How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

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amlbenilde New Member • Posts: 5
How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

I have recently been into studio photography for almost two years now. I gotta admit, I'm still fairly new to the game of studio photography compared to the more experienced photographers in the field. So please do forgive me if this sounds too beginner

I wanted to achieve this kind of lighting on my next portrait. It boggles me how these photographers achieve this look, considering the sharp edge of the circular light on the background - without the edges getting soft or faded. I assume they utilize a snoot or something. But it's really the sharp edges of the light that I'm a fan of.

Any suggestions? Thank you in advance! (reference photo below)

jlafferty Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
2

You need a zoom/optical spot or some way to project light and use a small piece of metal called a “gobo” between the light source and projector.

There are many cheapish options on the market these days but among the best is the Godox SA-P with a 60mm lens for large scale, and the SA-17 Bowens adapter to attach the SA-P to a full size LED like the VL150/300.

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stateit
stateit Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
1

They're called profile spots here in the UK. Ellipsoidal reflector spots (?) stateside.

From back of light to front: Reflector/lamp, shutter blades, gobo frame, focus lenses, gel holder.

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RobzLondon Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
1

Also called a Fresnel Spot or Optical Snoot. I got a cheaper one to experiment with - it doesn't give completely crisp edges, a bit of fringing, but that was OK for my application (using a gobo to give strips of light across my subject) and was a fraction of the cost of a top end one.

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tugwilson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,028
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
4

amlbenilde wrote:

I have recently been into studio photography for almost two years now. I gotta admit, I'm still fairly new to the game of studio photography compared to the more experienced photographers in the field. So please do forgive me if this sounds too beginner

I wanted to achieve this kind of lighting on my next portrait. It boggles me how these photographers achieve this look, considering the sharp edge of the circular light on the background - without the edges getting soft or faded. I assume they utilize a snoot or something. But it's really the sharp edges of the light that I'm a fan of.

Any suggestions? Thank you in advance! (reference photo below)

If you want a sharp edge to the circle of light you need a high quality projector attachment with an iris. It's reasonably easy to find one for continuous lights but getting the modifiers to work with strobes is more difficult. These things don't come cheap.

What strobes are you using?

Edited to add:

I'm beginning to think that this was, at least partially ,done on post. The light is in a perfect circle so it the source has to be directly in front of the subject. In all four photographs there is light on the subject outside of the circle, most strikingly on the hat in the top right photograph. I can't see where that light is coming from.

Phil BH Contributing Member • Posts: 887
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
2

This is not a real solution, but for occasional use, and for certain images it works. I added a spotlight effect to some wedding reception shots using a vignette. The bride and groom were happy, and I liked the effect. As I said, it won't work with every image, and it isn't a replacement for a projector, but it can be used for some shots.

Phil

Rico Tudor Contributing Member • Posts: 841
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
1

I wanted to achieve this kind of lighting on my next portrait. It boggles me how these photographers achieve this look, considering the sharp edge of the circular light on the background - without the edges getting soft or faded.

I have the standard array of modifiers to confine light. In order of increasing edge quality, these are fresnel, snoot, followspot, and projector. Fresnel lenses for studio are generally stippled to create smoother distribution but edges are nonexistent by design. The snoot has a better-defined edge but still fuzzy. The followspot, popular on live stage, has two glass elements for zooming and light distribution is excellent with sharp edges but the edges have fringing due to lack of chromatic correction. Best is the projector fixture with multi-element lens which will produce a razor-sharp edge:

Profoto MultiSpot, DP-1 attachment with 85mm lens. Above, the fixture distance and iris setting approximates sunlight for edge blur. For flat projection, the edge is perfectly defined at the focal distance. I haven't had time to actually use this gizmo.

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ScratchDisk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,775
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
2

Also see the Lightblaster;

https://spiffygear.com/light-blaster/

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OP amlbenilde New Member • Posts: 5
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

tugwilson wrote:

amlbenilde wrote:

I have recently been into studio photography for almost two years now. I gotta admit, I'm still fairly new to the game of studio photography compared to the more experienced photographers in the field. So please do forgive me if this sounds too beginner

I wanted to achieve this kind of lighting on my next portrait. It boggles me how these photographers achieve this look, considering the sharp edge of the circular light on the background - without the edges getting soft or faded. I assume they utilize a snoot or something. But it's really the sharp edges of the light that I'm a fan of.

Any suggestions? Thank you in advance! (reference photo below)

If you want a sharp edge to the circle of light you need a high quality projector attachment with an iris. It's reasonably easy to find one for continuous lights but getting the modifiers to work with strobes is more difficult. These things don't come cheap.

What strobes are you using?

Edited to add:

I'm beginning to think that this was, at least partially ,done on post. The light is in a perfect circle so it the source has to be directly in front of the subject. In all four photographs there is light on the subject outside of the circle, most strikingly on the hat in the top right photograph. I can't see where that light is coming from.

Hi thanks! I also suspected that it could've been done with post but the photo at the top-left is a screenshot of a behind the scene video from ig stories. I rent a studio with Godox dp400ii strobes. If i were to opt for a continuous light, what would be a good budget light for this setup considering the modifiers you mentioned.

tugwilson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,028
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
3

amlbenilde wrote:

Hi thanks! I also suspected that it could've been done with post but the photo at the top-left is a screenshot of a behind the scene video from ig stories. I rent a studio with Godox dp400ii strobes. If i were to opt for a continuous light, what would be a good budget light for this setup considering the modifiers you mentioned.

There are only three options I know of for a high quality projection device.

1/ The Aputure Spotlight Mounthttps://www.aputure.com/products/spotlight-mount/

2/ The Aputure Spotlight Mini-Zoom (not yet available)

3/ The Godox S30 SA-P projection attachment (which is a copy of the far more expensive Dedolight DP2 imager)

The first modifier has a Bowens mount but will not work with a DP400II because it has a lens at the rear which gives very little clearance for the tube.

The other two use the Dedolight mount (not 100% sure about the Aputure one but they would be stupid not to make it compatible). Godox make the SA-17 adapter which lets you use the S30 projector on thier Bowens mount continuous lights. They are very clear that it's not intended for strobes and I doubt it would work with the DP400II because of the clearances at the back. Here is a video review of it. You will see that it is pretty inefficient.

People in the know are dropping hints that Godox is working on a solution that allows the S30 projector to be used on strobes but I don't have any details on that.

There are lots of no name projectors with Bowns mounts which do not have rear optics and will fit on strobes. Ones like this with built in optics or like this which lets you use a camera lens. You can compare the price of these with an S30 projector. I had one of these a while ago and they are fun but the optics are dreadful compared with the S30 projector. I also had a light blaster which is an overpriced piece of junk in comparison.

If I was trying to reproduce this at the lowest cost I'd use an S30 with an SA-P projector and an SA-06 iris (it's an expensive item but it gives you very fine control over the size of the circle. Perhaps only buy it if you are having issues getting the circle size you want).

Here's a video review of the S20. There's a two part review of the Aputure projector here and here.

john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 5,011
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
2

amlbenilde wrote:

I have recently been into studio photography for almost two years now. I gotta admit, I'm still fairly new to the game of studio photography compared to the more experienced photographers in the field. So please do forgive me if this sounds too beginner

I wanted to achieve this kind of lighting on my next portrait. It boggles me how these photographers achieve this look, considering the sharp edge of the circular light on the background - without the edges getting soft or faded. I assume they utilize a snoot or something. But it's really the sharp edges of the light that I'm a fan of.

Any suggestions? Thank you in advance! (reference photo below)

Glue a white circle to a black background.

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S Castle
S Castle Senior Member • Posts: 1,146
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
1

john isaacs wrote:

Glue a white circle to a black background.

Yep I think that is exactly what was done here.

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Shane

jlafferty Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

Nope. The position changes. It has vignetting. The OP mentioned some of these are screengrabs form BTS video.

scastle wrote:

john isaacs wrote:

Glue a white circle to a black background.

Yep I think that is exactly what was done here.

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S Castle
S Castle Senior Member • Posts: 1,146
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

jlafferty wrote:

Nope. The position changes. It has vignetting. The OP mentioned some of these are screengrabs form BTS video.

scastle wrote:

john isaacs wrote:

Glue a white circle to a black background.

Yep I think that is exactly what was done here.

Yes, alright, closer examination says it's a projector of some kind, with a sharp aperture.

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Shane

tugwilson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,028
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
3

Robert Hall has just posted a video  about doing this.

Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 361
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
2

I suspect it is a post-processing job. If an optical spot was used to illuminate the subject, it would not be as sharp around the edges on the background- unless she was almost touching the background. The shadow on the background indicates that the light was coming in at an off-camera angle of about 30- degrees- that would not cast a perfectly symmetrical circle on the background.  If it was a cut-out circle adhered to the background ho do you account for the fall-off at the bottom of the frame?  The subject's legs and the cove of the cyclorama show at a different opacity. Maybe some kinda overlay?

If an optical spot was used to cause a similar effect on the background it would have to be co-axial with the subject, hidden behind her, and there would have to be sufficient depth of field to render the beam with a sharp edge.

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Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 361
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

I suspect it is a post-processing job.  If it was done with an optical spot to light and the subject AND background the circle on the background would no be concentric or perfectly round. The shadows on the background indicate that the main light is coming in at about 30-degrees0 that would cause a more elliptical pattern on the background. To get a perfect circle, the optical spot would have to be coaxial to the subject and hide behind her. If the circle was a cutout, adhered to the background, how do y'all account for the falloff of light?  You can see the subject's legs and the cove in the cyclorama at a different rate of opacity. If the spotlight was hidden behind the subject, you would need adequate depth of field to render the edges sharply- and you would need more distance between the subject and the background- the shadows indicate that she is very close to the background.  Looks like an overlay?  To get a definite circle you would need a focusable optical spotlight with a carrier to hold gobos at the proper distance from the condensers.

Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

tugwilson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,028
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
2

Ed Shapiro wrote:

I suspect it is a post-processing job. If it was done with an optical spot to light and the subject AND background the circle on the background would no be concentric or perfectly round. The shadows on the background indicate that the main light is coming in at about 30-degrees0 that would cause a more elliptical pattern on the background. To get a perfect circle, the optical spot would have to be coaxial to the subject and hide behind her.

Projection attachments like the Dedolight DP1 and the Godos SA-P have kob which lets you tilt the front of the projector to correct the distortion in cases like this.

If the circle was a cutout, adhered to the background, how do y'all account for the falloff of light? You can see the subject's legs and the cove in the cyclorama at a different rate of opacity. If the spotlight was hidden behind the subject, you would need adequate depth of field to render the edges sharply- and you would need more distance between the subject and the background- the shadows indicate that she is very close to the background. Looks like an overlay? To get a definite circle you would need a focusable optical spotlight with a carrier to hold gobos at the proper distance from the condensers.

I had similar doubts about these images but the OP says that there's a BTS video showing the shoot.

jlafferty Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect
1

I have to say it’s surprising how willfully people keep insisting this isn’t done with lighting. The light isn’t at an angle relative to the wall - the subject-shadow separation is due to camera angle. It’s also the case that you can move the light source relative to the subject to increase shadow separation from the subject, while keeping the projector front element parallel to the wall. The light has a crisp edge because they made the face of the projector parallel to the wall, and moved around that. It’s *possible* they also cleaned up the edge in post but my hunch says *not necessary*.

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Rico Tudor Contributing Member • Posts: 841
Re: How do you do that Spotlight/Light Beam effect

Projection attachments like the Dedolight DP1 and the Godos SA-P have kob which lets you tilt the front of the projector to correct the distortion in cases like this.

DP-1 cannot be tilted. A perfectly circular spotlight when hitting the b/g at an angle can be achieved with an elliptical gobo although the focal plane will not fall correctly for sharp edges all around. DOF can be increased by pulling the fixture way back but illumination efficiency will suffer the inverse-square law.

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