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Old 02-14-2008   #1
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Default barn doors

With the three hot lights I was so fortunate to have been given by a friend, there are some "barn doors". What does one do with these? Sorry if this is elementary, but I really don't know how to best use them. Any help would be appreciated. TIA, Bill P.

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Old 02-14-2008   #2
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Default Re: barn doors

Barn doors is an attachment that has 2 or 4 flaps. The purpose is to hold back light from falling on the subject or the background, giving it a vignetting effect.


Bottom line is that it gives you more control over your light.
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Old 02-14-2008   #3
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Default Re: barn doors

With a head and shoulders portrait, you can rotate them so that they are at the top and bottom. Use the bottom one to cut down the light thats illuminating the clothing, hands. If some is follically challenged, you can use the top barn door to cut down the light to the top of his head.

Look at the second photo on your series of "My good friend" If you used the lower barn door on that shot it could darken evverything from the chest down, bringing even more attention to the face.
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Old 02-14-2008   #4
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Default Re: barn doors

Ummm.... I will have to do some playing around and see the different effects. That is the great thing about hot lights....what you see is what you get! Thanks for your counsel "one on one" and thanks to you as well, Mike! Cheers, Bill P.
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Old 02-14-2008   #5
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Default Re: barn doors

Barndoors are also effective on still life sets, especially if the light they are mounted on is close to the subject. Barndoors act as a gobo because they go between the light source and the subject. They can control spill light and even create design elements in the shot by cutting the light and creating abrupt highlight to shadow transitions.

More effective and controllable than barndoors are flags which can be moved farther from the light and closer to the subject for an even stronger transition line between light and dark.

In this shot barndoors were used to create the darker areas on the lower right and upper left of the scene. These darker areas simulate the light fall-off from a spotlight and direct the eye to a chosen part of the image.

You don't need to use hot lights to see what lighting effects you'll get in a setup. This image was shot with studio strobes. The modeling lights in the strobes showed exactly what the lighting would look like. The light from the flash tubes created a very strong exposure with clean, accurate color and very little heat.
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Old 02-15-2008   #6
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That is a beautiful photo, Brooks. Thanks for sharing it and for using it as an example of how to effectively use barn doors. I will give it a try when I get a chance. Karma on you! Cheers, Bill P.
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Old 02-15-2008   #7
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Thanks, Bill.
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Old 02-15-2008   #8
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Default Re: barn doors

What most people do with barn doors on hot lights is burn their fingers. It is so easy to forget that this thin sheet of black metal has been sitting next to a 1000w quartz light for an hour when you just want to make a small adjustment to the angle of the barn door. When I used to work in a hot light studio I always had a leather glove for making adjustments.
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Old 02-15-2008   #9
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Default Re: barn doors

"When I used to work in a hot light studio I always had a leather glove for making adjustments"

i used to use wooden clothes pins, if they arent throwing a shadow you can leave them on or just use them to move the door then set them aside. like JohnC said, those suckers get HOT!
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Old 02-15-2008   #10
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Default Re: barn doors

Ah, thanks John and Rob.... I had not thought about how hot the barn doors may get...karma on you both! Cheers, Bill P.


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