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Power of Cactus V5′s Multi-Channel Triggering Function

January 21, 2011 4:30 pm HKT Leave a comment Go to comments

Last year, I attended a rock concert with my camera, two filtered flashes and the Cactus V4′s for a shooting job. If you had visited this blog last October, you would remember that event. Of course, the video posted – “Multi-Colored Flash Filter in Use” – published on Oct 26, 2010 can still be found on Gadget Infinity’s YouTube channel.

The concert last year was held in a bar with adults properly seated. I could easily move around for different shooting angles and even adjusted the flash settings anytime at free will. But recently, I did a concert assignment that was quite different.

It was this rock concert held in a youth center, with the audience being mainly teenagers. I could hardly imagine the implications and the consequences! And I am not joking, these fans were really frenzy!


I occupied a really perfect position for shooting, and viewing as well, standing in front of the stage. I could really take great shots there, but I was so silly not to foresee the uncontrollable – while holding a video recorder and my camera, I was violently pushed towards the stage when the excited fans suddenly started the “human wave” ritual! In an instant, I had to protect my gear and my ribs from being crashed, all done without a free hand!


Frankly, I am telling you all about this not because I regretted being there or had suffered any serious injuries. On the contrary, it was such a great experience and indeed the occasion to demonstrate how handy and responsive the new Cactus V5 is to handle tough jobs like this one.

Setup Photo 1

Setup Photo 2

As you can see in the Setup Diagram (at the bottom of this post) and four Setup Photos, I had placed three filtered flashes on the stage – the orange one at the back (just behind the amplifiers, directed at the drummer ten feet apart, shown in Setup Photo 1), the red one to the right of the audience (left of stage, shown in Setup Photo 2) to light the bass players.

Setup Photo 3

Lastly, I put the flash with blue filter to the left of the audience (right of stage). Setup Photo 3 shows the location of this blue flash. While Setup Photo 3 did not capture the same band, Photos 3 and 5 could clearly see the guitarist and keyboard player being lit by the blue flash.

Setup Photo 4

I think you have seen the video I have created for this job, and this blog post serves to provide more details on the shots I took. To start with, I created different color tones in my photos merely by (moving my fingers, literally) switching the channels on my transmitting V5 mounted on my camera, even under tough situations like this. If I wanted all three flashes to fire at the same time, I switched TX to Channel 1. The effect is obvious in Photo 7, where the subject was lit from both sides as well as the backdrop light.


The same effect was shown in Photo 4 (the backdrop was barely visible) and even in Setup Photo 1. So, having TX on Channel 1 lets you to achieve multiple-color effects, good for wider shots in particular. To get cool pictures with high contrast using a single light source (e.g. using the flash for a backlight scenario like those shown on Photos 1, 2, 3 and 5), all I had to do then was a simple switch of the TX channel to 2, 3 or 4. You can also compare shots taken on the same band member with one light source and multiple light sources, like between Photos 3 and 4, or between Photos 5 and 6, to make your own choice on location.

Reference Photo 1 was taken without any flash. In fact, the spotlights there were flickering and if you took your photos at the right moment, you could also get a good shot without flash, like Reference Photo 2.

Setup Diagram

Equipment Setup

Photo 1 Photos 2, 3, 5 Photos 4, 6, 7
Camera Canon EOS 5D 1 1 1
Lens EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM 1 1 1
Flash Cactus KF36 Manual Flash 1 1 3
Flash Trigger Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver V5 2 2 4
Flash Filter Red Filter 1 - 1
Blue Filter - 1 1
Orange Filter - - 1
Light Stand Light Stand 1 1 3
  1. January 25, 2011 at 07:55 am HKT | #1

    thank you for sharing as a working pro of a number of years it is great to see another photographers work and gain further understanding of the complexities of achieveing a great outcome.
    Cheers Ron

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