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#1 Cale Erickson

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:18 PM

Hello,

I am shooting a night exterior, Steadicam shot that requires a couple HMI Pars lined up in the street. At one point in the shot, the camera approaches the window and sees the action taking place, briefly, in the house. My question is this: How can I see through a window without seeing the reflections of my lights?

I have heard several options forthis. One is the possibility of avoiding the reflections by placement of the lights. Problem with this is I can't afford a test with ALL my lights and wont know until I'm on set. I have taken a few out there, but can't afford to do all of them. I cannot remove the glass from the window pane. I have also heard of non-reflective filters/gel, but have done research and found nothing.

Can anybody provide some expertise on this, any help is appreciated!

Thank you so much for your time.
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:32 PM

Hello,

I am shooting a night exterior, Steadicam shot that requires a couple HMI Pars lined up in the street. At one point in the shot, the camera approaches the window and sees the action taking place, briefly, in the house. My question is this: How can I see through a window without seeing the reflections of my lights?

I have heard several options forthis. One is the possibility of avoiding the reflections by placement of the lights. Problem with this is I can't afford a test with ALL my lights and wont know until I'm on set. I have taken a few out there, but can't afford to do all of them. I cannot remove the glass from the window pane. I have also heard of non-reflective filters/gel, but have done research and found nothing.

Can anybody provide some expertise on this, any help is appreciated!

Thank you so much for your time.


Unfortunately, at least in the real world, you *can't* avoid reflections. Even if you were to go through the hassle of tracking them out digitally, that would look silly too, because obviously in order to see, you need a light of some kind illuminating something. Otherwise, there'd be no light.

You can minimize through placement, the obtrusive shadows, or you can get really intricate, like hiding/disguising lights.

I've seen commercial photographs of highly reflective objects where the photographers would get really really clever and actually dress up diffusion boxes like they were window panes.

IDK how feasible such obfuscation would be in your situation with HMIs, however.

My advice would be not to stress out about it too much. In the '50s it was perfectly acceptable to just blatantly leave all the movie light reflections as they were, even on stage sets that were designed to give the appearance of outdoors.
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#3 Chris Durham

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 01:58 PM

Unfortunately, even despite whatever testing you may be able to do you'll rarely be able to figure out how to work around reflections until the day. I often find myself working in a very narrow margin between two or three reflections, lifting lights to crazy heights, flagging a light at the last minute before going for picture, or hoping that a bright reflection that lasts for just a few frames will simply be forgiven. One of my least favorite things is windows on doors. You set lights, frame everything up just right, and call a camera rehearsal and then you see your lights bright as day when the actor swings open the door. Glasses are lots of fun too - especially in a small room where you can only get the light so high. What's even worse is creating a scene where you count on the reflections. I shot 3 setups in a scene this week where we see an actor's reflection on purpose - one of which we were revealing another actor in the background through reflection. In a small hotel room lit with china balls and the camera on a pee-wee dolly you can imagine how fun it was to get this set up. The best advice I can give is to allot time for this shot and figuring out the difficulties.
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#4 Matt Read

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 01:11 PM

Cale,
My advice would be to do three things. First, try to place the lights to minimize their reflection on the window. Depending on which direction you will be looking into the window from, the placement of the lights and the desired look you wish to achieve, try placing the lights either extremely high or extremely low.

Second, get a polarizing lens filter. You will lose some light, but it will also dramatically cut down on reflections.

Third, spray some hairspray on the window. This will give the glass a matte look, rather than the normal glossy. You will still be able to see through just fine, too.

Also, as Chris mentioned, have your AD schedule extra time for this shot, as it might require several takes to get everything right.

Finally, during all this don't forget about your own reflection and/or shadow. It would be terrible to watch the dailies and find that there are no lights reflecting off the window, but there is a giant reflection of you and the camera.

Edited by Matt Read, 04 March 2009 - 01:11 PM.

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#5 Cale Erickson

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 08:14 PM

Thank you so much for all of your experienced input. I had a feeling it would be a "day of" problem, but I am a person who likes to be prepared and has a hard time saving much for "day of" prep. Of course, this is film, and it happens all the time anyways. All your ideas are great and I will implement all of them, I know and hope it is going to come down to strategic placement. Wish me luck and thanks again!

Cale
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