panorama software,virtual tour software
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2008-08-11
#1

External Flash

Wanted to check in and get your thoughts on using an external flash in the hopes of cutting work flow.

View thread on how my studio lighting can have a globe added to light the room.

I have 2 of the AB800's and will be going by the hardware store to pick up a globe and try. I will keep you up to date with the results.

Just wondered if any one else was or have used external flash for indoor panos?

This would certainly speed things up for me, instead of shooting 12 shots bracketed, shoot 4 shots run though photoshop to correct lens vignetting and stitch.

Any thoughts appreciated.
pixel
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2008-08-11
#2
I have been told to point the flash straight up to get ceiling light bounced back down to floor.    Sort of like background light fill.
/s/
Dave
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2008-08-11
#3
I shoot with flash, and manly do so because I could not get my blended stuff to look like Smooth's.

Some things to keep in mind.
That unit is too heavy to hand hold, so you will need to move your tripod and power cord every shot. As you do, the shadows will change to reflect the new position of the light. This can lead to odd effects and blending errors as the "shapes" of things change by virtue of highlight and shadow changes. Not every room will allow you to put the light were you would like. Dining rooms and bedrooms in particular will be a challenge for placing your light stand.

The inverse square law in a big issue when using a flash like this. Basically, as the distance from a point source of light doubles, the power of the light is cut in half. So if your flash is 20ft from a wall, and you are getting a reading of f8, your ceiling that is only 2.5ft above your flash will be reading f32!

Also, if you are not positioned dead center in a room, one wall will receive more light then another.

That is a big problem in tight spaces like the entry way of this home.

The only way I have found to deal with that is blending and touch up of the panos in photoshop, post blend and stitch.

I use a portable battery powered flash made by Norman, like this one.

Some others are here.

I made a defuser for my flash head, and hold it over the top of my camera to so that the lighting is consistent from shot to shot. Be prepared to reshoot if you get the flash to far forward and you can see it in the shot.

Not trying to be a kill joy, I like the way my panos look using flash, and for the cost of that you should try it.
Vince

ETA And don't forget about reflections. You will either have a light stand and flash to contended with, or you will be in the shot if you handhold the flash.



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2008-08-11
#4
Thanks Vince for all the info you posted, I really appreciate it.

Although you have kind of taken the wind out of my sail a bit. I figured there would be a little more to it. Oh well, I have the lights already and the globe won't cost me more than a couple of $ so I'll give it go and see if I have any luck.

Looks my guess was right about having the light remain in the same spot while rotating. Thanks again for the info, I'll let you know my results.

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2008-08-11
#5
Don't look at it as having the wind taken out of your sails, look at it as someone pointing out the pitfalls that wait on a new path. Now you know some of the things you will have to deal with, and can start working on solutions right away.
FWIW, I shoot 2 shots, one for the interior, and one for window detail. By using the flash I avoid having to shoot a -2 and I have less of a halo around the windows. I say try it. For less then $20.00 or so it's worth a try. I'm going look into it for my non pano shoots.
Vince
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#6
Quote: Originally posted by Vince on August-11-2008
Don't look at it as having the wind taken out of your sails, look at it as someone pointing out the pitfalls that wait on a new path. Now you know some of the things you will have to deal with, and can start working on solutions right away.
FWIW, I shoot 2 shots, one for the interior, and one for window detail. By using the flash I avoid having to shoot a -2 and I have less of a halo around the windows. I say try it. For less then $20.00 or so it's worth a try. I'm going look into it for my non pano shoots.
Vince

Wind is back in sail On your two shots are you using a meter? I am looking to add the Sekonic L-358. How are your ceilings coming out by changing the camera settings though? Or I guess that it would not matter much after merging. Just two shots instead of three.

It looked like a pretty neat idea that I thought should be shared here. I will most likely use it on non panos as well. I am going to stop by Lowes on my home and see if they offer a glass globe to avoid the melting of the heat.
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2008-08-11
#7
Want to buy my Sekonic? I judge exposure by looking at the display. Interior is normally around 1/4 at F7,8 (that's all my Coolpix will do) and second exposure is around 1/125 at f7.8. A little more or less on either depending on the size of the room, window space, how bright the day is, etc. I shot one today that is a classic "fail" for using flash. Small room, small windows, and I was much closer to one side of the room then the other. I will save an copy of the original, and then when I have it cleaned up, I'll post both.
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2008-08-12
#8
What Sekonic do you have and how much do you want for it?