Jump to content


Photo

outdoor lighting in woods


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Lana Loukota

Lana Loukota
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Student
  • Arkansas

Posted 20 May 2007 - 09:24 PM

In a movie I'm working on, we'll have a lot of daytime shots of walking in the woods, running in the woods, and also shots outside in direct sunlight. The sunlight is great, except that we'll end up with deep shadows on people's faces, which is not the look we're going for :rolleyes: Any simple suggestions for how to fix this??
I mean, will we need to add a lot of lighting or just a litte, or adjust camera angles or do we have a lot of options???
This is a "no-budget film", and we (the cast and the crew) are all fairly inexperienced.
  • 0

#2 Stephen Whitehead

Stephen Whitehead
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 124 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Toronto, Canada

Posted 20 May 2007 - 11:22 PM

In a movie I'm working on, we'll have a lot of daytime shots of walking in the woods, running in the woods, and also shots outside in direct sunlight. The sunlight is great, except that we'll end up with deep shadows on people's faces, which is not the look we're going for :rolleyes: Any simple suggestions for how to fix this??
I mean, will we need to add a lot of lighting or just a litte, or adjust camera angles or do we have a lot of options???
This is a "no-budget film", and we (the cast and the crew) are all fairly inexperienced.


Well it depends on how wide or close the shots you have in mind are, but the simplist solution is to create some sort of a bounce board that will fill in the shadows on the face. This will lower the contrast range of the light, and make the shadows not so deep. If you are talking "no budget" then the best sort of thing to do is get a bunch of white bristol board and glue it onto a big sheet of cardboard. Have someone hold it in place while you are taking the shot. This solution isn't all that different to what a larger budget picture might do.

Cheers,

Steve Whitehead
  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:03 AM

When possible, I'd try to shoot in backlight all day so that you can expose more for the shadows in the woods and the faces are not being hit directly with hard light. When the sun is very toppy, you can either get the actors under the shade of a tree or use medium-sized silks overhead to soften the noon light. Sometimes you don't even need to put the silks on a frame, just tie them to trees, one for each corner.
  • 0

#4 Rick Sharf

Rick Sharf
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts
  • Student

Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:36 PM

Pick up some foam core board from lowes or home depot, which ever is closer. You can get a 4x8 for $15 and cut it in half. They are very durable and give a very nice soft bounce. On you tighter shots you could fly a silk above your talent to soften the light, and if you can help it try not to shoot when the sun is overhead.
  • 0

#5 Lana Loukota

Lana Loukota
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Student
  • Arkansas

Posted 21 May 2007 - 11:20 PM

Thanks, these tios will give us a great start!
Now this leads me to another question :rolleyes: Where can I find (or could I make) these "silks" that you mention?
  • 0

#6 Ralph Keyser

Ralph Keyser
  • Sustaining Members
  • 120 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 22 May 2007 - 05:56 PM

Those "silks" are just large pieces of fabric (some of them are actually still made of silk), usually white. There are a wide variety of silks on the market that provide different levels of diffusion and light reduction. The textiles that are used are precisely made to be both uniform across large expanses of fabric and consistent from batch to batch. That makes them expensive, and most of the time they are rented as part of the grip package.

To make your own, you can experiment with almost anything that's similar. Cheap, thin, well-worn bedsheets are popular. The good, high thread count ones will stop too much light. Shower curtains might be another material to try out. A trip to a local fabric store might also yield some materials that will work for you. You'll probably need a combination of all of the suggestions in this thread to get a look you like, so take advantage of the fact that you have no budget to limit you and do some tests!
  • 0

#7 Lana Loukota

Lana Loukota
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Student
  • Arkansas

Posted 22 May 2007 - 11:49 PM

Oh, is that all they are :lol:
I have some fabric (a ton of gauzy white stuff from when my mom decorated for some wedding) that ought to work. I was afraid it'd be an expensive solution.

What are some other prominent parts of a "grip package"?
  • 0

#8 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 23 May 2007 - 01:16 AM

Also shiny boards reflected into 6x6 silks can create soft and powerful sources. A hard shinny board in a patch of direct sunlight can be as strong as a 4k hmi.
  • 0

#9 Tony Brown

Tony Brown
  • Sustaining Members
  • 689 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 23 May 2007 - 04:50 PM

So you are now doing Assistant Director/Make up/Actress/ Grips...................Special FX or props or sparks (depending on country)and dabbling in decisions that the DOP should be involved in.

Am I the only one getting annoyed by this?
  • 0

#10 Joe Turrentine

Joe Turrentine
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • Student
  • Northern California

Posted 23 May 2007 - 06:25 PM

What Tony says is true: Unless you are the DP, what the heck is he doing? Twiddling his thumbs? If you are the DP on the other hand, then it's all good.

I have had good luck with a 4' x 4' plywood with two handles on one side and aluminum foil on the other(or if you can find it, get a ball and socket clap with a 5/8" adapter and you can put it on a stand). You can make that setup for 25 bucks at any hardware store. Just get some drawer handles and wear gloves. If you want to get fancy, cut it in half, and then put hinges on it and it can now fold in half for easier storage and/or portability. Works for me...
  • 0

#11 Lana Loukota

Lana Loukota
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Student
  • Arkansas

Posted 24 May 2007 - 12:18 AM

Hmmm. DP. Well, we um... we don't have one. So, as one of the AD's I kinda got to help with that also. But I enjoyed it!
It would perhaps comfort Mr. Brown to learn that I now have a makeup assistant :rolleyes: Of course, he's first AD. And I am not kidding.

You see, we don't have money to pay any of the cast and crew. My friend, Luke, the director/producer/visionary and CEO of Hobbbottom Films, has gathered a bunch of his friends, and we are spending the summer making a movie, learning a whole lot, and having a blast! A lot of us were either interested in movie-making or in acting before he asked us to make this movie with him, and some of us are talented; others of us enjoy learning new things and experimenting (that'd be me). I also like to help where help is needed, which I guess is how I got myself into so many different aspects of production. I started out as just an actress, then volunteered for costumes, and it kinda snowballed from there. But if you think I'm doing a lot of different things, you should see what the director is up to!
But after (and perhaps before) we figure out how things ought to be done, we will be able to delegate. and obviously I can't/won't be in charge of every, or even most, aspects of makeup or of lighting...
Because of our nonexistant budget and tiny crew, we don't expect to produce a box-office smash :P But we are trying to get as professional as we can with what we have and can do. This is why i like the advice with wood and tinfoil, or pieces of fabric. These are things I can work with. We don't have a lot to work with, that's why all the cast is also crew, and everyone will do many different jobs.
I can see that this would annoy a professional, and I am very sorry, but in this case I cannot see how we can help going about it in this unprofessional way. But, hey, if anyone in the Arkansas/ Oklahoma area wants to volunteer as DP or Grip, we'd consider letting them join the project :P

Oh yeah, and thanks to everyone for your advice about lighting, I have found it most helpful!
  • 0

#12 Tony Brown

Tony Brown
  • Sustaining Members
  • 689 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 24 May 2007 - 03:03 AM

I can see that this would annoy a professional, and I am very sorry,


Doesn't annoy me in the slightest now you've explained that this movie is being made without renumeration.

What annoys me is peoples professions being put at risk, not to mention safety.

And if anyone wants help around Wendover I'd be very happy to help out. I'm sure there are many people in your neck of the woods would feel the same way, maybe you should put a little more effort into recruitment, especially on the AD side. You mess up the make up thats one thing, you mess up on the logistics at best you'll waste lots of peoples free time and goodwill, worst case someone may get hurt.

Best of luck to you

.....and having said that - use smoke in the woods.... lots. but do it safely and advise the authorities
  • 0

#13 Lana Loukota

Lana Loukota
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Student
  • Arkansas

Posted 24 May 2007 - 10:16 PM

Tony Brown Posted Today, 03:03 AM
Doesn't annoy me in the slightest now you've explained that this movie is being made without renumeration


Thank you Mr. Brown :) Now I understand what you meant when you said something about taking people's jobs. No, I don't expect that we will endanger any peoples' professions :P
and thank-you for the cautionary advice, I will certainly keep that in mind. This definitely is a learning experience for my friends and me, so we try take what advice we can get.

So, what do you mean "use smoke"? I mean, I think I can understand the purpose of using is, but how do you use it; what are the basics?
  • 0


Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Opal

FJS International, LLC