A few months ago we signed on to shoot an advertising campaign for NBC San Diego. The project consisted of multiple group portraits of the anchors and news teams for display on billboards, bus wraps, bus tails and giant posters hanging outside the downtown studio. We decided to shoot each subject individually and put them together in post. While this required more pre-production, it allowed us to better control the light on each subject. We figured this was a good approach, since the photo on the bus wrap is 8 ft tall.
First, we mapped out the set up and how the light from the windows (to be mimicked with strobes) and flares (to be added in post) would fall on each person if they were all standing in the room together. Next, we used heights, widths and previous headshots to map out the poses of each individual person. For this, we concentrated on creating a separate rhythm in the positioning of 3 areas: the feet, the hands and the heads (thanks to photographer Ed McDonald for the tip!).
Once this was completed, we spent a day in the newsroom pre-lighting each of the setups. We knew we were going to have 30 minutes with each subject, so we had to figure out ahead of time where to move the lights so we could do it quickly and efficiently for each new person. We also measured the heights and distances between each light and the camera. This was important because we were going to have to tear down at the end of the first day, then set up the exact same lighting scenario at the start of the second day. On the pre-light day we also shot the 4 different final backgrounds to be dropped into the shots in post.
A big thank you to the following folks:
Art Direction: Heather Bohn & Kerrie Briggs
Hair & Makeup: Doris Lew
Assistant Stylist: Ann DeNicolo
The NBC camera technicians for filming around our set for the mid-day news.
The NBC janitor for not removing our gaff tape overnight.