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Window Flares


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#1 David Regan

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 04:43 PM

I was curious as ways to avoid getting a washed out image from pointing the camera directly at a window. I recently had a shoot where there were two characters in the FG and a window in the BG, and the window essentaily flared the entire image, washing out the contrast pretty badly. However I see in films all the time, situations like this, and there is none terrible flaring. Take No Country for Old Men for instance, all the blown out windows which I think looks stunning, and there is none of this low contrast issue. Any way I can safely aim my lens at a window, blown out or not, and avoid this problem?

Thanks for the help.
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#2 timHealy

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:06 PM

Using ND on the windows to lower the outside exposure and utilizing lighting to bring up the interior levels helps.

Best

Tim
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:22 PM

It depends on the lens, they all have different flare characteristics. Roger Deakins' beloved Cooke S4's are notorious for their handling of flare.

Using a lot of filters and/or a zoom lens will have the most glass to compound flare/reflection problems; an unfiltered prime with good coating will behave better under the same conditions.
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#4 David Regan

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:30 PM

It depends on the lens, they all have different flare characteristics. Roger Deakins' beloved Cooke S4's are notorious for their handling of flare.

Filters and zoom lenses have the most glass and compound flare/reflection problems; a good prime with good coating will behave better under the same conditions.



Yeah I was using a prime, but it was an old Cooke Series2, and rather worn so I'm not sure about the quality of the coating.

Tim-
Your reply make sense to me, but I'm still a bit confused since some shots have blown out windows without washing out the image. Possibly just what Michael mentioned about coating?

I think the filter I had in was an 85 which probably didn't help with the flaring issue <_<

I have an upcoming shoot with a planned shot of someone sitting on a couch in front of a window, straight on, so I'm trying to avoid the past mistake.

Thanks all
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:34 PM

Your reply make sense to me, but I'm still a bit confused since some shots have blown out windows without washing out the image. Possibly just what Michael mentioned about coating?


Not just the coating, but the entire construction of the lens. S4's are just really good with this.

You can try a mattebox with an angled filter stage (or just swing a matte box out slightly) to minimize filter reflections. This is really more useful for small specular highlights that can create a "ghost" reflection, but it can help with general flare also.

Edit: Oh, and shooting at higher f-stops can minimize flare also, depending on the lens.
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#6 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 04:05 PM

If you can narrow your angle of view by moving the camera far back and use a longer lens, then you can manage your flares a lot better.
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#7 robert duke

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 11:23 AM

Read a book about the Zone system for exposure.

Understanding the zone system will help you understand how to let the window blowout and not created a bad flare.

Either reducing the light coming into the window and/ or raising the level of the interior to closer to the exterior level will help with this issue.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 11:35 AM

Either reducing the light coming into the window and/ or raising the level of the interior to closer to the exterior level will help with this issue.


And don't use a lens prone to flaring.

Besides ND on a window, I've sometimes gotten away with putting a frame of Double Net Scrim outside the window -- it only cuts one-stop but sometimes that's enough to stop the flaring.
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#9 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 02:03 PM

Most grip departments keep a "camera ready double" which is just a double net, usually 12x12 , in pristine condition for just such a shot.
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