TCM may be one of the best tools you can use. How can you use it? What do you need? Keep reading to find out.
What is TCM?
TCM stands for TTL Convert to Manual. It is a flash function in which you start shooting in TTL mode, and then convert the flash and camera calculations into Manual settings. So far I only know that it’s available in Godox and Profoto flashes. In this post, I’ll describe how it’s done with Godox flashes
Let’s start with the equipment. First, you’ll need the Godox XPro transmitter, as it’s the only Godox transmitter with this function, at the time of this writing.
Next, you’ll need TTL capable Godox flashes. In my case, I’m using two TT685f because I use Fujifilm cameras. You could also use V860II, AD200, AD300, 400 and 600. I haven’t tested TCM with TT350s but I’ll keep you posted.
In order to demonstrate TCM I asked Jessica, again, to join me for a test shoot. We got together at Café Sideral, a great coffee shop downtown, and set one TT685 on a stand with a shoot-through umbrella, on camera right. I also set another TT685, bare, on a table, at camera left. Both flashes were on radio receiver mode, the one the right was in group A, the one on the left was group B.
My camera was on a tripod, pointing at Jessica with the XPro on the hotshoe. The camera settings were ISO 200, f/2, 1/250s so it didn’t capture any ambient light. I set both groups on the XPro on TTL with a Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC) of 0 for group A and -2 for group B. This means that flash A will try and produce a neutral exposure, while flash B will try to underexpose by two stops.
Then, I took a test shot. The image was not bad, but it was a bit dark. I then changed the FEC on group A to 1, took another test shot and got what I was looking for. I could keep shooting with this setting, but when you use TTL you run the risk of the camera/flash recalculating its power setting. That’s why, in order to make more images with the same lighting, I pressed and held the TCM button. The transmitter changed the mode on all active groups from TTL to Manual, and changed their corresponding flash exposure compensation into manual power settings.
That is the magic of TCM. You can start shooting in TTL mode and, once you dial your exposure ratios between different groups, you change to Manual mode to ensure you can repeat the photograph you just made.
If you use AD200s or other Godox studio strobes, you need to let the transmitter know what kind of flash you’re using, so it translates FEC values to power setting values, correctly. In order to do this, you go to your XPro transmitter, press the Menu button, turn the wheel until you select the TCM function, press SET, and select the kind of flash you’re using: hotshoe flash, AD200, AD360 or AD600.
And there you have it. TCM is a great way for you to save time and reduce the guess-work during a shoot. You start by trusting the flash system just enough by shooting TTL and making adjustments, and then you switch to Manual so you regain full control of your shoot.
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