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Found 6 results

  1. The first bit of studio gear I bought was a Tristar light stand that extends to about 4m in height. I thought it was so cool. I still have that stand, but I have added about a dozen others in the 20 or so years since I bought the Tristar. I’ve also added boom stands, boom arms, backdrop stands, light modifiers, lights themselves plus a multitude of grips and other paraphernalia that gets used in studio lighting scenarios. Apart from a PVC backdrop that I sold a few years ago due to it never being used I don’t think I have sold much of the studio equipment I have bought over the years. I’m really glad I haven’t because I always knew that one day in the future I would have the space I need to put it all to good use. That day has come. So let me introduce you to the new home studio space I have recently acquired. Unlike my previous space, which was very functional, but also very cramped at 17.5m2, the new space has 50m2 in the main floor area, plus a separate room the size of an average bedroom that I am using to store all my gear that is not in use. There’s also a shower / bathroom off that room and another WC at the bottom of the stairs. Under the stairs is a storage space that is currently only housing empty boxes (and a few unpacked ones). I call it “The Boneyard”. These photos show my first layout, using some of the furniture from the 2nd lounge in my previous home, which to be honest needs to go away somewhere. I had originally intended to place my desk up against the wall where that TV is, but because of the location of the internet fibre ONT I have it right on the opposite side of the space. I need to have my router plugged in via ethernet and I didn’t want to run a massive length of that cable in this space. When I am raking in the big bucks for future jobs I will sell this old sectional and buy a nice sofa that can be put onto castors and wheeled out of the way when necessary. I might do the same with my monster 2.4m long desk, but that will require some engineering (i.e. welding) and because the desk is constantly being used it may never happen. Looking at the desk, through the doorway is the gear storage room (and my wife's WFH office). From the corner of the desk looking towards the stairs. Outside is a wonderful deck, small garden and patio. The "man cave" with old school home theatre, lots of photography books and the door to "The Boneyard" in the background. In the photos that you currently see, I have a black background portrait setup, which I used for my current avatar pic. It works really well and will be pretty good for full length shots on white once I get another white PVC backdrop. I can place a model 3m away from the backdrop and I still have another 3m before I am outside of the studio doors. I could go a few more meters back if I need to get a more compressed look with a telephoto lens. Having the ability to have a model 3m away from the rear wall means that I can use lights to bring that wall up to pure white and avoid light spill from the wall hitting the model. I can then light the model independently. For eCommerce type fashion shoots this is ideal. The shooting space as seen from the outside doorway. There is about 6m from where the camera is to the back wall. When I am shooting product now I can wheel my table into the centre of the room and light the product from just about any angle. However, truth be told, that table is actually a bit too wide and I may well shorten it by about 30-40 centimetres to make it square (1.1m x 1.1m). Fortunately this is as easy as cutting the laminate top and the aluminium poles to a shorter size. The product table is currently in the corner. One thing I haven’t done yet is attach any of my wall mount boom arms. As much as I love those things there’s a reason for this; if there is one task in this world that I absolutely detest with all my being it is drilling holes into masonry. I just can’t seem to get this right. I either find the cement between the bricks or I will find an impenetrable concrete lintel. The end result is a lot of cursing and a lot of misplaced holes in the walls. I had to use so much Polyfilla on the previous house when moving out that I am rather going to wait until I have worked in this space for at least a year before I mount anything onto the walls. I’ve actually given some thought to creating a long French cleat along the back wall and then devising some way of clamping the boom arms to them. This will let me place them in multiple places. From the corner towards the backdrop. The backdrop measures 2.5m tall and 2.75m wide. The one downside to this new space is that the ceilings are lower than in my previous place. Here I have only 2.5m where in the previous house I had a touch over 3m. I can work around it, so it isn’t the end of the world. So that’s the new space. Let me know what you think of it in the comments and what you might do in terms of layout.
  2. There's an old saying about the older you get... I forget the rest, but hopefully you'll get the gist. My little studio space has kept me amused for a very long time. The problem with me though, is that I can never remember where I put things. Even though this room is a tiny 17.5m2 it's like the Bermuda Triangle when it comes to finding stuff that I need to use for the work I do. I'll be setting up the lights and bounce cards for a job and think "Hey, I need to position this card here, so I think I will use the little clamp thingy with the arm on it. Now where is the clamp? Where is the arm?" And a search begins. I have probably spent dozens of hours staring into space trying to remember where last I used a certain thing, only to later discover that I never packed it away after the last shoot and it is still connected to a light stand hiding behind the office door. Or behind the big black backdrop that covers one side of the room. So this year I have been on a mission to organise my stuff in a way where I can never lose track of it. Some of you may recall that last year I built this gear storage cabinet out of B grade plywood and a laminated pine counter top. Building that thing was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but having it in my space now has really made working a lot better as I kind of know where everything is. Well, now I do but a few weeks ago that wasn't so much the case. I still had that kitchen shelf thing I was once so fond of holding a bunch of plastic storage containers with all manner of things in them. Two weeks ago I dragged it out of the studio and I also removed anything that was in the studio and hadn't been used in the past 2 years. Like giant rolling studio cases with light stands in them, storage bins with excess audio, computer and electrical cables, camera bags I haven't used in ages... I emptied out a couple of other cupboards in the house put the things that were in the studio into them. This has freed up so much space which has given me much more freedom to set up the shooting area differently for different jobs. This morning I did the final bit of clean up that was needed to properly rearrange the storage cabinet properly. This is what it looks like now. The middle cabinets used to have camera bags and a variety of other things, like closed tool boxes and other odds and sorts in them. Those were unceremoniously whipped out this morning and the space has been arranged around the things I actually need to use often. On the left side I keep my tools and hardware. I have a whole lot of screws and rolls of tape that get used frequently if I am building a set. I decided to make good use of the inside of the doors to hang up various items. I can't tell you how often I have gone charging around the house looking for my scissors, for instance. The right side is now purely for grips and lighting, plus the accessories I use for lighting. I am expecting more things to arrive in the next day or so, including more reflectors and a snoot for the Bowens lights that were the subject of my last AOV entry. I have two Samson MBA38 microphone boom arms hanging on the door. These are brilliant things for positioning either speed lights or those Godox ES45 LED's just about anywhere on my shooting table. I just clamp them to the surface and attach whatever I need to be on the ends using the little ballhead thingys that came with the ES45's. Those are fitted to the arms using adapters I got from a number of different online suppliers. I think the black one comes from Wish. Next to those are two Godox Bowens adapters. You can clamp a speedlight in there and attach any Bowens modifier to the front of it. Very handy things. On either side of the cabinet I have mounted broom holders that are keeping my tripods and light stands out of the way. These are all iPhone snaps I use for social media pics for my Productability brand. When the southern hemisphere summer is over I intend to get back into making videos for my various YouTube channels so be sure to look out for those.
  3. I think the only thing that has kept me relatively sane during the past 20 months of onslaught from the hopelessly corrupt media and seemingly endless stream of BS emanating from the keyboards of fringe people who somehow found their way into my periphery, has been the revitalising of my home studio / creative space. The first few months of the lockdown I couldn't do much because we had to, you know, "flatten the curve". So this meant for us here in South Africa that we weren't allowed to go outside unless for essential things like food, or if you were working, for work. There was no online ordering of anything allowed. I started watching a lot of woodworking videos on YouTube and also seeing how other creatives had organised their spaces. When the powers that be decided that life could "kind of" return to normal I began making the changes I wanted to make to my space. The first thing I did was get rid of that giant piece of perspex that was on my product photography shooting table and replaced it with a solid pine laminate top, measuring 1.3m by 1.5m. I then thought about gear storage and how to maximise the small amount of space I had. I built a cabinet to hold most of the gear I use, as well as my remaining camera bags, light stands, flags and even some tools I use on a regular basis. I also got some wall mounted light stands to hold my softboxes. These are amazing things and really make a huge difference to working in small spaces as you are not having to deal with light stand legs tripping you up. The table has a small cubby underneath it that holds my old MacBook Pro and a Presonus audio interface for the videos I made for my website design business. I clamped a monitor to the table which can be angled just about any direction and lets me see how I can frame up my shots when shooting tethered. The monitor is a very cheap Samsung, but colour and exposure isn't important because I use the Apple Thunderbolt displays on my main desk to check that (the images are immediately transferred to the desktop across the network). Last week I made the final changes to the shooting table by using what were its angled back poles for my main camera support. I cut the poles down to size, ordered a Godox Nano clamp for my Benro geared head and now I have a perfectly height adjustable "tripod" for pack shots. I also bought some really cheap curtain rods that are the exact same 35mm diameter as the aluminium poles that the table is made of and using a few of the spare joints that used to hold other poles onto the table I made a set of rugby goal posts that let me do overhead shots easily, as well as clamp lights and other things to it. Very useful. The next phase will be to build another cabinet to replace the kitchen shelving thing that holds the plastic bins I store things in. And maybe also I should start doing product work that is a bit more creative than just pack shots.
  4. From a recent studio session with (amateur) models. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
  5. armando_m

    Bond girl

    one of those shots that make you feel good , quite happy how it came out
  6. armando_m


    She was dressed up to represent this comic character: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morrigan_Aensland
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