Cheadle CATS


The Cheadle CATS day has an introductory post earlier in this blog section.

I decided to try a system for automatically creating cut-out masks, the Hensel Freemask system. I’ve used it before for head and shoulder and product photos but not for full length. Also it is expected to be used with stationary subject matter and with the camera fixed on a tripod. Neither of these would be so today. Basically the radio trigger first sets off the lighting that is on the subject and then a second exposure is made which is just the background lighting. The Mask Integrator software, once setup, automatically takes the two exposures and creates a cut-out mask clip path mask. Background replacement can be done automatically with the software. It is a bit like Greenscreen but no colour fringing or disappearing to worry about. This is the sort of thing that I cannot try out on paid photography work so opportunities like this enable me to see how things go. Unfortunately, once at Cheadle Academy, setting up things didn’t go as quickly as usual. The result was my not being able to just take a few test shots whilst tethered to a computer to check how it was or wasn’t working. It wasn’t therefore until I got home that I was able to do a run-through of the system using the photographs. My not using a tripod was a bit of an issue, I needed to nudge the background layer into the correct place and this was different for each image. More of an issue was my not having black flags up to block any unwanted light from the background falling on the subject foreground. I had some with me but setup time and then individual repositioning based on the subject/s size was not possible in the time that we had. The biggest problem though was the floor. I ended up having to tidy this up from the processed file and this does not work as well as using the raw file. In the end the method actually took me much longer to produce the images. The upside was that the saturation and clarity in the images was better due to the subject lighting not being mixed up with the background lighting. When using a blown white background contrast and saturation loss is not unusual, particularly when the extra light from the sides is not flagged off. Oh well, we learn from our mistakes, hopefully. For me, my hope of being able to use this system for quick blown white background images at events is at an end. Upper body photographs, yes, fine, it works. Full length and it doesn’t, or at least the way I was using it.

Wendy also had a white background setup, pretty much the same as at the Camera Club session earlier in the week. Not surprisingly the intention was to get images to cut out and then use in composites,

Slightly scary clowns – Wendy Irwin

We then stayed on to take some of the performance.

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