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lighting a pool party


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#1 Juan Miguel Sevilla

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 06:30 AM

i'm shooting a music video here in manila and the concept would be a pool party. my director wants to have sharp highlights on the people lounging around the pool and whatnot. however, due to the small budget, i can't afford big lights like 18k and stuff. my initial plan was to just get a bunch of silks and reflectors and mirrors to redirect the sunlight. i'm using a canon xl2 for this.

any tips on how to do this effect? what time of day would it be best to shoot?

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#2 Micah Kovacs

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 08:39 AM

In that image, it looks like they just used the sun as a backlight and exposed for the shadows. You could probably use some kind of gold reflector or bounce to bring back in some fill. And also in that picture, it looks like the sun is fairly high up so you might want to shoot between 1pm and 5pm.
Not sure how you could deal with other angles besides having the sun behind the talent
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:09 PM

Only the wider shots will give you problems on a low budget. For tighter shots it's usually not that hard to work in a shiny board for a hot rimlight, or even one or two 1200W HMI pars. When the backlight is at a very close angle to the lens, it doesn't always have to be very bright to show up.
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#4 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 05:38 PM

in addition to the others' advice, i'd just say to try and shoot all your wides in the morning when the sun is a nice natural kicker/backlight (and work out some kind of bounced fill), and then use the late afternoon semi-horizontal sun to grab any more wide shots you might need. and maybe try and scout out the location ahead of time to plan for those wide shots. hope this helps.
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#5 Micah Kovacs

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 09:33 PM

in addition to the others' advice, i'd just say to try and shoot all your wides in the morning when the sun is a nice natural kicker/backlight (and work out some kind of bounced fill), and then use the late afternoon semi-horizontal sun to grab any more wide shots you might need. and maybe try and scout out the location ahead of time to plan for those wide shots. hope this helps.

yeah that's true, the morning will work well also

and don't forget that the XL2 doesn't need a lot of light
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#6 Juan Miguel Sevilla

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 10:16 PM

Thank you all for the great advice!

I'll be scouting the location again at different times of the day. The difference probably here in the Philippines is that the sun stays at a 90 degree angle, like a noon sun, longer than in the States. And it comes in earlier, so by the time we'd have set up we have that harsh midday sun already. It seems that it rises fast, stays there, then sets fast as well.

I also got a 2500w HMI for the mid-shots and closeups, and a bunch of reflectors.
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 03:55 PM

If you're working in direct sunlight, I wouldn't find any need in using an HMI.

Giant bounce cards and reflectors should suffice. But still, I'd only have the HMI on hand should it turn out to be an overcast day or something.

good luck on your shoot!
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 04:48 PM

If you're working in direct sunlight, I wouldn't find any need in using an HMI.

Giant bounce cards and reflectors should suffice. But still, I'd only have the HMI on hand should it turn out to be an overcast day or something.


HMI's can help when you're trying to light from a very specific angle (like to create a rimlight). Bouncing and double-bouncing reflectors doesn't always work -- sometimes you can't "catch" the sun where the reflector needs to go (tree/building shadows in the way), or the only angle you can catch reflects just a tiny sliver of light that doesn't cover your subject.
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#9 Ryan Barton-Grimley

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:24 PM

Bang some light around with mirrors.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:39 PM

If you're working in direct sunlight, I wouldn't find any need in using an HMI.

Giant bounce cards and reflectors should suffice. But still, I'd only have the HMI on hand should it turn out to be an overcast day or something.

good luck on your shoot!



Backlight or directly overhead sun might force more shots where there might be shade, or to try and fill in shadows under the eyes, in either case an HMI can be useful, however, in terms of safety, no lights near the pool is not a bad way to go.
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