Each month we highlight a certain item in Profoto’s rich assortment of Light Shaping Tools. We have previously covered the Umbrella XL, the HR Lantern, the Softlight Reflector, the Softbox 3×4’ RF, the ProRing 2, the Zoom Reflector, the Giant Silver, the Softbox 5’ Octa, the TeleZoom Reflector, the Cine Reflector Video Production Kit and the Narrow Beam Travel Reflector. This time we will take a closer look at the ProGlobe.
The ProGlobe looks like a light bulb and to some extent is behaves like one. In other words, the ProGlobe creates a soft, surrounding light, similar to a bare bulb or a street lamp. Some photographers use it together with a softbox to create a remarkably soft and even light spread, while others use it on its own. German photographer Bernhard Spoettel belongs to the latter category.
Bernhard got into photography when he was 14 years old and started his own business about 16 years ago. His first major client was Red Bull and since then the list has just grown. Today, he is a sought-after sports and car photographer with a distinct style and a knack for combining larger-than-life imagery with hyper realistic lighting effects.
The image in this article is good example of Bernhard’s signature style. As you might have guessed, it was shot for an Audi advert. Audi wanted to print the image on huge billboards, so Bernhard decided to shoot it with his trusty 80 megapixel medium format Mamiya Leaf leaf credo 80. To light the car, he used five ProHeads, equipped with three ProGlobes and two Zoom Reflectors.
Why did you use the ProGlobe, Bernhard?
“Because it creates such a soft and even light spread. The light reminds me of the sun on an overcast day, which is a great light when shooting cars. It really brings out the form and the shape of the car without creating any unnecessary hard shadow around its edges.
“I also like the fact that the ProGlobe floods the scene with light. This is very useful, since I prefer to light the entire car at once. Yes, I know that many car photographers light one part of the car at a time and then composite the layers in Photoshop, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But personally, I think it looks a little weird. Like bad CGI, it looks to plastic to me. I like the feel of rubber, glass and lacquer. I want my lighting to look realistic with a little bit of “plus”, and the ProGlobe is a big help in achieving that result. Secondly, flooding the scene with strobe light means that I can control the contrasts and the color temperature. Compare that with what it would have been like if I had shot it with actual sunlight and the clouds would have gone away. The clear sky would immediately have given a blue tone to my image.”
Can you think of any other situation where it might be useful to flood the scene with light?
“I know a photographer who uses the ProGlobe to shoot hotel rooms. I think he utilizes the wide spread to light up the shadows and get the feeling of daylight in the room. Also, I’ve personally used the ProGlobe to shoot group portraits. Unlike a softbox, you don’t have to carefully position the ProGlobe, which means that both you and the people you are shooting are free to move around, which is a nice thing, I believe.”
Is there anything in particular you should have in mind when working with the ProGlobe?
“Well, unlike a reflector, the ProGlobe doesn’t focus the light. On the contrary, it spreads it all over the place. This means that you need a lot of power to use it. In the case of the Audi image, I used three Pro-8 generators and two Pro-7b generators.”
Nice. Anything you would like to add?
“No, not really. Perhaps that it’s small and made of plastic, which makes it easy to travel with and the perfect tool for on-location shoots? You can even use it when it’s windy outside!”
See more of Bernhard’s images at his website.
Read more about the ProGlobe.