What do I need to create stunning Light Tube Paintings?
Next to your camera on a tripod, you need some specialized Light Tube equipment to create stunning Light Tube Paintings. But let me start with what a Light Tube Painting is. Painting with light tubes is a great visual storytelling way of making pictures, with light patterns that as a visual element to highlight your model and/or you surroundings. The Light Tube gives you endless possibilities to stun your viewers and only your fantasy is your limit.
The basis for each Light Tube Painting is the LightTubePro. This high quality plexiglass tube comes in a variety of colors. Each color has its own look-and-feel and light effects. From warm to cold, from green to pink, there is always a tube that matches your perfect picture. Please take a look here in the shop to find your favorite colors.
To create an extra light effect the LightTubeMini, which you can easily connect to the LIghtTubePro with the ConnectPro, will give you endless possiblities to vary. The extra added color gives you more depth and the possibility to combine colors from the same color family or opposite colors. You can take full control.
The LightCapPro white or black gives a third dimension in your painting. The black cap blocks unwanted excess light at the end of the tube. The which cap give an incredible extra effect shown as a white line at the end of your pattern.
The lightsource for each painting is the Folomov flashlight which is a perfect fit into the LightTubePro. The waterproof militairy light never fails and has multiple beam strengths.
What is your dream-tube-package from the shop?
What is the difference between the LightTubePro and a LED light tube?
The first noticable difference between these two is that the LightTubePro needs a separate lightsource and the LED tube has build in LED lights. The most important difference is the pattern that you get. The light of the LED tube is equal over the complete tube, which give you a 'wall' of color. The LightTubePro gives a more flame effect that makes your pattern come to life. And also there is more color variety in 1 tube because of the reflective effect of the foil in the tube itself. With the LED tube you basically get the same colors, the colors that you set. But the LightTubePro give much more magic in the colors and much more character in the paintings.
And you can build up a complete color set with multiple tubes with the LightTubePro, the LED light comes in a variaty of colors but it is always a fixed set of colors. Are you looking for magic and stunning effects? Then the LightTubePro is your weapon of choice.
Go to the shop here and find your favorite.
Which effect do I get with the LightTubePro colors?
The LightTubePro comes in a variety of high quality colors to ensure you can always pick the right color for you visual storytelling. Basically there are 3 color series right now:
Rainbow series: Rainbow Silver, Rainbow Gold, Rainbow Pink, these contain an amazing number of colors depending on the angle to the camera
Solid colors: the Arctic White and Sunset Orange, for very classy effects
Nature effect colors: Northern LIght green, Ice Blue, Royal Blue and Scratchy Gold will give you effects right out of a fantasy movie
Is the LightTubePro expensive and can I make one myself (DIY)?
The construction of a Light Tube is not very difficult and you can make one yourself (DIY). Two things can be challenging: finding the right materials needed and finding the time to construct the tube. I found out that there is not 1 place to purchase are needed materials. You need a tube and foil. You need a cap and a sturdy way to connect the large and the small tube. And you need a flashlight that fits in the tube.
The production process looks simple, but faces some challenges like: how to get the foil into the tube without wrinkles and how to attach the foil so it does not come loose. It tooks me weeks to figure out and create the tools to get the foil in, with the use of a custom made stick and anti static spray. And applying enough but not too much heat to the foil ends to make a permanent attachment. Also for this a special tool is created to ensure the LightTubePro can be created in an effecient way with the highest quality.
That is why we can keep the price low for a high end product. Goal is to make an already expensive hobby not overly expensive. Also shippingcosts will be kept at a minimum. That make shopping a lot more fun here in at the Experience Shop.
Can I use every flashlight for a Light Tube Painting?
Two factors play a major role when it comes to Light Tube Paintings: the light output and the size of the flash itself. Let me explain. When making Light Tube Paintings you first need a flashlight that fits the tube. You stick the light into the tube and make sure it does not come out easily. You need to concentrate on making the light patterns and you should not worry about the flash getting loose from the tube or falling out.
And the output of the light is important because it will determine how bright you painting will turn out. If it is not bright enough the effect will not wow you and will maybe not even visible. Too bright and it will wash out all your colors. So make sure you have a flashlight with a secure fit and controlable brightness for the right effect. The Folomov fits like a glove and has multiple modes for the right brightness.
What are the ideal camera settings for Light Tube Paintings?
Although there is not a single setting which works in all circumstances, I want to give you some guidelines which help you setting up your camera. Key is balance between the painting/pattern, the ambient light in the scene and the flash/strobe on the model. In my workshops I can teach you on location how this exactly works. This is how I normally start:
We need a long exposure because you need time to create a light pattern. This means a minimum shutterspeed of 10 seconds (10"). Shorter means that you might run into trouble creating the pattern. This long exposure means that you have to create the light painting in the dark (after sunset or in a studio). To get the long shutterspeed I always start with low ISO, 100. And as a starting point aperture F11.
Start making a picture of the ambient light, of course on a sturdy tripod. Use a remote, mirror up and/or selftimer to reduce camera shake. Based on the outcome (how do you like your ambient light scene, too dark, too bright?) you can change the shutter speed (longer = more ambient light), aperture (smaller is making picture darker, larger is making picture brighter) or ISO (higher ISO is brighter picture).
If you are happy, you can start making your light pattern. As long as you keep moving you can walk through the scene without being 'recorded' in the picture. Darker clothes will help but my experience is, is that is not a necessity. Very important is that you move the LightTubePro very slow. If you move the tube to fast the light does not have enough time to 'burn into your sensor'. If your pattern is too dark, move slower or adjust your flashlight. If you are losing color in your pattern and it is too bright, then adjust your flashlight (lower light output).
Try to get a shutter speed between 15 and 20 seconds, which is my favorite setting, it gives you enough time to finish your pattern. Also count during the creation of the pattern so that you know how much time you have left. Start trying and never give up!! If I can do you, you can too!!!
What do I need next to tubes and a camera?
You will be working with shutterspeeds between 10 and 20 seconds, maybe even longer, so you need a good sturdy tripod. To eleminate camera shake, you can also use a remote controle to trigger the camera or you can use the self timer. In both cases you have build in extra time to get to your position with the Light Tube Pro.
How do I get more ambient light into my picture?
Once you created your light painting picture and you evaluate it, you might notice that the background/ambient light is too dark. You have 3 options to get more ambient light. The easiest way is to to open up your aperture. You can also set your ISO a bit higher. Or you can take a longer shutterspeed. These all three will have an effect on your ambient light.
Both the aperture and the ISO will have an effect on the tube light also. Because you open up your aperture you will 'catch' more light, also from the tube. With ISO you will amplify all light, including the tube light.
Only with the shutterspeed you will brighten up the ambient, without brighting up the tube light (assuming you make the same pattern, at the same speed, and turn of the flashlight in the tube when you are done).
Do you always make a silhouette of you model?
Most light painting patterns are created behind your model. Next to some ambient light on the background, this is normally the only light source close to your model. So it become a rimlight. That is why I almost always use a speedlight (flash) or a studio strobe on location to add extra light on my model.
This is also what I teach in my workshops. This is a great way to create a well balanced photo with the model as your subject and your painting as a visual enhancer.
I don't live in the Netherlands, can we also organize a workshop here?
If you have a group of people that want a workshop in your country, please contact me here and we will work out all the possibilities to organize a workshop in your country!!
I would love to be your coach and help you create the best pictures you have ever made!!