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Making the Total Recall Movie Poster

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Jul 24

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Re-creating an Image

We are going to put together a photo like this one from “Total Recall” over the next few days! Today will cover all the pre-production.


The first thing we’ll do is analyze lighting. Colin is rim lit on each side and a hair light on top, so we used two strip boxes for the left side and above and an octobox on camera right. There’s also some fill light, we used an 86″ parabolic for fill.

Even though we had a broad fill light the jacket was still losing detail because it’s so dark. To fix the problem we used a gridded beauty dish, using a grid focuses the light directionally.


It’s important to have someone directing the model, its harder than it looks because they can’t see what they are doing. If you have a hard time explaining something to a model try showing them the images so they can see for themselves. Having them move slightly with each different shot is a also a good idea, that way the shots have a lot of variation.


Tomorrow’s episode will cover photographing the falling tiles to composite into the image. Make sure your lighting is as close as you can get it when compositing images! This will make all the difference as to whether or not it looks realistic.


  • Aaron Nace

    We just ordered a new Lavalier Mic to help with the sound for these recordings. 

  • Celest777

    you look just like him ;-)

    Oh & yeah this is incredibly helpful to see the prep & thought that goes into a picture.

  • Talbottess

    thought you’d get a little more detail in the jacket ???

  • Cebrice2002

    thanks for doing this love it

  • Lawrence Smith

     YAAAAAAAAAAAY U PICKED MY IMAGE REQUEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ErnestD

    Great idea and looking forward to watching from start to finish

  • Strange Kiku

    can’t wait to see the photoshop part! oh ya and Hiiiii I’m new to the Phamily :P greetings from Good Old Germany xD

  • Matthew Clark

    There is lots of detail in the jacket. I would suggest if you’re not seeing any you may need to adjust your monitor’s settings?

  • Claude Laramee

    Wow ! You read my mind about the sound ! Very useful video !

  • Aaron Nace

    Thank you Lawrence!

  • Daniel Yafacb

    Aaron .. thank you very much, hope to see this work

  • Eugin Cöre

    Hi Aaron! I just want to say that I think the octobox should be a little more in front of you, to create that little light in the cheekbone, the chin and the little part of the nose, maybe you just don´t need exactly the same photo and later make it in Photoshop, but I think if you move that light a little the result would be perfect (: Its just my opinion!  Awesome video like always! 

  • Sebastian Ortiz

     I told you they would be worth it, didn’t I? Those lavalier mic sets are awesome, just don’t drop your pack like I did mine… LOL.

  • Aaron Nace

    You are totally right!

  • Pingback: Shooting for a Composite-Part 2 of Total Recall Poster

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  • Scott

    who is the photographer for the total recall poster?

  • fawania

    amazed , what a beautiful work

  • fawania

    you are creative

  • Demonrotter

    Whts the jacket they use in the movie?

  • Paul Frocchi

    you’re a superstar Aaron. Thanks for the inspiration!

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