In the foregoing chapters we have tried to treat in a practical way with the conditions as they come up every day in the average studio. It is a well known and admitted fact that the average operating room is by far too small to permit of the operator "turning himself loose," so to speak. In most cases it has been arranged in some building that was never though of as a studio until the photographer mentioned the matter, perhaps years after the building was constructed. This being the case the only thing that could be done was to conform to conditions and circumstances. It is for this reason that we find so many operating rooms that are either too narrow (this, to our mind is the most grevious trouble we could have in an operating room), or otherwise inconveniently arranged.
In our former chapters on lighting we have given directions for working in these narrow rooms. In fact, these directions will hold good in any room, but in this chapter we expect to give a few suggestions on what we consider an "ideal lighting" made under an "ideal light" in an "ideal operating room."
What we want in an operating room is size enough to move all the way around our subject, and still have room enough to make a full length picture (if we should so desire), facing directly across the width of the room, using a long focus lens. This would mean a room of at least thirty-five or forty feet.
As to the length of the room, while we do not consider it of so great an importance as the width, we would like to have it about sixty feet in length, as this will enable us to make the largest groups.
and also the smallest of miniature heads. It must be remembered this is our ideal room, and not what is generally found in studios, there being but very few such rooms, indeed. Where it is possible to have such a room, it will certainly be of the greatest satisfaction to feel that we are situated to meet all emergencies.
If we were putting a light in such a room, we would have the light in keeping with the size of the room, as to size. As for a preference of single or double slant in our opinion either can be worked successfully, and both have peculiarities that make them attractive. We would suggest a double slant light about sixteen feet wide, the side light being four feet from the floor and extending up six feet. The skylight beginning at side light and running up fourteen feet. Have four opaque curtains running from the top of the skylight down to the side light, and four opaque curtains on the side light running from the bottom up to the skylight. A set of diffusing curtains should be on each the side and skylights, but have them running across the lights.
If the single slant light is preferred, we suggest it be sixteen feet wide, beginning four feet from the floor, and extending up fourteen feet. Two sets of opaque curtains should cover it, one set of four running from the top down almost to the bottom, the other set of four running from the bottom up almost to the top. By this means the light may be divided at any desired point. There should also be a set of diffusing curtains running across the light. Either of these lights will give perfect satisfaction, and we look as favorably upon one as the other.
In our opinion, the ideal lighting is one that we can walk all around and see a perfect lighting from all sides and from all points of view. For example, when we pose a subject for "Plain Lighting," and have the high lights properly distributed over the face, with the shadows soft and full of detail, we like to be able to walk a few feet around from the side light, and see a perfect Rembrandt, photographically speaking. This mode of lighting is what is known as "round lighting," and there is no question but it is especially pleasing to the artistic eye, and is much to be admired, for its richness in the finished photograph.
When we secure a lighting of this kind, one that can be viewed from all sides, and yield a perfectly modeled negative, we need have no fears of our lighting not being made right.
Figure No. 1 shows an example of plain lighting. The subject was posed ten feet from the side light, and the camera was six feet from the light. The opaque curtain on the west end of the top light was drawn down to within four feet of the side light. The one on the east end the same, and the two center curtains were about eight feet from the side light. The opaque curtain on the west end, and the one on the east side of the side light were about one foot from the top light, and the two in the center were down about two feet from the top light. The diffusing curtains were covering both the side and top light. It will be noticed that all of the points of light are in their proper place, viz.: Highest on the forehead, next on the nose, then the upper lip, the chin, and the soft light on the shadow cheek, which grades back into the shadow. It is the placing of these lights in these particular positions that secure for us a negative with the proper roundness.
Were we to have the highest light in the center of the forehead instead of just over the eye, we would lose the very thing we are working for - roundness - and secure that which would spoil our lighting - flatness. By doing this the soft light on the shadow side of the face would be broadened, and this would render a negative of too near the same tone all over the face. Shifting this light to the center of the forehead is caused by turning the face of the subject too far toward the side light, and this change can easily be seen by having the subject turn the head back and forth.
Figure No. 1. Lighting in an Ideal Operating Room.