Sooo many people!!

Oxford Street annoys me.. there are so many people going in the opposite direction to me. Why not just have West going people on the north side and east going people on the south!!Anyway, soooo many people got me thinking a while back about a multiple shot with as many duplicates as possible. I was offered the use of an auditorium and a group of ready made people to pose for me. Luckily the auditorium was equipped to cover the available windows with blinds and I asked for the house lights to be fully raised to allow as much light in as possible.

I set up the camera and discovered that my 18-55 would not cover the entire 255 seats. Finding the center of the stage I set the camera at 18mm and angled the lens towards the right hand side of the seats. After composing the shot I focused somewhere in the middle of the seats and turned off the auto focus. I also turned off the image stabilisation as the camera was sitting on my tripod.

I then selected the option to lock the mirror in place as I didn't want the camera to move around from each shot. Reaching into my Slingshot I pulled out my remote switch. I was not going to be in the shot and I was not sure how far my infrared remote would fire from so I decided to stay put and take the shots locally.

With the camera ready I instructed the groups of male models to sit in the first seats and wait for the shutter. So off we went, the male models moved around after each shot. There atmosphere got a bit chaotic at the back with arm waving and such forth. With the right hand bank of seats completed  I carefully positioned the camera to cover the left bank of seats, pausing to take a couple of shots of the center access stairs. We then continued to take shots for the left hand side.

In all there were 41 shots taken. I wrapped up the session and cleared all my gear away from the stage, thanked the male models and headed home. Once home and all shots loaded into Lightroom 5 I arranged the shots from front to back. I made a note to do this to allow better masking in Photoshop.

I loaded the first 20 shots of the right hand set of seats into Photoshop as a stack of layers. I switched off all the layers apart from the bottom two and added a mask to the second layer. Setting the mask to black immediately blanked out the second layer from the first allowing me to switch to white and paint back the positions of the male models. Once the first two layers were done I merged them together into one layer, then repeated the process another 19 times. The same process was completed for the left hand side.

I now had two shots, left and right of seats full of chaotic male models waving and grimacing. Photoshops panoramic stitching would not put them together easily. In fact it did it damn well stupidly. It resulted in a scene resembling the Philadelphia Experiment, parts of bodies were blended into each other and in some cases into the seats themselves. Adding the shots of the center access stairs helped but only for each shot. It did not help for stitching together.

In the end I  put both the left and right shots together side by side  and used the Perspective tool to drag the right hand side of the left photo and the left hand side of the right photos backwards until the horizontal lines of the back of the auditorium lined up with each other. I could then apply the stairs shot to the center of both of them and stitch together.

There were some slight issues on the right hand side where the angle stretches away but by that time I'd had enough and wanted to finish up. I was also out of beer...

I added the usual border, applied a filter to add detail and adjusted the colours to suit the interior of the auditorium.

Click on the link below to see a better resolution shot.

If I were to do it again I would think about the following:

  • The use of a fish eye lens to capture the whole of the area.
  • Measure the distance of the infrared link so I can be in the next shot.
  • More chaotic male models.