Last October I had a fantastic opportunity to test my CL360 at a public event. A member of the committee was intrigued at my 360 photography, and thought it would be good to try at this big local fundraising event--a cocktail party in a historic poured-concrete museum. An environment typical at what a photog would find doing at a wedding reception, party, etc. Lots of rather dimly-lit locations. Perfect opportunity to use my photo flash in a real world environment. Was very happy with the results! I don't think I would have any real useable 360 images any other way. It would be like an event photographer doing an indoor event at night, without a flash! Here is my first "360 Groupie" image using the photo flash. Shot with a Ricoh THETA S.
It was also a great event to learn how to shoot in 360. Different medium, different rules. I couldn't really approach it the same way as traditional photography. I t is sort of the opposite of being a traditional photographer. In those cases, you often stand off to the side and use a zoom lens. 360 works best being in the center of a room, which means taking a covert photo is tough when you bring your rig right in the middle of the dance floor, plop it down, then walk away! Remember that you as the photog want to avoid being in the photo too. This means walking away, hiding behind something, or blending in with the crowd. All of this, by the way, looks weird to a public not familiar with this tech. Aside from the technical experiment, I realized I was also doing a social one. I found though, that people adapted rather quickly to most of what I was doing. It was helpful being at an event with people just randomly mingling. After a few early reactions to the flash, it seemed most just ignored me as "oh, he's a photographer." Even if my equipment looked weird to them.
The 360 Groupie Shot:
One of the neatest things I did with this shoot was "the groupie." I first tried it with some friends I already knew (first 360 photo above). Then I decided that this could be cool, so let's try! So......I started going around the room to find groups of people, and get them to organize to do a 360 group shot. No one has ever heard of this before of course, so I needed some good directing. Because I'm using a Ricoh THETA S, I have instant feedback of the 360 shots on my iPad, so I can show it to the groups of people. Now they can see what this will look like. Great! Now for more explaining. "OK, so everybody stand in a circle around this camera---ignore if it looks like it's not pointed at you, it still sees you. OK? Now I'm going to step away because I don't want to be in the shot. OK? So I will yell "smile" then the light will go off, and the picture is done. OK?" Yes, it was pretty much like that. But this work amazingly well! People loved it! I did a bunch of these that night . A few samples below. These are all un-retouched photos using the CL360 Photo Flash with the Ricoh THETA S.
Here are some I did with people seated at a table. One without flash, the other with.
Another set: no flash, and CL360 flash.
Again, no flash----CL360 Flash. Dance party time for the event!
I designed the photo flash to be handheld, so you can walk around the room. Because the photographer (YOU) will be in the shot, and the design of the flash being what it is, I found it works well to hold it as straight over your head as possible, to make use of the circular disk mask to hide you. It is still a good idea to wear what's known in the entertainment media industry as "show black." As much dark color as possible to try to blend in if you're seen.
Aside from handholding, you can mount on a standard tripod M20 mount. I personally found it best to use a standard round cast iron based microphone stand with a tripod attachment. This provides for the thinnest footprint when placing in a crowded room, plus eliminates tripod legs in the nadir (bottom view). This makes the only part to mask (or not to mask) is the disk created by the CL360.
And finally: a "traditional photo" of the CL360 at the ready to capture that band you saw in the above shot. Having that tall extended mic stand worked great for this!