I recently had to get some slow-motion footage of flowers and decided on filming them indoors, as it was cloudy, rainy and windy outside. I also felt more confident in getting better slow motion footage from the FS5 in a controlled environment. The FS5 is prone to artifacts in slow motion on the edges of objects when strong backlight is present. Certain camera movements, like an upwards pan, seems to add to the problem. We always shoot at 0dB gain (base ISO) in slow motion, to contain in-camera noise reduction, but the problem still persists. It might have something to do with the coding and high compression rate at 100Mbps. One solution is shooting RAW externally, but I didn’t have this option. The other solution is to use more controlled lighting instead of sunlight. I usually keep with 120fps, as 240fps has even more compression with twice the amount of frames.
Let’s dive in on this simple lighting setup! All BTS was shot with a Panasonic LX100.
A natural ‘environment’ had to be created indoors, for an outdoor feel. A small patch of fake grass was placed in the background to create some green space.
As for lighting, an LED flex light was used as key light and positioned behind and above the flowers. Another small LED, fitted with a warm gel, was also positioned behind and above the flower, to create a gentle kick. It can also be seen as a ‘detail’ light with the gentle edge highlights it creates. It can enhance certain features on an object to bring an image to life.
The setup resulted in quite a pleasing image on the monitor. The flower that was used in the tutorial, was in a lower position than the original flower causing too flat lighting. The higher the flower is positioned in relation to the key light, the more contrast we’ll have on the camera/negative side. A black flag could’ve also been placed on the camera side, to add shadows, but simply raising the flower created enough contrast on the shadow side.
One layer of green background won’t create much depth, so a leaf, fixed onto a small tripod with a rubber band, was positioned behind the flower to create another layer of depth.
The scene now needed to come to life a bit and this could be achieved in different ways. Natural movement could be added using a fan to mimic a gentle breeze. A bunch of tall grass could’ve been positioned in the close background, with the fan turned onto them. An ‘insect’ can fly by in the OOF BG, by attaching a small piece of wool to a fishing line and letting it swing by with a gentle spin. Some drizzling rain was needed for this particular scene though and created by means of a spray bottle.
The shutter was set at 125/s for the 120fps, instead of 240/s, creating some streaks in the water. The overall feel could be further enhanced by using camera movement, if it supports the story. Here are some images from the setup, filmed with the FS5.
A Sony 16-70mm F4 lens outfitted with macro extension tubes was used to get some good close-ups. These tubes are super light and travel everywhere with us on filming trips. They are made of plastic and not as durable, so we only use small and lightweight lenses on them. The optical quality purely depends on the lens attached to them, as the tubes themselves have no optics. An easy and affordable way to get quality macro shots!
Hope this simple setup helps a bit as it can create some beautiful images in no time!