Thursday, February 17, 2011


Expecting an "earth shattering" event, my university decided upon an earthquake theme for advertising this years largest student event - an all night party and live music show called "Student day".
I wasn't really digging the whole "earthquake" theme, and to make matters worse, I was sent this video and asked to "shoot something like this". Resisting the urge to remind them that I was a still photographer,  I started thinking of good still images that would properly convey the feeling of an earthquake.
After rounding up a few cooperative students and visiting a local construction-site dumpster, I was in business.

We set up the shoot in a free classroom. Shooting on campus was easy, since all the furniture I needed wa already there, and it came with the added bonus of making the shots feel familiar to the students who would eventually view them. Carmen and Amaliya, my two models were just perfect for the job - they weren't afraid to get a bit dirty, and gave great expressions all through the shoot.

Lighting was sweet and simple, cross-lighting shot through two white umbrellas, with the key (camera right) at 1/4 power and the fill (camera left) at 1/8 power. This setup also got enough light bouncing around the small room, that I didn't really need the extra strobe I brought to act as a background fill.

For the second scene, we needed an extra model, so we grabbed a student out of a nearby class. With Carmel already in position, I told our impromptu model "just kneel beside her, grab her shoulder, and act like your not sure what to do" - "ok, but how do I do that?" - SNAP! - perfect shot.

Again, lighting was simple - key at 1/4 power, camera left, and a fill high-up camera right also at 1/4 power.

The whole shoot went so smooth, that before I knew it, I had perfect shots of each scene. Start to finish, the whole thing took less than an hour - most of which was spent either throwing around broken blocks or cleaning up the mess we've made.

I really have to hand it to all the wonderful people that made this shoot possible - Amalya and Carmen, our anonymous male model who was gone before I got his name, and of course - my beloved Valerie, who gave invaluable styling advice and kept the models both focused and happy.


This one said...

Gee, have they pulled this since the recent events in Japan?

Boaz Arad said...

A day after the disaster, the banners were taken down. Tough I'm not sure if it was done out of sensitivity, or since that was the planned end-date for the campaign.

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