Some Projects ARE Funner Than Others
In my role as Ecommerce Manager, you could say I don’t get out much. Like many Lowepro employees, I am also a photographer and I love to hang around BTS to see how other photographers make their vision become a reality. When Zach, Lowepro’s Senior Creative Manager, pitched his QuadGuard shoot concept I could tell he was pretty stoked. He began to spin a narrative of smoke grenades, a night shoot, FPV racing drones, dramatic lighting and a gamer type model inspired by “The Division”. After a few minutes I had to stop him short, “Dude, you had me at smoke grenades.” My only question was “Do you think we can pull it off?”
When on-location, it is common to have a challenging environment, too many setups and not enough time. The QuadGuard shoot was just such a project. Having a portable and nimble kit that doesn’t sacrifice quality would be key to success. Because we are Lowepro, it can be said we have portability “in-the-bag”. However, high-quality, portable lighting has often been a challenge.
When the first Profoto B1’s came out we knew we had to try them. It didn’t take much testing to decide these powerful, portable lights would become our go-to lighting kit for location shoots. When the B2’s came out, we immediately added them to our kit, giving us even more options for fast & agile lighting setups.
Even if we can drive right up to a shoot, we still carry our gear in backpacks for safe transport and ease of carry from one setup location to another. The power-to-weight ratio we get out of the Profoto lights is impressive and allows us to fill one ProTactic 450 with enough lighting to handle a pretty complex shoot. In addition to our ProTactic 450s, on this shoot we also used a Hardside 400 Photo for some additional gear, props and to keep our smoke grenades separate, dry and safely stored.
As this shoot was Zach’s concept, I asked for his perspective about the setup he brought to acheive his QuadGuard shots…
SHAPING THE LIGHT WITH PROFOTO
“You know when you’ve found a piece of invaluable gear! Like a lot of photographers I’ve been frustrated by lighting systems in the past. When I spend weeks planning a shot I know exactly what I want to see in the viewfinder. Using a combination of the Profoto B1 and B2 Location Kits I know I can accomplish anything I dream up. It’s rather remarkable how well the Profoto’s let me craft light. From a soft gentle touch outdoors, to a dramatic night environment, to the everyday intricate detailed studio product shots, these light are invaluable.
My regular kit consists of three ProTactic BP450’s. One with a Canon 5D and lens set up and the other two with the Profoto B1 and B2’s. It’s about 50/50 on whether I use 2 or 4 lights. Two B1’s will light up a massive area and I usually can get almost 700+ shots per B1 battery. When I do use four lights it’s to craft those small details. The Profoto’s simply Kick Ass!”
It would be nice to say we can always have the luxury of perfect conditions for our shoot. The reality is sometimes you will end up in a pitch dark parking garage or under a bridge at high-noon. Less-than-ideal conditions are when you must rely on easily adjustable, powerful lights.
We were shooting at an actual FPV racing night so I took the opportunity to get some long exposure shots of the racing drones flying past. In addition to the light-trails from quads, I also happened to get the Profotos as they were going off.
It finally came time for the smoke. We saved these shots for the end of the night as we weren’t really sure how long the smoke would linger in the parking garage. We knew from tests that there would be a fine line between just enough visible smoke to get our effect and so much that it just turns everything muddy.
At the end of the evening, we knew we had the shots that Zach had been envisioning. There was no doubt that in addition to good planning and solid concept, the equipment we brought was essential to our success.