Avoiding Overexposed Sky in Run and Gun
Posted 23 May 2011 - 08:10 PM
I'm working out the final part of our shotlist and I'm trying to remember the best way to avoid blown-out sky in Run and Gun / Steadicam situations.
Normally I'd just drop in the proper Grad ND, but I've seen how bad that can look on my GlideCam.
Any professional tips?
Best I've heard is just expose for faces, people, primary components of the scene and fix the sky in post. I guess expose for the sky and use bounce cards could work, but not very well when you're moving.
(Sorry if this is in the wrong category)
Posted 23 May 2011 - 10:11 PM
Also using a better grad, the right grad will help. I prefer a soft edge ND.6 or ND.9 and you can move it around in the matte box to control how much of the sky and your horizon line ect. It does work best on locked off shots, but even on a glide-cam with enough practice and a good take it'll should work just fine.
Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:16 AM
I think the best way would be a smart combination of all the above.
the cheapest and easiest would be a polarizer and it can get you enough data to manipulate in post but be aware that while moving, the degrees in which the light falls on the cam might change and you might go back to blown out sky in some edges of the frame.
Posted 24 May 2011 - 04:09 PM
If it's sunny, you can follow the talent with white board (shiny board wobbles too visibly when reflecting direct lihgt, imo, but might work in some cases) and if the ground isn't in frame, cover it with a white bedsheet, which will bounce a lot of light into the talent's face without looking fake.
Polarizers are okay...generally they darken the part of the sky that's already darkest so I am not sure I'd use one with a steadicam or wide angle move. At least not always. What are you shooting on? Money can definitely buy highlight detail...
Posted 28 May 2011 - 03:01 PM
A little more about the shot conditions:
1. Canon 550D, Glidecam HD4000, Hooded monitor down low for exposure / composition / focus monitoring.
2. Enviro: Baseball field, some shots showing actors, dry manicured dirt and sky, some showing actors, green grass, trees and partial sky
3. Lenses: Mostly Tokina 11-16 fixed f2.8, some selective shots using Rokkor 58mm f1.2 for shallow DOF and one macro shot using Zeiss Jena MC Flektogon which doesn't really enter into the equation.
4. I also have one shot that I'm doing on a track dolly which should be a lot easier using an ND Grad
5. Altitude about 5230 ft, so air is pretty clear, little haze.
I've got static shots mostly under control with 4x4 filters (Schneider polarization and a .6 ND Grad)
As far as lighting control goes I own the following:
(a) Reversible fabric bounce ring (a little like a car dash reflector). It has a silver, gold, silver/gold and white fabric. I think the white diffuse fabric would be best considering all the movement.
( I own 1 Mole 2k, (2) 1Ks and (2) midgets. I suppose I could rent some HDMI lighting like a couple Joker Bugs ? Either way I'd be renting the generator(s). Then I have to be concerned about color correction if I use tungstens (or maybe not if I wanted to accentuate morning golden-hour effect.)
With our current schedule and field availability we would be mostly shooting in the mornings from 8am through lunch until 1pm. (Oh boy, Sun continuity monitoring :-) In the morning we would be saved from direct back sunlight as the field is at the bottom of a hill, but the overhead sky from about 30 degrees above the eastern horizon to full noon to 3:30pm is generating direct overhead light. Polarization should help a decent amount on the horizon as the sun climbs to its zenith.
Unfortunately almost all of the shots include the ground, so it would be problematic to put a fabric drop on the ground, unless it was a closeup or a ground-up POV.
I think the answer is going to be "whatever it takes" -- within budget. Additional bounce lighting, selective polarization (a little tricky on wide angle), and man-made if necessary. Probably have to do it shot-by-shot -- some much for free-form flying.
Thanks for all of your suggestions. I really value all of your experience as I garner mine. (We're doing this for the first time as you can tell. If I had even a small budget, I'd at least be using a 7D or 5DMkII. Ironically the camera cost is a relatively small % of total cost even on our shoot -- around $10 - 12k)
Oh well. Fun on a micro-budget.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 03:58 PM
The t2i has very good highlight detail for the price. For exteriors, I shoot neutral with highlight tone priority and underexpose half a stop (relative to a meter; half a stop under looks normal to the eye) and don't have problems with contrast, generally. It's not great, but for the price… With the hvx I used a polarizer and grads for everything, but with a t2i or better it's kind of nice being able to skip them.
A polarizer can, however, reduce glare on water and foliage dramatically. So at noon, judicious use may be in order... You can also just use it at half strength, too. I mean I guess it's a matter of taste.
None of the lights you own will do any good. Jokers are okay, but they will slow you down tremendously and aren't that strong once diffused (and if they're not diffused they look sourcey, could be good or a problem depending on how naturalistic your style is). Generators are very loud and slow to move. Better to do a good job with limited gear than rent more than your crew can use effectively. Moving hard lights, a moving sun, alternating use of polarizers and switching f-stops…seems like a recipe for disjunctive cuts. But then again I don't really know what I'm doing; I am still a student...some people use this stuff well and certainly it's possible to.
Personally, I would just keep it simple, buy a few 8x4s of shiny board from home depot or a lighting rental place and use them for fill, white side for direct light, shiny side if it's overcast or in shade. C-stands for static shots, hollywood them as need be for moving shots… These are much more flexible than 6x6s because they're faster to set up and can be moved easily by a couple crew members or held down with a single c-stand. Also shiny boards are more reflective than lame.
I would also consider a 12x12 eighth stop silk if you're concerned about harsh light for reverse shots and at noon. A little slow to use, but still faster than lights, super cheap to rent, and works well and continuity will be okay since it retains some directionality. A couple tricks to avoid eye shadows under a silk: fill with white board from below; hang a large flag over the silk so there's less toppy light and more from the sides.
Edited by M Joel Wauhkonen, 28 May 2011 - 04:01 PM.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 04:39 PM
Your best chance is shoot later in the day with the sun on the side or behind you, if the sun is in front of the camera the sky will burn out. Side light in your best option to have a good light on the actors with everything else within contrast range of your Canon, use a fill on the actors just to make them "pop" a little.
Experiment, go out and take some pictures with the sun at different angles an positions on the horizon, see what fits you best.