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Advice needed on test shots please!


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#1 Ashley Barron

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 10:54 PM

Hello,
I have gone out on test shoots and here are some frames of the set ups that we've done. They're quite small images but should get the idea.

For the girl in hallway shot - I'm using a red head gelled with 1/2 CTB, and white balanced for an overall blue/cold look, it's at 5.6 I believe - any advice on how to make the light look more like moonlight? It's a little too strong I think.

For the girl with her mouth open shot - there's a blondie with 1/2 CTB, same white balance as above, similar f-stop - same question with moonlight applies, but also want it to look like a pool of moonlight falling on the subject, and for the warmer skin tone to remain (perhaps not white balance so strongly for blue).

For the MS of the girl against window - got a blondie outside as kick with 1/2 CTB (as far as I can remember) and a red as key with some diffusion and 1/2 CTB, similar aperture maybe 4 - any ideas on how to make it a little less lit looking, and to make it look a little less digital. And what would be the best to get a nicer, warmer skin tone?

And finally, for the ms of the girl in red - there's a red head outside as kick, and there's light coming from a nearby window with a blondie going through it. It appears rather flat to me, and the overall color isn't appealing. Any ideas on how to make it look nicer? I want there to be a bit of a kick on the side of the face and some rim light on the other side, and keep the centre somewhat dark as the subject is to be the darkest/eeriest in the scene, but still appears flat and unattractive..

Any ideas are welcome,
Thanks very much for your time,
Ash.

Attached Images

  • hall.jpg
  • pooljo.jpg
  • ash_stuff.jpg
  • ms_shot.jpg

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#2 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 11:26 AM

I'm a complete newb when it comes to lighting but I'll give it a shot. It will help me also because this is what I would do and if it's wrong the experienced people on here will tear it up and correct me. :lol:

The two night shots look very "sourcy," especially the first one. The second looks almost like it's light coming from a TV or a flashlight. Maybe defusing it would help?

I don't think there is much wrong with the 3rd one. I like it.

The 4th one definitely needs some separation from the background. The girls skin color is LITERALLY the same color as the wall. Maybe a splash of another color can help break that up, or something on the wall. I think that's why the shot looks "flat and unattractive."

Edited by Jamie Lewis, 11 September 2007 - 11:28 AM.

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 12:01 PM

Overall I agree with the above . Also I think the night is way too blue, but that's my personal choice and the day might be too amber/gold/yellow.
Also, the moonlight should be, IMHO coming from a higher elevation so as not to throw a shadow on the wall.
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#4 David Eger

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 01:02 PM

The moonlight looks to broad.. and looks like the only light source you have going on in the room..

I would bounce a bunch of light off bead board as an ambiant fill. then Kick with a harder source with some gel on that to sell the moonlight.. I have been using 1/2 ctb and rosco 87.. I would tae the redhat and use that and bounce it you can add the gel also if you want.. I would then get a smaller source I have no clue what you have access to but something like a small fresnel and use that as the kick.. Scupt it with the doors.. Expose for the kick and drop the fill like 2 stops under that.. Then make the background pretty with a cucolorus or something maybe some slashes just to add some depth.. I would also do something simmilar with the other night shot.. Exposing for the hilights is a great thing to do at night...

the day stuff looks flat and the color looks off... I would either balance the Lights to match the windows and expose at 5600K or Gel the windows.. Your eyes will be able to see how much.. Gelling the windows will also cut down the light and help them to not burn out... which you do not want them to do...

also just look around at the quality and color of the natural light during the TOD you are shooting.. (or setting the scene at) what does it look like.. Maybe balance at 3200 but put a little blue like 1/4 or somthing on the Fill and then a salmon or something on the Highlight... then you can get a nice afternoon look... orange/pink highlights with bluish shadows..

Shaft the light around with the doors and some flags.... use the light to create the mood and depth..

Surf the net for a lot of photography and see why you like the lighting in certain images and look at where the light is falling...

remember you are not lighting to be able to get an exposure you are creating the mood and feel of the piece..

you are an artist and the film\video is the canvas and the light is the paint...

also be aware of the actors skintones (if they match the wall paint that is not good) and wardrobe..

good luck..
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#5 Ashley Barron

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 10:49 PM

[quote name='David Eger' date='Sep 12 2007, 02:02 AM' post='192912']
The moonlight looks to broad.. and looks like the only light source you have going on in the room.

..that's my aim, the moonlight is supposed to the only source in the hallway at the time, and perhaps a practical in the 2nd shot. It's meant to be quite a contrasty scene, particularly in the hallway..do I need to add fill?


Shaft the light around with the doors and some flags.... use the light to create the mood and depth..

..how do I do this? I was thinking of adding some smoke and letting the light shaft through it that way, but not sure how feasible it is..
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:29 AM

..that's my aim, the moonlight is supposed to the only source in the hallway at the time


I've never seen moonlight THAT strong in my lifetime...especially indoors. I'll assume you're not going for a natural look, though.

You might want to use it as more of a subtle sidelight, and perhaps include some practicals to dimly light the room and give her darker side a silhouette.

Just a suggestion.
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#7 Ashley Barron

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:46 AM

Thanks everyone for your advice!
Greatly appreciated :)
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#8 David Eger

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 02:12 PM

when I say it looks like the only source in the room I mean it in a I know how you are phsyically lighting the scene.. I would always have some fill and some definition in the shadows.. you want it to seem natural so you need to make the camera see what you want it to and you do that with the light.. also backlight even 2-3 stops lower then your key will add depth and definition.. what is at exposure and what is not will help create the mood..

you can have a shaft of light on a wall without the smoke.. walking in and out of "Pools" of light can look lovely..

remember if there is definition in the image you can always crush it or blow it out or whatever but if there is no information there you are screwed...
I don't think you need a white reference and a black reference in each frame but I would say figure out things you want properly exposed and what you want under or over for a given scene..
maybe the actors face is not at key.. maybe it is 2 stops under then the fill side is 3 and the bkg and 3 but there are highlights at key.. it's like you can shine as much light on the black car at night and it is still black but light the street and the scene behind the car and the car pops out..
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#9 David Eger

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 02:21 PM

http://www.pbase.com/aloha_lavina

here is a link to some photo galleries look at how they are lit and you will get my drift...
tool around on the site there is a ton of inspiration
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 06:54 PM

For the girl in hallway shot - I'm using a red head gelled with 1/2 CTB, and white balanced for an overall blue/cold look, it's at 5.6 I believe - any advice on how to make the light look more like moonlight? It's a little too strong I think.


What was your white balance? Tungsten preset, or did you cool it off even more? The answer is simple; if it looks too blue, don't use that combination of gel and white balance. Back them off a bit. You should be able to get decent results with a tungsten white balance and 1/2 CTB gel. But it's hard to have "warm" skin tones under "cool" moonlighting. You can back off the saturation of the blue if it looks too strong to you, but if you go too neutral or even warm, then you lose the illusion of moonlight.

"Moonlight" is one of those things that you have to be pretty specific about if you want it to appear convincing. Many times when people refer to "moonlight" they're really talking about "night light," or nighttime ambience. Moonlight may be the primary source (as sunlight would be during the day), but it bounces around and provides a very low-level ambience the same way that sunlight does during the day. So true moonlight wouldn't be that low-angle and that saturated. Hard moonlight would come from a steeper angle, and a softer, darker ambience would come from the side. You can select your contrast ratio from there (i.e. how dark you want the shadows to read).

And don't confuse colored lighting with white balancing. Although the two work together to create the final color rendition, start with one, then the other, to get the color you like. Start with a preset white balance (either tungsten or daylight depending on the scene), and add gel to get the color you want. Then you can use white balance to fine-tune the overall color rendering of the scene.
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