I thought I would do a 24 hour project to apply the skills I've learned over the last few months and see what does or doesn't work during compositing. I personally like to make props, outfits or whatever else that needs doing for a project. The reason for this is that I don't want to be inhibited because I can't find what I'm looking for in the shops. Plus some of things I want to use can be quite expensive for a one off shoot.
I also found a lack of inspiration for locations in my immediate area. Some of the styles I had going around in my head don't even exist in the UK such as the Nevada desert. OK, that might not be quite true, there is a place in Wales which would lend itself for a desert scene. But it would take 4 hours to get there with no guarantees the weather would be any good. Then there are the locations which are perfect... but it's private property so you need a release form... grrrrr!
Taking these factors in to consideration I decided that I would create my own 'small world'. A world that I can shape and put in it whatever I want. This is when I discovered dioramas! I'm not entirely sure if 'diorama' is an American term. I guess the other phrase which seems to mean more to people around me at home is miniature/model scene. I like the term diorama, so I'll be sticking with that!
Including this 24 hour project I've now created two dioramas, both of which have now been destroyed. There is a sense of guilt stamping out the world you've spent hours creating! Alas I just don't have the space to keep them. Knowing that they will get binned in a certain time-frame forces me to get the shots I need. There can be a temptation to say "Oh... I'll have a cup of tea and come back to that tomorrow" of which ends up being days later.
As I mentioned earlier I've created two dioramas. The first is for a series of images and the second was really just to practice a little so I can take what I've learned on to my main piece. When I first started out I didn't have a clue where to begin! I was amazed at how expensive model paints and accessories can be, surely there are cheaper alternatives?
That's when I came across what has to be the most sensational and epic dioramas ever! It's the work of Matthew Albanese and it was through reading an article about his work that I learned I could use food to make my sets! Yes, you heard me right, food! Rather than spending money on fine sand, you can use brown sugar. For a red desert, you could do what Matthew did and throw on a bit of paprika. The idea to use stuff out of the kitchen cupboard hadn't even crossed my mind. I would say it's a darned sight cheaper than some of the model materials out there. If I were looking to keep something for a long time, then yes I guess I'd splash out, but for something that will be binned as soon as, I'll stick with the sugar!
In this project I used:
x1 foam board Some old light brown sugar (I had to break this up using a sieve) Plaster of Paris Some sand Black acrylic paint White paint Paper and tape Model cars from eBay Sky scenes from my own stock Canon 18-55mm kit lens (scenes shot at around 20mm) Carl Zeiss 50mm lens Canon 700D (aka T5i) Canon 600EX-RT flashgun (fill light) Yongnuo YN600EX-RT flashgun (key light)
In short I just mixed up the plaster, stuck in some stand and added some black paint. This was the base layer for my road, although I had to go over again once it had dried with more black acrylic paint. I then placed the sugar around the sides and placed the model cars into the scene.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!