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13 April 2012



First off, thanks to David for sneding almost 5,000 sets of eyeballs over to my blog today. And now a few comments...While it's certainly true that there are lots of others ways to do a picture like this without using the Profoto ZoomSpot, the simple fact is that there is no other strobe-based focusing projector fresnel spot as good! Over the years, I have used the Speedotron, Norman and Broncolor projector spots and none of them has the even illumination, sharpness, clarity or light output of the Profoto. Surprisingly, even the Broncolor...not exactly cheap by any means...suffers from having a definite hot spot in the middle of the image field. The Profoto puts out an even exposure across the image area and it had very little color fringing in the fine details.I've done similar photos using both regular and digital projectors, most recently just a couple of weeks ago, as I wrote about , but using a projector has it's own set of problems. A regular carousel doesn't exactly put out a lot of light, so if you're shooting large format as I did with the Digitalman and don't have the ability to crank up the ISO like you can on your Canon or NIkon, shooting using long shutter speeds is not gonna work. And digital projectors pixelate all data and you get an effect that looks like you shot through a screen door...look closely at the skin and the white column in this test of Bo......you can really see the grid patter/screen door effect. For a lot of what we did that day, the pixelation wasn't too much of an issue, but as soon as the light was focused on the subjects face, it looked a little weird. Trying to recreate the Digitalman image using a digital projector wold be impossible.As for converting an unused camera into a projector, I remember reading about that DIY project when David originally posted about it and thought it might make a fun toy to use to throw up shapes and graphic elements onto a background, but it would be extremely difficult to use that rig on a shoot like the Digitalman and expect to have anywhere the near the level of control you get from the Profoto spot. The simple fact is, when you have an Art Director looking over your shoulder on an advertising shoot, paying the rental for the Profoto not only makes sense, it's just necessary. Because the Profoto's modeling light is on the same optical axis as the flash tube, I could have my assistants move the light around and whenever the A/D liked what he was seeing we would pop off a few frames. And by the way, while it's true the Profoto is CRAZY expensive, I don't know anybody who would actually buy one. But that's why having a few well-stocked rental houses is always a plus...the rental price is well worth what this thing can do!

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