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Music video shooting (outdoor)


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#1 Alexander Skuratov

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:48 PM

Hello. I have not too much money to rent a lot of HMIs and a generator, so I made that lighting scheme for my upcoming music video.

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The time and sun angle on the picture are pretty average because I do not know the location yet. So, there are my questions:

1) Does the size of the bounce card is enough for the current placement?
2) How to mess with the change of the sun azimuth angle during the day? It's pretty hard to make whole music video for just two hours; I want to have something about four hours. I have to change the position of the bounce card during the day or should I leave it motionless?
3) Could I use 2k Arri fresnel head with CTB gel as a kicker at the lead singer if I have the exposure value like 15EV in the scene?
4) What about the sun elevation? What elevation value in degrees would be nice for my lighting scheme?

Thank you a lot.
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#2 Guy Holt

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:47 PM

I have not too much money to rent a lot of HMIs and a generator, so I made that lighting scheme for my upcoming music video....The time and sun angle on the picture are pretty average because I do not know the location yet. So, my question (is).. How to mess with the change of the sun azimuth angle during the day? It's pretty hard to make whole music video for just two hours; I want to have something about four hours. I have to change the position of the bounce card during the day or should I leave it motionless?


I have always found reflector boards to be of limited use on this type of production because the light usually changes so rapidly that the footage never cuts together. In one shot the sun is out and you have something to bounce, in the next shot the sun is behind a cloud and the lighting doesn’t match. Even when you are blessed with a cloudless day the sun moves so rapidly across the sky that the modeling on your talent changes from beginning to end. Shooting elaborate productions like music videos or dramatic scenes, you need lights in order to maintain continuity between shots. If you plan your shots properly, you don’t need as big of HMIs as you may think. With proper planning you can get away with nothing more than a 4k and 1.2 which you can run on a modified 7500W Honda EU6500is with a Transformer/Distro that provides a single 60Amps/120V circuit.

The approach that I find works best is to choose a location that allows you to shoot the establishing master shot of the entire band when the sun is in a backlight position. Up to that point shoot the close coverage of singles or two shots under a full silk. Shooting the close coverage under a silk offers a number of advantages. The silk takes the directionality out of the sun and knocks down its’ level by two and half stops so now you can use smaller HMIs to create consistent modeling in all the close-ups. Shooting into talents' down side under a silk, I find that a 4k through a diffusion frame is a sufficient key source for a good size two shot. If the 4k is the new Arri M40 with the Arrimax reflector you will have output close to that of a 6k Par. When shooting close coverage under a silk, nets behind your talent will control the background from blowing out.

There are a number of advantages to waiting to shoot the wide masters of the entire band until the sun has moved around to a back light position. One, your background is also back-lit so the discrepancy in exposure between the background and your talent to camera is not that great and so you can open up to gain exposure of your talent in the foreground without burning out the background. Also, when your background is backlit, it does not over expose because of the discrepancy in levels under the silk and outside the silk – it helps to strike a good balance. Also, your background looks better because it is not flatly lit, but has some contrast. Finally, with the sun in a backlight position, the shadows of the silk frame and stands are thrown forward, which enables you to frame wider before picking up the shadow of the hardware.

Guy Holt, Gaffer, SceenLight & Grip, Lighting and Grip Sales in Boston.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 04:08 AM

Mind the tide.
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#4 Phil Connolly

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:57 AM

Hi Alexander

By coincidence, I attempted the very similar shot last Sunday for a music video I'm working on.

See attached still, this shot was taken at about 5pm - so the suns low and contrast is a bit high.

We were working with a tiny budget with no room for lighting. I think our result was a bit too contrasty but not terrible and I'm hopeing when we come to grade the footage that we can soften the contrast on the faces a bit. We were shooting on the Panasonic AF-101 which wasn't ideal, as its lattitude is quite limited.

For the style and concept of video were going for, I think the lighting was acceptable - but if I was going for something more glossy - we would have had to look at lighiting it a bit more. This sort of thing is very difficult in the UK anyway, as the weather is very hit and miss.

In terms of using a reflector, we were using bed sheets and they worked fine on the close ups, but didn't really do very much on the wides. But you can get away with a bit more contrast in the wides. The Sun will move during the day and if you don't have much of lighting budget this is going to be a problem. We got round this by working fast - we only shot at each location for an hour or so. You might be able to cheat your close ups and move the performers round a bit to more favorable angles.

But the main challenges we found with working on the beach was the wind. Reflectors are just huge sails and you will need plenty of support to hold them down. We also stuggled keeping the performers hair under control in the wind.

Good luck

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#5 Alexander Skuratov

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 03:37 AM

Thank you for your answers, they've helped me a lot.

I've decided to build a 5x3m frame (made of PVC pipes and bleached muslin) to diffuse the backlight and mount it on two 60" avengers with boom arms. Also I'll use 4k ARRI HMI with frost as a key light. I hope that HMI would run with 5kW 220v generator (6kW one isn't available for me).

If everything goes well I'll put some "making of" photos and the final cut here.
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