Four Platypod's are Better than One!
Words by Scott Bourne
Edited by Eryka Bagwell
"I worked pretty hard on this one. It took me most of a day to set up the set, think through the shot and decide where to place the lights."
If you look closely you will see FOUR – yes you read that correctly, FOUR Platypods were used to achieve this shot. There are three Platypod Ultras – There is one down in the bottom right corner of the image with a Platypod Disc – mounted to an LED light that has been gelled blue.
(BTW that light is pointed at a silver bounce card and that bounce card’s only job is to push a blue light through the open door as Batman walks in and catches the Joker playing with the PacMan machine – AGAIN!)
There’s another Ultra holding Scott's iPhone 13 Pro in a tight space where it's difficult to fit a camera.
There is a third Platypod Ultra bottom left corner of the image holding a LumeCube Panel Pro that is dialed into a blue color and again, the light is pointed out a silver bounce card to bring some more of the blue light into the scene.
The fourth Platypod is a Platypod Max and it has the Platypod Elbow – mini-super-clamp attached to it holding up the bounce card. Scott mentions that he cannot live without his Platypod Elbow. He has several and has told us that he uses them all the time.
So in addition to the four Platypods, there is a working 1:12 scale PacMan video game. Yes, it actually works. You can play the game, (mind blown!). There is also a palette of cinder blocks (1:12 scale) that he purchased on Etsy. You'll also notice that there is a faux locker room with some boxes, benches and lockers.
Scott said that if you look carefully just to the left of the PacMan machine, there is the Joker’s cane. It's all about the attention to detail with these types of shoots as it really supports the subject.
Off camera and above everything is an 18 inch commercially available LED light. It has a diffuser sock on it and it’s pointed at the ceiling above the set and dialed in to about 1/3 power. This is what Scott calls his “world light.” Relative to scale it’s as big as the sun and he uses it to provide overall ambient light to the scene.
The final image is meant to portray Batman sneaking up on the Joker after he catches the Joker engrossed in playing the video game.
"I try to have a little story in my mind as I build these sets and make these photos. The fun part is I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I am new to this type of photography so I am working with a true “beginner’s mind.” And if you asked me – am I doing it properly? I have no idea and don’t really care. Nobody is paying me for this so it’s all for fun and that is a brand new experience for me."
"I get to be creative in photography in new ways. As a wildlife photographer I control nothing. I have to wait on the animal and hope I find it in good light, in favorable winds, and close enough that I can capture a photo of it."
"In toy photography I literally start with a blank canvas and build everything myself. It’s all me – all up to me – and the only person I have to satisfy is myself. I am having the time of my life and am a little sad that I didn’t discover this type of photography sooner. There are many people who are far better at it than I am but I am practicing and learning every day. Maybe I’ll live long enough to get good at it."
When he imported the DNG file from his iPhone, he opened it in Adobe Camera Raw, made some minor adjustments and then imported the image into Photoshop. Lastly, he used the BorisFX Optics 2022 plugin and added the screen over the top of the building, did some sharpening, color grading, and re-lighting.
Scott chose to use the iPhone 13 Pro because it was the only camera that would fit into this scene. His Sony was way too big. So, he shot RAW and while he usually uses Firstlight from Filmic Pro, for this type of image, he decided to just use ProRaw on the iPhone because he wanted to test the experience of viewing the scene on my Apple Watch and then triggering the shutter from the watch. The whole thing sounds like science fiction to an old guy like me and 10 years ago, it would have been.
"It’s the best time in history to be a photographer. There’s so much great gear out there." he says.
Finally, Scott mentioned that he hopes it’s been helpful to see how he created this image, even if you don’t like it. He also hopes that it may inspire others to do something like this on their own.
P.S. If you want to see more of Scott Bourne's toy photography, visit his Flickr page – https://www.flickr.com/figphotosdotcom/
To purchase your Platypod eXtreme, Ultra, Elbow or Platyballs visit our website by clicking this link and check out the all new eXtreme Macro bundle (an amazing set of tools that will save you a bundle!).