We can finally share part of one of our latest projects: a series of photographs for Gas Natural Fenosa, a huge Spanish energy company. GNF have a great project called Cinergía, a wordplay made from “cine” (films) and “energía” (energy) which consists on a series of short films directed by top Spanish directors and featuring some of the best Spanish actors. All these short films have a recurring theme: energy and how to use it efficiently.
For the latest edition, they decided to make four short films which could be seen separately, but when seen one after the other, they tell a longer story and conform a feature length film. These films are premiered at big Spanish film festivals, and every premiere is supported by a huge image campaign, with lots of billboards, magazine ads, internet banners etc… And for those, they needed photographs. And that’s where we came in.
Our great friend Clara Valle, who works as Branded Content Producer at El Terrat, gave us a call and asked us to deliver a proposal. And so we did. They needed portraits of every actor and director, as well as a group photograph with all of them. We told them that we’d like to create something special, something that escaped the boring promotional photographs routine. We offered to create special photographs that captured both the interesting faces of our protagonists and the essence of Gas Natural Fenosa: energy, and in this case, light.
So we developed a concept in which light was as much of a character as the people in the portrait. And they loved the idea. So we started working.
And in order to achieve that, we needed to experiment with special lighting techniques. In this experimenting phase (which had our producer Paco Ponce de León, our assistant Sara Virumbrales and myself locked up in the studio for a couple weeks, toying with different equipment) we tried everything we could imagine: really long exposures, light painting, water shining in front of the lens, gobos, special reflectors… we tried every light source available and we even created handmade modifiers using cooking grids and whatever we had at reach. We definitely wanted to create the special effects on set, avoiding modifications on postproduction.
This was a really creative phase, I loved it. Our studio was a lighting playground, with no limits to our imagination. During this time we defined the mood of each picture and explored the possibilities of the project, those days were really important for us. broncolor was a great partner during those exploration weeks, and they sent us different special heads, modifiers and reflectors from Switzerland. The variety of equipment they have is incredible… this was my first time using the Picolite head with the Projection Attachment and I completely fell in love with it. Really useful set up for small details.
So far, we can only show some of the portraits, those belonging to the short films which have already been released. I’m going to share with you three portraits today: Michelle Jenner’s, Adrian Lastra’s and Daniel Guzman’s.
For Michelle Jenner, a lovely and great actress, we decided to use projection. We tried projecting with different sources, including slides, transparencies, gobos… But we finally found that the best results came from using a regular projector attached to a laptop from where we could send any image we wanted.
Given the low light this projector gave us, we decided to shoot this photograph using continuous light. In order to light the background we used a broncolor strip with the modeling light, set low. And for her backlight, we used a 75 Octabox, far from her and again with the modeling light. Getting the right mood and the contrast ratio we wanted was key for the photograph. The balance between lights was vital.
Michelle is one of those people who are easy to photograph, and it would have been a hard task to get a bad portrait of her. We ended up really happy with her photograph.
With Adrian Lastra and Daniel Guzman we used a combination of flash lights and tungsten light. We had a long exposure. The first part of that exposure was lit with a warm filtered tungsten (probably Straw or CTO, don’t remember) overhead the character. Then, we finished the exposure with a 5600K flash from 3 different heads. The flash froze the character in the final pose, getting a sharp image of him. We sprayed some water in front of the lens to get some blurriness and we shot using a lens baby to get some more movement and blurriness… definitely, I don’t like sharpness too much.
More photographs to come!