Imagine this: A white sheet with two pieces of $1.75 metal conduit running through folds in the top and bottom hangs from the ceiling, suspended by pieces of nylon twine tied to a large nut. Loops in the twine tied in random places indicate it took more than one try to get the sheet the right height.
To the left of the sheet, a light stand points towards the center of the sheet with a large white umbrella. It stands about 7 feet high. Underneath the umbrella light, centered in front of the sheet, sits a small, black ottoman daring a passerby to take a seat.
Barely to the right, almost in front of the ottoman, stands another light. This one is covered in a giant rectangular box, black on the sides and translucent white in front. There is something ominous about the way it leans in towards the ottoman, suggesting it’s a trap poised to spring.
In front of all of this sits a low, half-moon of shelves, loaded with electronics that appear to be unrelated to the lighting set up except for one item: a laptop. On top of what appears to be a large projector, an old Macbook Pro sits with the screen facing the sheet. A cable runs from the laptop to a camera. The camera sits on a large tripod. The tripod straddles a low console that sits in front of a large sofa.
The room is large and should be spacious, but it’s run out of space. What isn’t occupied by furnishings and photography equipment seems to be covered in cables.
Two cables come from the camera, the second going to the large light with the rectangular shade. It’s as if the camera has a history of getting up and leaving and someone wanted to make doubly sure it couldn’t get away.
Along the floor, a mess of cords squiggle their way in a multitude of directions. Following one cord reveals a vacuum cleaner sitting at the ready in a shadowed corner. The rest seem to be associated with the lights, the laptop, and the collection of power strips going to the rack of electronics in the middle of the room.
A black and white dog lies on the couch taking it all in, but with insufficient curiosity to justify moving. Perhaps he knows exactly what kind of trap it is.
Then, in comes me. I sit on the ottoman, control the laptop using a bluetooth touchpad, and get up and down, up and down, adjusting the camera. I find myself getting the urge to search Amazon for a remote controlled tripod.
I learn several things during this exercise:
- Being a model is extremely boring.
- Being over exposed is like a virtual peel–your skin looks younger, but you’re left a funny color.
- Predicting shadows from 4 lights sources is challenging.
- Focusing from a touchpad is less than ideal.
- Hair is a pain; next time, I may shave my head.