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falling off to black


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#1 Dave Plake

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 01:53 AM

What is the best way to have a subject lit and have her fall off to black. Beauty light, soft, flattering, but the light falls off so taht nothing can be seen around her. Any tricks?


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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 03:00 AM

By "falling off" do just you mean just a black background? That's most easily achieved by a black velvet curtain that's well-flagged off from the key and fill lights. With a film stock or video gamma curve that "dips" the shadow response or crushes the black level, it shouldn't be hard. Just be sure to flag as much light off the backdrop as possible.

Here's a still from a music video I gaffed this weekend. The backdrop was just two 12x12' solids, and the lighting was two 3/4 backlights of 1200 HMI pars w/medium lenses mounted vertically, and the key was a 4K HMI bounced into a 4x8' sheet of beadboard (visible at the top of frame). I thought I might have to set a big teaser to keep the key from contaminating the BG, but when we looked at it we decided the ratio was sufficient. We were shooting Super 16 7217, and the still was taken with my cheap little Sony pocket digital still camera.

screenshot.jpeg
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#3 Kendal Miller

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 09:38 AM

If your shooting video I would recommend using a waveform to ensure the BG falls below 0IRE to ensure its a true black.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 06:12 PM

If your shooting video I would recommend using a waveform to ensure the BG falls below 0IRE to ensure its a true black.


Well technically it would never fall below zero if the camera is setup for zero IRE. It would touch zero and go no further. A black level below zero on the waveform would mean that the camera is crushing the blacks.

But yes, a waveform monitor can help you see if you've got any detail or noise hovering just above your chosen black level.
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