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Getting the most out of an average sunset!


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#1 Steven Grant James

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 10:30 AM

Hi folks!

I am planning a magic hour/sunset shoot in a couple of weeks. I am shooting Super 16mm, Kodak 250D.

I went out on a recce to the location recently - and while its just what im looking for - I will be shooting in a certain direction and I noticed that the sunset wasn't that impressive.

This shot from Apocaplypse Now sums up the kind of colors I want to capture on film.


Posted Image


I just wondered if anyone here has used filters or any other techniques to improve a sunset and make look more surreal. A friend suggested I just use an 85b filter. I thought id check with the experts on here first though :)

Steven
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#2 Logan Schneider

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 04:09 PM

You could go to a rental house and look through their filters until you find one or a combination that you like. I would recommend corals, straws, warming filters and sunset grads as a start. Or you could just do it in telecine.
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#3 John Brawley

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 04:21 PM

Hi folks!

I am planning a magic hour/sunset shoot in a couple of weeks. I am shooting Super 16mm, Kodak 250D.

I went out on a recce to the location recently - and while its just what im looking for - I will be shooting in a certain direction and I noticed that the sunset wasn't that impressive.

This shot from Apocaplypse Now sums up the kind of colors I want to capture on film.
Posted Image
I just wondered if anyone here has used filters or any other techniques to improve a sunset and make look more surreal. A friend suggested I just use an 85b filter. I thought id check with the experts on here first though :)

Steven


I have been able to replicate the colours in something like this using tungsten stock and shooting with TWO 85 filters.

Remember, that the colour temperature falls off towards the end of the day anyway. Daylight stock might not need to be the automatic choice here. You didn't say what you didn't like about the sunset from your rece. Would it be something as simple as, there were no clouds ? That makes a huge difference to the visual interest. Sometimes you luck out with no clouds. Sometimes you get too many clouds.

JB
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 04:29 PM

I would do it with a slowish daylight stock and something in the realm of an 85 and some strength of coral (coral because I just like that color). Check out a rental house's filter stock or a filter manufacturer's website for some ideas. The beauty is you can mix a lot of different looks with a couple filters. All depends on how far you want to go.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 11:38 PM

Colored grad or even ND grad filters can help put some "dimension" into a flat or cloudless sunset. When shooting sunsets with filters make sure you use an angled filter stage to avoid filter reflections in the frame (you don't always seem them while shooting). If your matte box doesn't have an angled stage (or if you're using multiple filters) you can try swinging the matte box out just a little bit and wrapping the open part with duvetyn, just to give yourself a fighting chance against reflections.

I usually prefer not to go too heavy with the color for sunsets because it's easy to end up with something that looks artificial and doesn't cut with the natural light in the rest of the scene. But that's just me.
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#6 Bill Totolo

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 08:01 AM

When you're shooting a sunset 9 times out of 10 you're going for dramatic impact.
It's a visual statement, so make a statement.

Personally, I'm a fan of the tobacco grad.
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#7 Douglas Sunlin

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:46 AM

Isn't that gilding the lily? I guess that depends on the quality of the lily on any given evening. :rolleyes:
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#8 Bill Totolo

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:56 AM

Isn't that gilding the lily? I guess that depends on the quality of the lily on any given evening. :rolleyes:



That's true Douglas. Specifically, I use the tobacco grad. during Nautical Twilight.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:16 PM

When you're shooting a sunset 9 times out of 10 you're going for dramatic impact.
It's a visual statement, so make a statement.


I meant that when a sunset is included in a scene with other coverage (not a stand alone "statement"), you have try to get the color to match in the other angles.
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#10 Alex Haspel

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 07:00 PM

you'll nedd half-transparent helicopters.



sorry, couldn't resist.
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#11 Bill Totolo

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 10:23 PM

I meant that when a sunset is included in a scene with other coverage (not a stand alone "statement"), you have try to get the color to match in the other angles.

Wait a second, Michael. Aren't you a big fan of the "Michael Bay Unmotivated Sunset Shot"? :D
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 12:18 AM

Wait a second, Michael. Aren't you a big fan of the "Michael Bay Unmotivated Sunset Shot"? :D


Yeah, me and John Schwartzman are *like that* with the grad filters... ;)
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#13 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 11:48 AM

Can anyone tell me what the advantage would be with on-camera filters? You already have the 85( B ) on there probably, so wouldn't it be a an advantage to get a better stop and change the colour in post?

Edited by Alex Wuijts, 24 September 2007 - 11:49 AM.

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#14 Michael Nash

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 04:07 PM

Can anyone tell me what the advantage would be with on-camera filters? You already have the 85( B ) on there probably, so wouldn't it be a an advantage to get a better stop and change the colour in post?


Why ever use colored filters on the camera, instead of doing it in post? Several reasons -- you get more of the desired color saturation on the neg. when you filter optically; some projects take a film-only route where traditional color timing may not be sufficient; some material gets handed off after you shoot it, so you don't get a second pass at color correction; getting the "look" in-camera can help guide the editors and producers toward the intended result... lots of possible reasons.

Often times you'll want to use some heavy ND filters to better expose the sunball, so stop loss isn't always an issue. And it's hard to do ND grads in post, if highlight detail is too clipped or compressed already.
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#15 Douglas Sunlin

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:33 AM

What about UV filters and polarizer?

These are two that you can't duplicate in-computer. They might actually serve to emphasize some aspects of the sunset.

You've inspired me to experiment. :)
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#16 Adam Thompson

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 08:25 PM

Im curious how different people would expose this frame if they had it. I think Id go a couple inches to the left of the sun, away from any clouds, and spot that. ?
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#17 Bill Totolo

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:21 AM

I use an incident meter.
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#18 Adam Thompson

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:19 PM

I use an incident meter.


I've only shot into the sun two times with a film camera. Well one more time with a S8 on reversal b&w with no ND's so that one didn't work so well, but was still used. Anyway, I'm always spotting like crazy, paranoid about where I'm centering things. I assume doing sunsets with incident, you are just pointing the disc toward the sun?
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#19 Steven Grant James

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 01:15 PM

I assume doing sunsets with incident, you are just pointing the disc toward the sun?


I was planning to point the incident meter towards the sky, just to the left/right of the sun. I'm not sure if pointing the disc directly at the sun would be a good idea. Then again I do want some people in the foreground to be in sillouette so in esence i will be stopping down a little anyway. I want all the color to come from the sky.

By the way thanks for all the helpful responses guys! I will likely check out the various filters I can rent out, maybe an ND/tobacco.. I will have to do a little experimentation.

My only worry is that there are other shots I want to get in a similar light, so I will be looking to keep the filter on for close ups of actors as well. Should that work out okay? Maybe all I need is an 85b? <_< :huh:
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#20 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 09:06 PM

I was planning to point the incident meter towards the sky, just to the left/right of the sun.


:blink: How do you point an incident meter "just to the left or the right of the sun"? Don't you mean a spot (reflectance) meter?

Use a spot meter to read different parts of the sky and foreground, decide how bright you want those areas to appear in frame and expose accordingly. There's no such thing as a "correct" exposure for a sunset; different exposures will reveal different (and interesting) looks out of the sky/clouds, the sunball, and the foreground.

Oh, and don't spot meter the sun itself, unless you want a very short career! ;)
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