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Exterior Lighting Technique


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#1 Jonas Wakefield

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 12:14 AM

I find that day exteriors are the hardest to shape and craft - and are very hard to develope as stylized scenes. I am wondering if you may share your technique - for if you are shooting both high budgets and low budgets films, adding light, negative fill,bouncing, etc. Thanks.
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 04:33 AM

If it's very sunny and hot, I find that I don't light much. It very easily becomes quite artificial and starts to look like something from a Leone film. Sometimes that's what you want, obviously. I normally bounce light or block light with big silks/nets. Sometimes in combination with negative fill.
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#3 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 06:27 AM

if you don't have much budget/gear/crew, then your best bet may be to "light via timing & location scouting"... meaning find places, angles and sun positions prior to the shoot that will get you as close to the look you want. of course, this is less feasible for long scenes that need consistency.

for CUs and medium shots, you can get away with having your actors in shade, or near a white building (large bounce), or under moving tree-shade, and as long as the background shows direct sunlight/highlights, the shot will usually "feel" like a sunny day to the viewer, even if there's no hard sun source on the actors-- just as long as the actors aren't too many stops under the background, and having the background out of focus will usually help.
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#4 James Brown

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 08:53 AM

Good question. I look forward to some different hints.

I also find this really difficult On larger budgets knocking back the sun with either a big silk or net and shaping the light yourself with a couple of large HMI's can really work... The heavier the diffusion the less power HMI's needed, which is great if you dont have a huge lighting budget. If no access to large lights 8x or 12x Blacks can work a treat as some neg.

On lower budgets find this a difficult challenge and i echo Jaan's comments about finding the best time and location to shoot natural or send some bounce in there.
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#5 James Brown

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 09:59 AM

Edit: I also find this really difficult...

On bigger budgets it's easier as you can knock back the sun....ect ect..

Apologies as the above comment doesn't make sense.
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#6 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 10:51 AM

Just had an all exterior short film shoot in SW florida hours and hours from any nearby rental house. I found a local AV place and borrowed some speaker stands and then made a trip to Home Depot. Window screen material for nets. clear frosted Shower Curtain liner for diffusion and foam core from staples, white for bounce and black for negative fill.

Total Grip budget was under $200 but I managed to keep a wide open aperture and a consistent quality and amount of light on the subjects just by adjusting the aforementioned elements. I will say that we were extremely lucky with very good weather. But I was impressed with how well the shower curtain and screen material worked. They've become permanent additions to my equipment package.

Edited by Michael LaVoie, 12 March 2007 - 10:54 AM.

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#7 Scottie Mei

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 01:10 AM

Sunpath software is very useful for shooting day exterior as you can calculate the shadow length, direction..etc. to make your shot more dramatic. more often I diffuse the light with muslin, silk or flag off light to create shadows in back ground to create contrast. hope this helps.
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