A fellow photographer Matt Grum recently featured this shot on his blog.
Photo by Matt Grum, March 2009
I think the look he achieved here is absolutely fantastic. This mixture of David-Lynch-not-Black-but-Red-Lodge and the vaudeville magician scenery works really well and makes for an amazing shot.
The look of the picture has been achieved using only two studio lights. The model is lit with a large softbox from camera left and care has been taken not to ruin the look of the background when light from this source spills on it. A second (snooted flash) spot light is adjusted in a way to obtain the light cone on the curtain behind the model.
Apart from the lighting, what makes this picture impressive is the whirlwind of cards surrounding the model. If you are not an employee of Pixar studios, the only way is to invide many, many friends who throw (and pick up) shitloads of cards at the model ... OR ... you just repeat the whole process with only one friend and one deck of cards a few times when using a camera on a tripod to shoot the scenery multiple times. Applying your friend Eraser Tool later when combining the shots in Photoshop, will allow you to achieve this look! Since the background does not change, this is relatively easy and no advanced masking techniques are necessary.
However, in case you like this shot as much as I do and you are interested in the details of the lighting setup, please visit Matt's blog and read how he's done it.
By the way, my own shot of Hitchkock like attacking Seagulls has been achieved with the same overlay technique.