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Large night exteriors


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#1 Chris Stones

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 08:37 AM

I have a shoot coming up which requires exterior night locations in a field or forest involving say up to fifty people. They can not carry any lights as they are trying to sneak behind enemy lines (its an American Civil War film) without being seen. So the only light they should have is the moon. And to top that off at some points it shouldn't be hard direct moon light as the director wants a change when the moon comes out from behind clouds to reveal more.

Ideally I'd like two answers, one, which would be a money is no object answer, and the other, if it had to be done on a tight budget (I will be somewhere in the middle).

Thanks
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#2 timHealy

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:05 PM

Well it sounds like you could use balloons, perhaps an HMI tungsen mix for your soft moon light look, and the something in a lift for you hardlight look. Anything from an 10 or a maxibrute up to super dinos or even if musco or bebe light if money were no object.

Much would depend on what the budget is and how big your shots actually were.

Best

Tim
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:44 PM

The basic approach to moonlight is pretty standard regardless of budget; you need a big light up high for the moonlight and something softer down low (generally somewhere opposite the moon) for fill. A bigger budget lets you use bigger lights higher up to cover a larger area (and at a higher light level). A small budget just means that you scale down the size and brightness of the overall setup. For soft moonlight you need a soft source up high -- so again, more money just allows you a bigger, heavier, and more elaborate rig.

An easy way to create soft moonlight is to use multiple HMI balloons close together. But if you also need hard moonlight, then you'll also need to mount a hard source up high.

Don't feel that you have to use the same lighting setup for the extreme wide shots as you do for the closer coverage. Sometimes you can "cheat" the extreme wide shots by shooting day-for-night or dusk-for-night; and you can also get away with harder light in the wider shots and soften it on the coverage. Low-contrast lighting tends not to look as "hard." Then you can use more manageable lighting/rigging for the coverage.

For the "gag" of moonlight coming out from behind clouds, you can control that illusion a lot with just exposure and contrast ratio (as the moon comes out the key gets brighter). You may not have to have the moonlight source as soft as you might think.
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Visual Products

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FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies