lighting The Gadget Scientist

Today I had the pleasure of working with Mark Burton, photographer and author of The Gadget Scientist. Paul Noble & I are making a series of short videos for Mark to promote his excellent book. Keep an eye on this blog for more on this soon.

In the meantime I thought you may be interested to see how I developed the lighting for Mark's PTC (Piece To Camera) shot in Paul's studio. I chose to use Rosco Lightpads exclusively because they are quick to set up, energy efficient, daylight colour balanced and cool running so consequently do not cook the talent!

Here's the shot showing the overall set up in the studio against a white cyc paper background.

Key to lighting diagram:
1. 9 ft white cyc paper
2. 24 inch Rosco Litepad HO
3. 12 x 6 inch Rosco Litepad HO
4. 12 x 12 inch Rosco Litepad HO
5. Mark Burton aka The Gadget Scientist
6. Paul Noble on camera. I'm out of shot directing and audio recording.

As we were in the studio I ran the lights from the mains transformers rather than the optional battery packs as they give a consistent light that does not dim as the batteries run low on energy. The 24 inch Litepad was run from its' own 120/240 VAC to 12 VDC transformer, whilst the 12 x 6 and 12 x 12 inch Litepads were run from one transformer with a two-way splitter lead and extension with no noticeable loss to output.

The images below show the effect of each light individually on Mark.

My first and key light was the 24 inch Litepad to camera left. Notice how the light spills onto the background. I chose not to flag, mask or diffuse any of these lights so you can judge the individual effect of each light in relation to what it illuminates.

The second and fill/effect light was a 12 x 6 inch Litepad.

The background was lit with a 12 x 12 inch Litepad warmed up with 162 Bastard Amber.

This is the final frame, composed very much as it will appear in the final video, showing the effect of all three lights on Mark and the background.

These stills were shot with a Canon Powershot G12 - manual exposure, white balance daylight, ISO 400, f4, 1/60th second for all frames.

Interestingly, Paul filmed with a new Canon XF300 HD video camera. His settings were almost identical to those on the G12 - f4, 1/50th second +3db gain with the camera on a tripod to get a nice steady shot; we're not fans of wobbly cam technique!

For you stills photographers the Rosco Litepads are perfectly useable as I have previously demonstrated. Providing you are are prepared to work at 400 ISO and use a tripod you will get some steady shots. That being said, there will be some of you who will happily hand hold shots at slower shutter speeds and still get a decent sharp shot.

That's all folks!



  1. Those are very useful information. Lights has really a big effect when taking photos. That's why it's important that you know all kinds of angle to let the light in your favor.

    Photography Perth


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