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too bright for night?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 12:43 AM

Hi everybody,

I shot a pilot for a web series (now online as episode 1 part 1 and episode 1 part 2.)
It was a fast shoot with rewriting and additions and a lot of new stuff thrown at us, which is all part of the job. I always work to give clients what they want and to make it look good; part of that is making sure that they get everything they absolutely need to edit a complete piece in good quality, rather than half that's great but means they'll have no show.

Consequently, I didn't take as many chances with exposure as I might have otherwise. The director was concerned that the image seemed on set a bit bright for night and yeah, could have been a bit, but they wanted both spookiness and for the audience/demographic of teen boys to fall in love with the lead so I felt that I had to light her cleanly and look for most of the spookiness in the set and story. They were fairly happy and since we had no time to test prior to the shoot and were on a double speed schedule for two overnights, small crew, big areas to light at times, small generators,long runs, last minute changes, I played it somewhat safe to make sure that I made the day.

I'm curious though how low people have gone in exposures on faces such as the caucasian lead in this, if you're using IREs. I stayed around 60 IREs for the most part. I would have liked to go lower and experiment but I felt that at the speed at which we were moving, I was able to keep a more or less constant look, perhaps a bit bright but justified somewhat by sources in the story and in some shots, and that kept her looking somewhat naturally glamorous as I was asked to do.

I shot with my HVX-200, stock lens, 720P 24PN, Cine D, played with gamma and some other settings a bit but don't have them here. There was a monitor but most of the time it didn't get set up because of how we moving.

Here's a link if you want to look. It's not by far my best stuff but in a way I'm interested in thoughts on something that is a kick off episode and was made under frantic conditions a lot of the time. I figure that no matter what the conditions, in general it better be watchable because the viewers don't care; they've had their own hard days and still had to do their jobs and now they just want to watch something good.

http://www.oldburyhi...e-party-part-1/

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#2 Aaron Moorhead

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 09:18 AM

Yeah mate, looks like you've diagnosed it. It's a bit too bright, but also, you might have wanted to soften it up a bit on her face. I think the problem people will have is that it feels unmotivated -- what light at night gives a strong, hard, white light? To me, the moon is dim, soft, and "silvery," which I take to mean more of a backlight, not something you can really get away with for a strong key. I also think you can underexpose your leading lady by a stop or so and still keep the beauty of her face, just keep that eyelight going and throw a silk up, and we're all in love.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 10:12 AM

Tim, I am going to disagree with you and Aaron and say that this doesn't look too bright for me, considering the environment you're supposed to be simulating here. That looks naturalistic, maybe not dramatic and moody enough for what you are going for, but certainly it looks like what it is: nighttime with artificial illumination.

What bothers me hugely is that when you cut to the two overhead long-shots from the roof or from a crane you can clearly see a double worklight on the light pole. I've been to parties just like this, and while people employ unorthodox lighting at outdoor keggers, they don't go through the trouble of climbing up poles to rig up worklights. To me this is your biggest problem, so much that I don't think those shots should even be included.

If you do feel the footage is too light, why not just darken it down? You can certainly pull this off without it being obvious what you've done. Far worse is if you shoot too dark and try to pull detail out of pure blacks. . .
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#4 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 11:56 AM

Hi,


Thanks guys. I would go less overall bright a bit next time, although fortunately it is opposed to be a night scene under artificial illumination, i.e. by the lights in the story at the location, so if people do think that then it should be accepted okay. In fact, that double worklight on the pole is actually there as
part of the parking lot lighting at the location that we used. I was glad that shot was because I like the high shot and seeing the worklight in there
offers a justification for the lighting.

I didn't edit this project . I think that by not using one or two other of certain shots that we did, such as showing the exterior of the open but roofed structure where the dance takes place, it's easy to think that this is more of your typical keg party in a field rather than one at a site that is being taken over for this party but that is used otherwise as an outdoor venue and so does in fact have installed, if rickety, parking lot (parking field ?) lights and a roofed structure.

I was actually worried that people might feel that the light is too white considering the type of light on the pole. (it is funny by the way that the location has
mounted that basic worklight and not a hardier outdoor light for its parking lot.) Of course we were overpowering the off white color of the worklight on the pole with enough of my lights (got a rental too!) so that we weren't relying on that light ion the pole for any illumination in that shot.

I also am bugged when I see that the takes they use of the heroine entering are the ones in which the light with the theatrical green gel is also catching her with a green nose shadow but they must have been the best choice for something the editor saw.

Thanks for looking. When I have some time I want to do some tests and see how in the same situation I could maybe work to still insure that we get everything and yet get moodier and more dramatic by making some different choices (within the same schedule/crew/etc. parameters.)
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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:53 PM

I think that exposure can work as night time as long as you have a shot which justifies it.
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Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

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