Decided to make a little walk-through to show how I shoot the "sound-activated" paint drop shots. Figured maybe someone would want to try it out...
Setup for the paint drop shots is simple, all you really need is a speaker with a flat face, some plastic, and a flash. Well, of course you need your camera, and some paint, but the general idea is pretty simple, and it’s easy to accomplish with stuff that’s probably laying around the house.
Here’s a shot of the setup...
First things first, you need a speaker, and you need some sound. The speaker has to at least have the ability to produce bass, so a subwoofer is preferred. The reason for this is because that’s where you get the paint “jumping” from, the lows in the music. I use a subwoofer from an old Creative Labs 5.1 surround system for computers. It has a flat face, so it makes it easy to get a flat platform for the paint. Basically pick your speaker, and cover the face with plastic. Any plastic will work, use a Ziploc bag, plastic window coverings, whatever. I’m using plastic from window coverings, you know, the kind that you put on your windows in the winter, and I just double-sided tape it to the speaker.
Put your camera on a tripod and set the lens to manual focus. Put something on top of the speaker where you’re going to place the paint and focus on that. Camera settings are personal preference but use full Manual control, mine are usually 1/250 exposure, and around f/8 to get a good field of focus. ISO settings are determined by how your flash power settings are, I’m usually between ISO200-ISO800, and the flash is set to 1/64-1/128 power. Main reasons for lower flash power is one you don’t need full power, and two it gives you much faster cycle rates, so you can shoot more shots in a row before the flash has to charge up. You also want to snoot the flash so the light is directed towards the paint, you won’t want any light spill-over onto your background.
Set the camera to burst mode, and using a remote shutter is preference, sometimes I use it but most of the time I don’t. The speaker I use has a volume control so I can stand next to the camera and shoot while adjusting the volume, and music is provided via my Zune mp3 player. If you use a simple speaker setup you probably won’t get enough volume out of the typical mp3 player like an iPod, Zune, etc.. You want to try and use a speaker that has it’s own volume control so you can jack it up high enough to get the paint to “jump” how you want it to.
That seems to be about it. It’s a simple thing to do, easy to setup, easy to shoot. As long as you have a speaker with a flat face, good “bumpy” music, and a flash you’re all set. You can light the setup with regular lamps, but you want the light to be intense enough to keep shutter speeds around 1/200-1/250 or you’ll start to get “fireworks” effects; where the paint starts to get blurry streams to it. Which, to be honest, is a cool effect, but I still prefer to use flash when shooting the slower shutter speeds so the paint get lit the way I want.
Editing to add "final results" shots... [IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katodog/6534072715/]
December 16 005 by Ed Durbin (Katodog), on Flickr [IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katodog/5475066937/]
Water 288 by Ed Durbin (Katodog), on Flickr [IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katodog/5333951031/]
Water 237 by Ed Durbin (Katodog), on Flickr [IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katodog/5475666264/]
Water 297 by Ed Durbin (Katodog), on Flickr