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#1 Rich Hibner

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 02:53 AM

What would be a good approach to get a shot like this. There's a scene that requires a character to stand in front of a storm as it approaches. Probably right at dusk. Of course it wouldn't actually be safe by having some talent actually standing in front of a thunder storm, so my guess would be Green Screen/Blue Screen. I've never worked with it before and don't really know the proper lighting for one. I'm guessing you would film the talent in front of a green screen and post the thunder storm rolling in. Would you put the talent in the same location as the storm just film it at two different times? One with storm-talent not there...Same shot same place talent there, no storm and mix the two? I'm really lost on how to achieve this shot. Much guidance would be appreciated. Here's pic for reference.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 12:27 PM

If the talent's head does not intersect the horizon line, then you could just shoot the wide shot with the talent (hopefully in overcast light) and replace the sky above them with a soft-edge split-screen in post. Even if they slightly broke through the horizon, you could probably get away with a soft-edge split above them.

If they are really framed with their body against the sky, then you need to create a key around them. Now if the real sky was somewhat bright and washed-out and they were somewhat silhouette, an efx person could probably just create a luminence key around them. If the sky were intensely blue and clear (maybe with a Pola to help), then it could serves as a semi-bluescreen around the person to create a chroma key, though you probably won't have the proper soft daylight on them like on an overcast day (unless you can fly a silk over everything.)

If the person is closer to lens, and is framed against the storm, then you'd probably want to put them against a blue or greenscreen. You can either do that outdoors in natural light or indoors and light the person for that soft overhead skylight effect, light the blue or green separately.
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#3 Bob Woodhead

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 12:49 PM

More detail on the green/blue aspect.... the choice of blue/green is primarily not to have any wardrobe, objects, etc too close in color to the blue/green - either keys just as well. Separate your talent as much as possible from the screen to avoid green spill. Light the screen EVENLY, and not too HOT. (emphasis intended - these are important points) Contrary to many posts you'll see, it's not necessary to backlight talent with straw gel to help "separate" the key. Light your talent to match the composited background. Locked off background plates are easiest to composite. Beware shiny objects (even vinyl jackets have bitten me) that might reflect the green/blue. If you're shooting DV, try to use a software keyer designed for 4:2:0 video. You can also turn your camera 90 degrees (shoot talent on long frame axis) to increase your keying resolution.
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#4 Eric Clark

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:20 AM

I don't know what kind of thunderstorms you get where you are, but if you could catch this at the right time, I'd shoot it as is. Texas thunderstorms can get nasty, but I wouldn't dub 'em to be dangerous, at least not when they're a couple miles off - as it seems such in this photograph.
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#5 Andrew McCarrick

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:01 PM

I don't know what kind of thunderstorms you get where you are, but if you could catch this at the right time, I'd shoot it as is. Texas thunderstorms can get nasty, but I wouldn't dub 'em to be dangerous, at least not when they're a couple miles off - as it seems such in this photograph.


If you do shoot as is... remeber that (quoting the weather channel here) "if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning."... so just take that into account. So if you do shoot this live and not on green screen, I'd say keep everybody inside a building or car, that doesn't need to be outside until absolutely necessary. i.e; talent, crew that doesn't need to set-up equipment, ect.. And might I suggest making sure that if you use a boom pole, have the hand positions (if not the whole thing) insolated with rubber.
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:31 PM

This is going to be the worst advice from a safety standpoint... shoot on a storm's approach. I did that for a lakeside scene in DV. Sure, you can do it green screen. But there's just something about the matching light and wind in the subject's hair. We waited months for a decent storm to roll into the area. It took a long take with no dialog because of the wind. There was no time for setting up any reflectors, which would have blown over anyway. We didn't have time for cut-aways either. But the shots we got were dynamic, awesome and positively buzzed from the reality of the storm.

The great thing about DV is how easy it is to shoot from the shoulder and on battery. Get another crew member to brace the back of the camera man since the wind can take him by surprise. Depending on the angle of the sun you may not need any fill from lights or reflectors anyway because of the clouds. The only real hassle will be dialog. Record that as a reference track and loop it later. Rehearse the hell out of the scene so you won't have to deal with retakes. Get the master shot and coverage quickly from the shoulder.

If we had thought about our shoot and done it this way, we may have had a much stronger scene. We showed up too late and had to, later, run the dialog as voice-overs. Not the strongest approach, directorially. I also got my truck stuck in the beach sand and had to be pulled out by a fisherman with a four wheel drive. I was a walking pile of muck by the time I was done.

These are just ideas. I wouldn't want to be the one who talks you into getting struck by lightening.
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