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wide exterior skies....


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#1 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:25 PM

This is I guess a problem for all who have been working for a while but I´m hoping someone has some suggestions...
In mid to close-ups it´s mostly a fair cup budgetwise to bring in som larger sources and/or reflectors to bring the sky down in contrast, but what about those "medium wide" shots where the object cuts the horizon line and taking away the chance to use a grad?? Getting definition in a really bright cloudy sky is really hard many times...
Also, on productions where there is not even the chance of lighting in the CU´s and still wanting good texture in the sky? (also implying that the backlight doesn´t give enough to reflect back...)
These things have come upon me a few times lately in the sunny cloudy Sweden and bug me alot!!
Take care ya´ll!
Fred. :)
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#2 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:03 PM

ok, here's from a guy more experienced in post production than cinematography, but whatever: is it the emulsion that doesn't pick up the detail or the scanner? if the latter maybe a two pass scan with a luma key would do the trick? and now that i think about it you could probably do the same while shooting to solve problem number one, especially if you're locked down. i did a fair amount of sky replacement on my last short which i shot in semi-overcast conditions on hdv with no lights, go figure.

/matt
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#3 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:09 PM

ok, here's from a guy more experienced in post production than cinematography, but whatever: is it the emulsion that doesn't pick up the detail or the scanner? if the latter maybe a two pass scan with a luma key would do the trick? and now that i think about it you could probably do the same while shooting to solve problem number one, especially if you're locked down. i did a fair amount of sky replacement on my last short which i shot in semi-overcast conditions on hdv with no lights, go figure.

/matt


Tja Farbror :-)
No this is speaking strictly for straight printing. The twopass is however a good method when in scanner or telecine.
Tnx F :-)
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 03:50 PM

You just try to avoid those shots as much as possible. Seriously. If the exposure difference is just too great between the hot sky and the subject, you really have no choice but to pump a lot of light onto your subject to reduce the difference. And in an open area that usually means a big, soft source to match the natural quality of light in the wider shots, which means a REALLY big light to fill up a 12x12' frame. Usualy this ends up being an 18K behind some kind of grid cloth. And then you need to provide fill or edge light also so the contrast ratio matches the wider shots.

If the budget doesn't permit such a setup, try to frame something in the background; a tree, a rooftop, mountains or whatever to break up the hot BG. Compose your subject against the sky and other objects in a way that lets the eye bounce around between hot spots rather than struggling to make out detail of a face against white.

Sometimes you can use "blenders" turned sideways to take the curse off hotter parts of the frame when using a wide aspect ratio. It only works for select shots, though.

I shoot a lot of ENG video (which naturally means no/low budget for lighting) and have to deal with this all the time. Even on a completely overcast day I can wrangle a little fill for CU's using simply a soft silver reflector of some sort. Naturally it doesn't throw very far, but it's enough for CU's and gives a little eyelight as well.
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#5 isaac_klotz

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 06:43 PM

besides 12ks or 18ks, you can also try using nets behind your talent. i've got that setup working from time to time on a 12x or something large. for a tight enough mcu on long lens, you could put a 4x4 of ND behind the subject. but these are very locked off solutions, not a lot of room for blocking the talent or camera movement.
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#6 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:49 AM

besides 12ks or 18ks, you can also try using nets behind your talent. i've got that setup working from time to time on a 12x or something large. for a tight enough mcu on long lens, you could put a 4x4 of ND behind the subject. but these are very locked off solutions, not a lot of room for blocking the talent or camera movement.



This is a very good idea for locked situations! I will for sure try it out. I tend to hate exterior lighting with hmi´s....(love geled tungsten when I can afford it!!)
Still pondering those very wide ones though. Yes finding the right angles towards a proper sky och letting the background intersect for some break-up ´kind of works, but I always find my self cringeing at textureloss in cut outs to wider shots.... Maybe it´s impossible? Even a masterpiece like "thin red line" has this "problem" (Mind u I adore John Toll!!) Would the vari-con work well in a situation like this maybe?
Mr MULLEN; any thoughts?? :)
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 04:42 PM

Would the vari-con work well in a situation like this maybe?
Mr MULLEN; any thoughts?? :)


I can't speak for Mr. Mullen, but in my experience lifting the shadow level (by flashing/varicon with film or black stretch/level in video) only flattens out the contrast in the lower-to-mid tones, and won't close up the gap in exposure between mids and highlights (faces and the hot sky). If you were to flash and underexpose slightly to hold more sky detail, flashing would preserve a slight bit more deep shadow detail but your faces would still be dark (and flattened to boot). If anything you would want to flash the positive to dull-down a bright sky, but obviously that's not going to put detail or texture back into areas that have reached d-max on the negative.

You could try a lower-contrast film stock, but with overcast conditions you usually want to add contrast to your midtones. Similarly you could try pull-processing to minimize the contrast, but any attempts to restore the snap with the print stock put you right back where you started.

Maybe a LOT of flashing with a little bit of silver retention on the print? I don't know...
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#8 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:01 PM

i will venture on and post the slightest progress on the matter :)
Thanks for suggestions!!!
Fred.
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#9 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:48 PM

Testa Variconen, Bäckar - den är skön.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:30 PM

The net would be my first choice.

Isn't the bright background a scenario to consider using a polarizer? If a faded blue sky can be brought down a bit it will gain a more intense blue which would reduce the contrast a bit, no?
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#11 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:39 PM

I think it's the more the gray cloudy skies that are the problem. A polarizer doesn't help with that.
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#12 chris kempinski

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 02:02 AM

This is I guess a problem for all who have been working for a while but I´m hoping someone has some suggestions...
In mid to close-ups it´s mostly a fair cup budgetwise to bring in som larger sources and/or reflectors to bring the sky down in contrast, but what about those "medium wide" shots where the object cuts the horizon line and taking away the chance to use a grad?? Getting definition in a really bright cloudy sky is really hard many times...
Also, on productions where there is not even the chance of lighting in the CU´s and still wanting good texture in the sky? (also implying that the backlight doesn´t give enough to reflect back...)
These things have come upon me a few times lately in the sunny cloudy Sweden and bug me alot!!
Take care ya´ll!
Fred. :)







I would have to say an ultra bounce to bring up your subject and a polarizer would do the trick. assuming you can get your hands on a 12X or 20X frame. if not the ultra bounce, mirror boards through silk work as well as an 18K on a sunny day.
Good luck.
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rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

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Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

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