Thursday, August 16, 2007
Red On The Set
When Epson wanted to photograph one of the world's rarest automobiles to test a new printer, they went to Stage 3 Productions in Detroit, where the staff knows how to generate maximum resolution
The next best thing to driving a $1.3-million Enzo Ferrari is photographing one. Epson America challenged us to photograph the legendary car in our studio at Stage 3 Productions and create the most detailed digital files possible. Dan Steinhardt at Epson specifically asked for a final file that was unflattened, 16-bit, Pro Photo RGB-captured to the highest resolution possible. Using a Sinarback 54HR, P2, the final size after retouching would be in the gigabytes.
We told Steinhardt that his technical requirements seemed like overkill, but he smiled and advised that a new “device” was in the works that would output colors beyond the Adobe RGB space, and the output might be wider than the 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9800 we often use for large output. Right before the shoot, we learned that the file would be used to demonstrate a new printhead technology, along with an expanded color gamut, on a 64-inch-wide printer, the new Epson Stylus Pro 11880.
Shooting In Motown
Our team was able to locate an Enzo Ferrari from a Detroit area collector who was willing to part briefly with this rare car. (In June 2007, there were only 396 in the world.) Located outside of Detroit, our facility is considered one of the world's finest car stages for still photography. It was built specifically with automotive photography in mind using the latest building processes and digital infrastructure. The 42,000-square-foot facility houses three stages, including an 8,000-square-foot concrete rooftop stage that can hold up to three vehicles.
We brought the Ferrari into our North Stage, which has an eggshell cove cyclorama in addition to a three-wall coved cyclorama on opposite sides of the 65x140x28-foot shooting area. We decided to light the car using tungsten illumination, both directly on the car and bouncing off of the walls and floor. The background was lit with a blue-gelled, 24-inch linear strobe tube that would give us a deep blue value due to its daylight balance versus the tungsten balance we'd use for capture. We positioned our custom-designed 10x40-foot lightbox for sculpting and reflections rather than as the key light. For the final captures, we decided to light different areas of the car individually and merge/blend via individual layers later in Photoshop CS3. This technique would yield colors and detail that would test the mettle of the new printer.
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