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Fill Light for Backyard Interview?


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#1 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:50 AM

I need to shoot a sit-down interview with a guy in his backyard. The yard has a huge hill right behind it, with fountains and flowers, which will be the backdrop.

I don't have any grip gear, but there is a large umbrella I can sit the guy under. This means that the hill is going to be much hotter than the man. What kind of cheap, simple light and bulb can I pick up from Home Depot or Walmart to shine on the guy at close proximity to light him? What color temp? This will be at 4pm in the afternoon. I'm shooting on the 5D Mark II.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 13 May 2009 - 08:52 AM.

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#2 Serge Teulon

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:54 AM

Hey Tom,

A hill with fountains and flowers?!? Where are you shooting this?...land of Oz?? :P

Seriously though, why do you want to put him under the umbrella?
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:54 AM

Might be a lot easier just to pick up some shiney board material. I have seen, before, some forms of insulation @ home depot which have a shiny silver coating on it which one could use as a bounce board. Also art supply stores often sell big sheets of foamcore.
Then you can just use the sun. I don't think any cheap/easy light would be enough from home depot in order to bring up his levels enough to compete against the sun (not after you throw CTO on it to balance it and loose a few stops).
Other things could be as simple as tin-foil covering some card-board....
Or, if you can throw the background out of focus, a fine mesh net stretched behind him can knock down it's level. If it's placed out of focus, it'll just darken the BG, almost like a fine black "haze" over it.
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#4 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:58 AM

The trouble is, this is a last-min request by the producers and I have no grip gear like silks. The sun will be front-lighting the guy, so I don't think bounces will work. Plus I have no grip gear to even hold the bounce board! The sun will basically be behind the camera. I was going to put him under the umbrella so he's not sitting directly in the harsh light. This is my first time shooting this type of outdoor interview, so I'm kind of clueless about it.
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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:00 AM

I'd 2nd Adrian's advise.
Use the sun to light your subject and either diffuse him with an overhead or the mesh out of focus in the bckgrd is another good alternative.
Personally I feel more inclined with the overhead to create an even fill and then perhaps bounce off some gold/silver to create a key on one side of the face.
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#6 Serge Teulon

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:02 AM

Does turning it all around, so that you have him backlit, just mean that you'll have an ugly backgrd?
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#7 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:05 AM

Does turning it all around, so that you have him backlit, just mean that you'll have an ugly backgrd?


Yeah, not really possible, because then we'd be looking at his house, not his lovely backyard of flowers and fountains. :)
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:09 AM

Grip gear schmit gear! Gaffer's tape and creative things to tape stuff to is all you need ;)
Ok, how 'bout getting some bedsheets or something thing to use to soften the light and hanging it as a nice soft silk for the usn to go through to soften it on him, and then trying to massage the BG exposure to mesh with out of focus wire thigns. You don't really need grip gear for this, you can hang it/tape it up on whatever you can, ya know?
I remember one, this meant me climbing up a tree and... well; let's not get into me falling on my ass...
Good luck.
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#9 David Rakoczy

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:15 AM

I would not fly an umbrella over him... 1/4 Silk yes... but as you said you have no grip equipment so here is an easy, effective method. Go to Lowes and buy a couple 4x8 Sheets of 1 inch Styro Insulation... it is 1 inch Beadboard ;) .. just tear the plastic covering off a wala! Try to shoot when the sun is more backlight and Fill / Key with the Bounce Boards. They are very cheap.

Like Adrian said, Art supply stores will have Foamcore. Tape those together for a lasting Beadboard/ Foamcore Bounce. These work great as 4x4s as well.
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#10 David Rakoczy

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:19 AM

For front light Sun I would go to Lowes/ Walmart and get a Shower Curtain of a thinly diffused nature and diffuse the direct sunlight. It looks beautiful! You want something thinner so as not to knock the light down too much... just take the curse out of it... soften it.
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#11 Serge Teulon

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:24 AM

Common problem....

In the past I've actually built my own frame with some 2-by-2, which i taped some diif onto, to soften the frontal sun light and then positioned a mirror behind, on the floor to create a backlight. Only when throwing the background out wasn't an option.
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#12 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:32 AM

I guess what I need is a frame or some way to hold up the shower curtain or sheet. I have no c-stands or anything like that. Any ideas?

thanks for all the quick help, guys!
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#13 Serge Teulon

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:42 AM

I like the shower curtain David!

Tom, how about a shower curtain rail with 2 broom sticks (ala goal posts) and then tape the curtain on to it. You'll probably have to wet the ground so that you can push the broom sticks into the ground...
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:05 AM

Borrow that umbrella and tape maybe a plastic curtain rod off of it and make it a big gel-frame like monstrosity and pray for calm winds...
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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:12 AM

Go to Lowes. they have everything.. it is my local Grip Store.. wish I had a real one nearby as shipping is a killer when real items are needed. Like Serge said, two poles.. a couple pa,s (friends or relatives) can be bumped up to Grip and stand there and hold it in position or even walk with it if rigging it isn't possible.. either way it is not a difficult thing to do. It really does deliver a beautiful quality of light. That mirror backlight would be my next move.. again you can get a 3x3 Mirror at Lowes.. cheap.


(not affiliated with Lowes in any fashion) :lol:

btw.. a Sheet won't work. It will knock the Sun down way too much. You mine as well place a piece of Linoleum in front of the Talent... it is gonna knock it down a ton. Especially if your BG is going to be blazing.
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#16 JD Hartman

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:30 AM

You could go to your nearest fabric store and buy a couple yards of artificial silk. If you're luckly they will have it in a wide width, otherwise someone has some sewing to do.
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#17 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:44 AM

What I did for a frame was went to Home Depot (Yeah that's right David, HOME DEPOT :lol: ) and bought some 1/2 pcv pipe. I think they come in 10 foot sections. Then I cut them down to the size I needed to make the frame I wanted. Then I just bolted a clamp to the sides with a washer in between and clamped them to my old microphone stands. Not pretty, but they can be rotated as needed. I use them for soft boxes, but they may work for your purpose.

All in all it took me an hour and 10 bucks, max.

see here:
clamp
frame

Tom
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#18 David Rakoczy

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:44 AM

I carry a 12x12 & 6x6 1/4 Silk. Full Silk knocks the light down to much (of course this all depends on each application). A 1/4 Silk overhead when in mid day Sun with a Reflector punched thru a 4x4 or 6x6 Diffuser and some bounce Fill/ Edge works great but this thread reminds me to order a 12x12 Shower Curtain for the next time I am in Tom's situation. Fortunately, I have been able to maneuver the Talent so the Sun is back-ish but Shower Curtain looks great for front light.
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#19 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:10 AM

If sheets are too thick, what type of shower curtain to get for a silk? I found a way to rig the thing.
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#20 David Rakoczy

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:26 AM

Very very thin.. very thin... well.. not thin really.. any sheet of plastic that is not too opaque. The nice thing about Shower Curtain is that you already have grommets down one side. You'll just have to hit a few stores and see what is available.. open it up.. look through it.. hold it up to the light...

more here :

Shower Curtain
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