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#1 michael rossi

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 11:54 AM

Hey I'm a newbie and I have a question about the sun outdoors. I've taken a few film classes (I plan on attending film school) which have primarly been focused on digital movie making.

A few weeks ago I went to a workshop on film and learned a bit about lighting and metering. I've also read up on filming outdoors. What confuses me is that if you use the sun as a backlight and meter the light hitting the subject wont the background be overexposed?

I guess to try and better explain what I mean say you have a wide shot with a person standing in the middle of a park. The sun is behind them acting as there backlight, you meter the light hitting them with the incident, set your stop and shoot. But since you metered for the light in front wont the back (with the sun) blow out? I'm a bit confused on this process.
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#2 pascal Boyer

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:19 PM

Hey I'm a newbie and I have a question about the sun outdoors. I've taken a few film classes (I plan on attending film school) which have primarly been focused on digital movie making.

A few weeks ago I went to a workshop on film and learned a bit about lighting and metering. I've also read up on filming outdoors. What confuses me is that if you use the sun as a backlight and meter the light hitting the subject wont the background be overexposed?

I guess to try and better explain what I mean say you have a wide shot with a person standing in the middle of a park. The sun is behind them acting as there backlight, you meter the light hitting them with the incident, set your stop and shoot. But since you metered for the light in front wont the back (with the sun) blow out? I'm a bit confused on this process.


the background will be overexposed ,you need to use a reflector or an hmi source or a strong fresnel in order to light your talent and balance the ratios. Shoot some tests you will see ..
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#3 David Regan

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:20 PM

Exposing for backlight can be tricky, you run into similar issues in situations with a person standing in front of a window etc. You are right if you expose for the persons face you will likely blow out your background, and if you expose for the background the subject will be too dark. My best advice is find an exposure somewhere inbetween. You could also play with adding light to the persons face so there is not such an exposure difference.

Good Luck
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 05:17 PM

You have to judge with your eyes what the balance should be between the brightness of the sun and the shadows. Rarely do you simply expose for the shadows at "key" (full exposure) because your eyes tells you that the shadow side of a face should be a little darker than normal, but how dark compared to the sun depends on the percentage of sunlight and shade in the shot.

Generally when the sun is completely frontal, like someone staring into a rising or setting sun, I meter for the sun and expose for what the meter tells me (unless I am going for a creative effect of a hot light on the face, or conversely, the sunlight is fading away and is supposed to be a little dim.)

If the sun is very high in the sky and "toppy", I might meter the sunlight and then overexpose that by one stop, so the sun feels a little hot and the shadows are opened up a little.

If the sun is backlit but still a little high so the tops of the shoulders are sunlit, I meter the face (which is shaded) and underexpose it about a stop and a half, so it feels dimmer compared to the sun, which will probably be about two stops overexposed or more.

If the sun is backlit and low in the sky so all I get is a halo around the head of the subject, then I meter the face (again, which is shaded, lit by skylight only) and underexpose it by one stop, so it just feels slightly down.
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 06:19 PM

You have to judge with your eyes what the balance should be between the brightness of the sun and the shadows. Rarely do you simply expose for the shadows at "key" (full exposure) because your eyes tells you that the shadow side of a face should be a little darker than normal, but how dark compared to the sun depends on the percentage of sunlight and shade in the shot.

...

Tips to copy-paste into that word document of wisdom I've got going...
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#6 michael rossi

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 08:57 PM

Thank you for the help.

I'm just curious if this method could work to. I'll give an example. Say I'm shooting a wide shot on a bright day, my subject is backlight and I have a building behind that I want to have detail, I also want the sky to be hot but not blown out, could I first read the light hitting there face, then also get a reading of the sun hitting there back and split the difference or figure out (like you said) if I want more detail in the shadow or light?

Also if this method works would it be easier to take a reading of the face and then the sun directly? (instead of the sun hitting the persons shoulders and top of their head) Though this may make a large ratio difference and it be more realistic to have the background a little hot.

I plan on shooting some tests when I get the chance to see what method works the best, but for now I'd like to know as much as I can before hand.

Thanks
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 10:55 PM

If you are shooting color negative, you have enough latitude to handle the more typical sun-shade splits. There's generally maybe a three to four stop difference between the sun and open shade (the shadow side out in the open, not down some deep canyon or under trees, etc.) So if you split the exposure, two stops over for the sunlit area and two stops under for the shadows will generally mean detail is recorded at both ends -- although since color negative "likes" exposure it's generally better to lean towards exposing for the shadows if they are prominent in the frame.

However, for a situation where you are talking about a hot sky, you may need to favor the exposure more towards the sky.
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#8 Victor Galgano

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 06:51 PM

I am happy i found this topic about sun shade split. Its explained a lot. If anyone can explain one point. Your picture is made up of shadows but you have some spots of sun. For instance under trees its mostly shade but some sunlight pokes through so would a scene like that need to be underexposed?

How much over exposure can color negative handle and still remain normal looking? I know there is 4 stops above. I assume around 3 or 4 over it begins to look overly dramatic.
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