David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Camera doesn't Lie...

...well, at least that's what the old saying would have us believe. As to the reality of the situation, folk will be able to judge for themselves in the New Year when my next article for Wargames Illustrated rolls of the presses. Dan Falconbridge, the WI Editor here in the UK, was here in GHQ yesterday taking photos to accompany a piece I've written about 'Imagineering' on the North West Frontier; well, about our Rhanzlistan Field Force project specifically. If you have ever wondered about the process involved from tabletop to finished magazine photo as you've scanned your monthly copy of the hobby's pre-eminent magazine I can throw some light on the process after this latest day spent posing and photographing our figures, terrain and game set up. In all Dan was busy for about four and a half hours and took 78 photos in that time! I suppose about 6 will be used in the final piece next year!{Perhaps the February or March issue, as January's is already printed now.} More may make the digital format of the magazine for those of you who subscribe that way and three have appeared in their 'raw' form on the Facebook WI site already!
Between moving stuff around, finding bits and pieces, holding the backdrops Dan carries around with him on photoshoots, and trying not to fall over the lighting supports or trip over the power cables I managed to take a few illustrative photos ~



















































Three shots of the same thing really: Dan the cameraman in action under the strong lighting he brings to the sessions; Phil acting as 'Atlas' holding up the world, or at least the backdrops {which are interesting in themselves, one being painted and the other photoshopped}; and the third showing the scene captured in that one shot. Although the two backdrops are alarmingly different where they meet, judicious editing and photoshopping of the final pictures will render that invisible in the end product I'm told.























The photoshopped background is downloaded from the web and then blurred slightly to create the illusion of depth in the distance. Where the board meets the table edge can be blurred away too to give an even greater feel of the scene stretching away into the 'distance'. In some shots the background is used upside down to provide a gentle blue backdrop too. These are my Mutineer Miniatures resin buildings with the two scratchbuilt shrines I made. The trees and vegetation are a mixture of The Last Valley, plastic palms of various sizes from Tiger Miniatures, and the ubiquitous aquarium plants from a local Garden Centre or Pet Store! It really does look much better in this photo than I thought it would before we started!





















Several scenes are set up at the same time, to make the photographer's job easier, as this is not a battle report article but a guide to how we set about the project, illustrated by photographs of the finished collection. {Finished? What am I saying?} So in the picture we have: a cavalry charge; aerial combat above the table; a Bhurpa ambush; and an encounter with two Yetis! The 'mountain range' in the back right was a £4.00 buy at the Garden Centre, reduced because it was cracked. Phil washed it with Sepia ink to tone down the in your face orange colour and dry brushed it with creamy white so that it almost matches the buildings' colour scheme.

















So many photographs are taken in a session, far more that you might imagine, and all posed specially for the effect Dan wants to create to accompany a piece. The main camera has two different lenses; for table shots and for close ups; but I was also surprised to see Dan using his mobile phone to take even closes shots of figure groups than the one in the picture above. By the time the session was deemed to be over Dan had taken 78 photos as I said at the start and I was really tired! Anyway, I hope this is of general interest to some of my visitors at any rate. As I said, keep an eye out for the finished piece and the pictures from yesterday in the New Year. Now, back to painting Dragoon Guards for the Wars of the French Revolution project...
















9 comments:

  1. It does look great! I think I need a big light like that!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher! It should be said the lights do show up the figures;warts and all in the case of mine!

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  2. Brilliant! Interesting post David. An insight to what goes on behind the scenes for making an article for WI. Look forward to seeing the article in print.

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  3. And back again. Nice summary of the days proceedings, the back drops certainly set the scene, looks like we will be needing some for new GHQ in due course.

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    1. Glad you are restored to my time frame! Back drops on the to do list! As I type GHQ2 is being painted white!

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  4. Interesting, shows just how much time and effort goes into magazine articles.

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    1. Glad you found it interesting Matt, and took the time to say so too! I've done many pieces for WI down the years and I think most readers don't appreciate how much time and effort it takes: time which you could spend painting, building or playing even! Cheers!

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