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Extensive Tracking / Sun


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#1 Alan Lampert

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:24 PM

In a few weeks, I'm going to be shooting a project which involves tracking a character out of a large Toys R' Us store and walking parallel with the character as he meanders through the parking lot of the store (his left side is facing the camera). As he walks camera left, the sun will be setting in the sky and thus directly in the frame. Just for clarification, this means that the sun is shining on the character's right side, so he will most likely be in shadow as he walks to the point of view of the camera.

We're going to be shooting the Kodak Vision 2 OR Vision 3 (we'll determine after the camera tests) 500T on super 16mm. This is most likely hard to visualize without story boards and never seeing the actual location, but what are some general problems I'm going to run into shooting with the setting sun directly in the lens? The setting sun is not nearly as intense as the sun, say, at noon, so ideally it won't completely blow out the entire shot and we'll still have plenty of definition and dynamics to play with.

Possible pitfalls? Things to avoid?

Thanks.
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#2 John Holland

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:38 PM

Just out of interest how do you know it will be sunny on that day ?
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:21 PM

Just out of interest how do you know it will be sunny on that day ?


Ha ha, good point John.

But one more detail we need to know is what lenses will you be using? That'll give you an idea of how much sun flare you'll get. I've also heard of people tilting their 85 filter down a bit to lessen flare, but I've found just having it on there flat works fine.

It all depends on whether you want your actor to be dark and completely silhouetted, if you want some detail in the shaded side of his face, or if you want it properly exposed. Having an assistant running along with a bounce board might be a good idea if you wanna bring down the contrast just a bit.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 08:54 PM

Do you want the flare or do you want to avoid it as much as possible?
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#5 Alan Lampert

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 07:08 PM

Do you want the flare or do you want to avoid it as much as possible?


If I wanted to avoid it as much as possible, what are some tactics?

And in response to how I know whether it will be sunny or not on the day we shoot, I don't. Of course I don't know this, but we'll reschedule the shoot if it's too cloudy. The sun is essential to a piece of the story.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 08:18 PM

Well, a mattebox with a tilting front stage is helpful. Try to minimize the number of filters. Use an 85ND rather than an 85 and an ND for example. other than that, if the sun is in frame you kind of have to take what you get. The lenses you choose will have a significant impact so choose them well and test if possible.
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#7 Mike Simpson

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 12:58 PM

Hey Alan,

This may go without saying but the longer you wait on the sun the less abrasive it will be. Depending on how bright you want it in the frame you might want to consider just waiting until it is on the edge of the horizon. Of course you start losing bounce light at that point too...

Run flare tests also. If your lenses are scratched up the flares can get pretty wild.
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