Setting camera parallel to subject

Started Nov 29, 2020 | Discussions thread
D Saul
D Saul Regular Member • Posts: 387
Re: Setting camera parallel to subject

Michael Fryd wrote:

D Saul wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

I then put my camera between the laser level and the artwork I adjust the camera height and position so that the laser level's "plus" sign is on the back of the camera, just behind the center of the lens.

If I do this correctly, the camera is centered on the artwork, and perpendicular to it.

Interesting trick, but how does this method confirm the camera is parallel to the artwork? The projected crosshairs from the level would seem to only confirm the camera is in the middle of the level's projection but not necessarily parallel to the wall.

The key is to have a perpendicular line coming from the wall. In my case, the floor boards are perpendicular, and I use that as my reference.

Actually, you only need to mark two spots on the floor. The Centerline reference spot under the artwork, and a the Laser Level location, which must be on a line perpendicular to the Center Line Reference Spot.

In my studio, I have floorboards perpendicular to the wall. I use them as my reference.

When I hang the artwork, I am careful to center it left to right over the centerline.

I then adjust the height of the laser level so that it is centered up/down on the artwork.

I then position the camera so that the red plus from the laser level is centered behind the lens.

If you follow this steps, the camera will be aligned along the center projection of the laser level.

If the centerline on the floor is 90° from the wall, then you know you are parallel left to right.

We know that the laser level projects a level line, so we know the camera is not pointed up or down. Assuming the wall is actually vertical, we now know the centerline of the laser is perpendicular to the wall. As we are shooting along that line, we know the camera sensor must be parallel to the wall.

By the way, once you get everything parallel, you need to make sure your lighting is good, and your colors correct.

I have a colorchecker chart just next to the artwork. This gives me a good reference so I can get the colors right. I crop the colorchecker out for the final image. If artwork has a difference aspect ratio from your camera, there is usually somewhere to place the colorchecker.

For lighting, I use one studio strobe on each side of the artwork. The height of the strobe should match the horizontal laser line. The strobes should be about 45° out. I use 7" reflectors, and polarizing gels on the strobes. I use a polarizing filter on the lens. Rotating the polarizing filter on the lens allows me to control the amount of glare. Minimizing glare generally results in more accurate colors, higher contrast, and an overall increase in image quality.

Maybe it's just me, but this does not seem guaranteed to produce a yaw-free camera relative to the wall.

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