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Overpowered sun shots


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#1 Alex Fallas

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 12:18 AM

Okay so basically we will be shooting a big spec spot for myself in the summer in the deserts of California. Yes, hot. But anyhow, it's a car spot, and I'm trying to get an overpowered sunlight effect. Me and my gaffer have been going through different options but money is tight so we're trying to be crafty. I want a 2 stop overpower to get the effect I want.

The best idea we have so far is to shoot the wide shots at dawn and dusk, and overpower the mediums and closeups with a 4k, 1.2ks, jokers, and kinos for the inside of the car. So is that the best idea? there are three wides, the girl getting in the car, a wide of driving, and wide of the car stopping. Any other ideas? We were even considering strobes since I'm good friends with the clairmont guys in Burbank.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 12:32 AM

I'm not really sure what you're asking. What exactly do you mean by "overpowered sunlight"? Do you mean you simply want sunlight that's two stops overexposed? That's not hard to do. Or is it that you need to maintain the illusion of a low sun, but shot during midday?

If you want to change the angle the real sunlight is coming in, you can use mirrorboards to reflect the real sun. That will be brighter than any combination of small HMI's. You may need to silk or completely flag the real sun when it's overhead, and using negative fill can help keep up the contrast ratio.
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#3 Alex Fallas

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 12:53 PM

It's a technique more used in photography than film since it's easy to do with strobes. You light the subject with he strobes 2 stops over the sun, meter for that, then shoot it. The sun looks darker, the blues in the sky become very deep, and the subject looks very surreal. So we're trying to achieve the same effect but in film, which I'm finding to be very hard. The problem we ran into with putting a large silk over the wides was obviously the size we would need, but also that the sky and desert in the backround might get blown out. So I'm starting to think there might be a combination of in camera lighting and lots of power windows in the telecine.

Here's some examples of what I'm going for.

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#4 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 02:07 PM

Hey Alex. That's a big feat in cinematography. Strobe lights can achieve this due to the small size (easily controlled light; no spill) in relation to the huge amount of light it throws in a fraction of a second (thus allowing you to play with your shutter speed to achieve the desired effect). The only thing I can think could do it would be special effects. The big film lights needed to light the car would throw light all over your landscape in your wide shots, thus ruining your effect (think Musco lights).

Besides green screen, rotoscoping or an expensive light setup the effect you're thinking of would be extremely difficult. All the best in trying to achieve it though. Keep us updated.
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#5 Bob Hayes

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:10 PM

I have done this before in close ups.. Close ups can be achieved by building a large tent. But a solid ND9 gel behind the talent. Then light the hell out of the interior get an air-conditionioner.

For the large shots perhaps you could shoot one exposure down three stops and shoot the other normal and combine the two. There are programs that allow you to do this. If you are moving or things are moving I the shot it won't work.

If the camera is locked off there maybe a program that will use the elements that don't change from the back ground from one shot and the elements that are different, moving people for example, from the other.
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#6 Oleg Kalyan

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:46 AM

Alex, that is a great idea, in theory I though of doing it myself.
I used to do it in still photography.
I guess it all comes down to calculating of how much light needed to overpower the sun 2 stops, have to figure out that, inside the car lighting can be problematic if you want soft look, hard look from lighting outside should be no problem,
Please update how you proceed.

Cheers, Oleg.
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#7 Alex Fallas

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 02:10 AM

Thanks all for the info. I think I have some ideas on how to proceed. I'll have the set photographer take lots of pictures when and if we get this sort of thing going and update you all on it. It might be crazy but I think this is the sort of stuff we live for hehe.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 02:50 PM

The only thing I've found that can compete with the sun in a scene like that is an 18K HMI (two, in your case). And again, mirror boards can help a lot. But to get the kind of exposure difference you want between foreground and sunlit background would require you to literally FRY your talent. I'm not being facetious; they would get seriously burned. Unless, you do like Bob says and build build something to scrim or ND the background. There's a reason they use strobes for this kind of thing!

Since it's kind of a surreal effect anyway I'd do it with rear projection, so that you can light to a more comfortable level and still have the appropriate reflections on the car.

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 03:01 PM

Going a couple stops hotter than the sun works in stills because you can use strobes and short exposures. It's the short duration that makes it possible and survivable. Like Michael says, to do it for motion would fry your talent.

Could you get the effect you're looking for by working at night instead, and using one of your own lights as an overpowerable sun? Those stills have a sort of night look to them.



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