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Roberto Bigano – How to shoot cars and big reflecting objects on location

For this first lesson I will present you two different works on Bugattis.

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©Text and Photos by Roberto Bigano

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The first one of 1991 for “Divina Bugatti”, a book for the refined italian publisher Franco Maria Ricci in 1991 using film and a second one, in 2009 at the International Bugatti Meeting in Castiglione della Pescaia, Tuscany. Here I shot in digital, using the Hasselblad H3DII-39 MS.

Bugatti Type 057S Atalante - Chassis 001 (1931) - Owner, Franz Wassmer, Switzerland - Light scheme 1. For an incredible coincidence his father was the owner of the Atalante I shot seventeen years before and presented in the first part of the lesson.Hasselblad H3DII 39MS in multi shot mode - zoom lens HC50-110 at 105 - 5 sec. f 16 - Several shots layered in Photoshop
Bugatti Type 057S Atalante – Chassis 001 (1931) – Owner, Franz Wassmer, Switzerland – Light scheme 1. For an incredible coincidence his father was the owner of the Atalante I shot seventeen years before and presented in the first part of the lesson.Hasselblad H3DII 39MS in multi shot mode – zoom lens HC50-110 at 105 – 5 sec. f 16 – Several shots layered in Photoshop

The first time I shot cars was in 1991 for an assignment from Bugatti Automobili and Franco Maria Ricci Publisher. I had to shoot twenties and thirties Bugattis for a book, “Divina Bugatti”. This book became later a milestone in automotive publishing.
The beginning was very hard, I had to shoot on location at Musée National de l’Automobile at Mulhouse, Alsace….

Read the whole story in Roberto’s personal blog.

The backstage for Divina Bugatti at Museé National del lAutomobile in Mulhouse, Alsace. Light position has been changed, not to relveal some of the photographers most personal and professional secrets.
The backstage for Divina Bugatti at Museé National del l’Automobile in Mulhouse, Alsace. Light position has been changed, not to relveal some of the photographer’s most personal and professional “secrets”.

Technique: Divina Bugatti 1991

The basic concept is very simple. A white screen, larger as possible with two-four lights, possibly fresnel spot lights placed at the bottom of the screen to model the car with higlights and give structure to the image. Two more lights, spot or flood, placed at the beginning of the screen to give a basic fill lighting and color.

In Mulhouse 1991 and Castiglione 2009, the great star was the Avenger Butterly Modular Frame; it’s one of my workhorse. I use it as an immense reflector with a special white textile also used for painted backgrounds in the film industry. Together with my spotlights, it allows me ultra-fine lighting control on location. Because it’s modular and detachable, it fits in the trunk of my car. It’s fast to set up and fold out, ready to mount on stands in a few minutes. I normally used the 20×20 feet – 6×6 mt model.

In the graphic you can see the setting of the lights. Two or four in the back of the Butterfly to give shape with the lights. Two on the first part of the butterfly like a fill light.
In the graphic you can see the setting of the lights. Two or four in the back of the Butterfly to give shape with the lights. Two on the first part of the butterfly like a fill light
This is a Bugatti Atalante. For the left picture I used only the shape lights placed on the back side of the Butterfly. We will call it, scheme 1. It produces a dramatic result, very impressive. However it s not acceptable if you must describe the car. You can see the position of the lights in the table above. For the picture on the right I added the fill lights in the front part of the Butterfly. We will call this second one, scheme 2.
This is a Bugatti Atalante. For the left picture I used only the shape lights placed on the back side of the Butterfly. We will call it, scheme 1. It produces a dramatic result, very impressive. However it s not acceptable if you must describe the car. You can see the position of the lights in the table above. For the picture on the right I added the fill lights in the front part of the Butterfly. We will call this second one, scheme 2.
Here the same Atalante, side view with scheme 1. Please notice the very fine lighting control that this system allows. Its much more noticeable if you think that this picture was taken in location, out of the comfort of a car specialized studio.
Here the same Atalante, side view with scheme 1. Please notice the very fine lighting control that this system allows. Its much more noticeable if you think that this picture was taken in location, out of the comfort of a car specialized studio.

Technique: The Bugatti Glamour 2009

The Bugatti International Meeting 2209, organized by the Bugatti Club of Italy, took place in the Tuscan region of Maremma between May 23rd and May 30th. The gathering celebrated the centennial of the Bugatti foundation and brought 120 Bugattis and their crews to Castiglione. It was the largest Bugatti Meeting ever done. A stunning professional and human experience for me.

Eighteen years later nothing better was available. So I used again the Avenger Butterfly to shoot Bugatti. Here below I will present you some pictures and their backstage

Bugatti Type 37A, Flighty (1928) - Owners, IFrederica and Simon Fitzpatrick, Guernsey - The light scheme 2, adding a dramatic direct light from back-right giving tridiensionality. Below the backstage. Notice the big screen to protect the lens from direct light
Bugatti Type 37A, Flighty (1928) – Owners, IFrederica and Simon Fitzpatrick, Guernsey – The light scheme 2, adding a dramatic direct light from back-right giving tridiensionality. Below the backstage. Notice the big screen to protect the lens from direct light.
Backstage for the picture above.
Backstage for the picture above.

Bugatti Type 40 (1926) – Bugatti Type 44 (1928)

Below, Bugatti Type 44A - Owners, Philippe and Frederique Jaillon, France- Light scheme 2. Due to difficulty of this shooting and to the color of the car I had to add different shot. In this case is important to work with an exact idea of what you will do in Photoshop after shooting.
Bugatti Type 44A – Owners, Philippe and Frederique Jaillon, France- Light scheme 2. Due to difficulty of this shooting and to the color of the car I took add different shot and combine several layers in Photoshop. In this case is important to work with an exact idea of what you will do in Photoshop after shooting. Shot Data:Hasselblad H3DII 39MS in multi shot mode – zoom lens HC50-110 at 100 – 4 sec. f 16 – Several shot layered in Photoshop.
Bugatti Type 40 (1926) - Owners Gio.Ve:Old.Cars. His set was very similar to the one of the Type 44 below
Bugatti Type 40 (1926) – Owners Gio.Ve:Old.Cars. His set was very similar to the one of the Type 44 below

View the video below

The Bugatti Glamour 2009 Backstage with Hasselblad & Manfrotto from Roberto Bigano on Vimeo.

Eighteen years later nothing better was available. So I used again the Avenger Butterfly to shoot Bugatti.
Here below my crew who mounted the Butterfly in Castiglione with all the equipment needed.

The crew and the equipment
My staff for the 2009 Sessions: Andrea Cracco, Francesco Piras, plus Pietro Bianchi, Moreno Zanardo not here.

The equipment


View a video on how we set it all up

Tripod & Heads

1 Manfrotto 475B – Photo tripod
1 Manfrotto 410 – Geared Head
1 Manfrotto 547B – Video Tripod
1 Manfrotto 701HDV – Video Head
1 Manfrotto MBAG100PN – Tripod bag
1 Manfrotto 269HDB-3U – Look out tripod-stand

Stands & lighting

3 Manfrotto 1004BAC – Black Alu Air Cushioned Stackable stand
4 Manfrotto 003 – Backlite Base
4 Manfrotto 156BLB – Black Alu Low Mini Pro Stand
4 Manfrotto 001B – Black Alu Nano Stand
1 Avenger A0010 – Steel Baby Stand
1 Manfrotto 022 G-PESO – Counterweight
1 Manfrotto 023 L-PESO – Counterweight
1 Manfrotto G200 – Sand Bag

Century Stand and light control system

2 Avenger A2016D – C-Stand 16 Detachable
1 Avenger A2022D – C-Stand 16 Detachable
3 Avenger D200 – Grip Head
2 Avenger D250 . Gag Gobo
2 Avenger D500 – 20″ Extension Grip Arm
2 Avenger D520 – 40″ Extension Grip Arm

1 Avenger I1010 – Meat Axe Flag 30×36″/75x90cm . Black Cloth

1 Avenger I1021 – Cutter 18×48″/46x120cm . Black Cloth
1 Avenger I1031 – Floppy Cutter 24×72″/60x182cm . Black Cloth

Butterfly Modular Frame System

1 Avenger Modular Frame Set – 20×20 – 6,10×6,10 mt
6 Avenger tubes 4×4, 122×122 – with balancing accessories for background
4 Avenger A3043CS – Overhead steel stand 43 with bracked wheels

Accessories

4 Manfrotto 143N – Magic Arm
9 Manfrotto 035 – Super Clamp
4 Manfrotto 386B – Nano Clamp
8 Manfrotto 271 – Panel Clamp
2 Manfrotto 171 – Mini clamp
8 Manfrotto 013 – Adapter Spigot

Third party stuff

8 Arri Junior 1000 – Fresnel Spot Light
2 Lastolite foldable panels

More contents about this matter on my blog.

See more about Bugatti International Meeting 2009

www.bigano.com

Roberto Bigano Uses Hasselblad Cameras: check his profile here on www.hasselblad.it