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Shooting outside - best tips


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#1 tommaclachlan

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 06:44 AM

Hi there,

I'm wondering what are the best tips for shooting outside in the middle of the day? This is a general "top tips" question.

I'm shooting an interview outside at midday on a winter's day (In Australia). Harsh sun.

The shot is a clean single, mid shot and close up. The director has asked for a "natural" look.

I'm simply putting the sun behind the subject (the sun is quite low in winter) and using a reflector from his front left.

Would this be the best way to go for a standard, well illuminated mid shot? Would you use a diffuser over his head to remove harshness from the sun? I also have a litepanel LED 1 x 1, which could provide some fill. (Though it may not be enough light at that time of day in full sun).

Would you put him in shadow? Dappled light?

Any thoughts would be wonderful!

Cheers,

Tom
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 11:08 PM

Hi there,

I'm wondering what are the best tips for shooting outside in the middle of the day? This is a general "top tips" question.

I'm shooting an interview outside at midday on a winter's day (In Australia). Harsh sun.

The shot is a clean single, mid shot and close up. The director has asked for a "natural" look.

I'm simply putting the sun behind the subject (the sun is quite low in winter) and using a reflector from his front left.

Would this be the best way to go for a standard, well illuminated mid shot? Would you use a diffuser over his head to remove harshness from the sun? I also have a litepanel LED 1 x 1, which could provide some fill. (Though it may not be enough light at that time of day in full sun).

Would you put him in shadow? Dappled light?

Any thoughts would be wonderful!

Cheers,

Tom


My goal for any day exterior interview is to find a relatively shaded/dark background because I rarely have enough firepower to compete with a fully sunlit background. That's more than half the battle right there.

Then, depending on where the sun is exactly, I like to take ALL the sun off the talent with a solid. Then I hit them with an 800w HMI Joker or two of them shot through a frame with a silk. You could put a silk overhead (or in line with the Sun, wherever it is), but if the Sun is anywhere near overhead, the silk won't be enough to take the harsh overhead shadows off your talent, which is why I prefer to just block it all out and fill the face back in with my own light to match the background as best as possible. You might be able to get away with a bounce A) if your background is dark enough and B) there is enough Sun to bounce with.

Usually, it isn't enough and more importantly, bounce isn't as easy to control particularly if you are alone and if the interview is fairly long. Using your own powered light gives you a consistent look for the length of the interview and you have total control over it. If the interview is particularly long, I'll often have to adjust the HMI during the interview (stepping away from the camera for those moments) to put scrims in or to physically move the light backwards as the background levels change.

The problem with "natural" is that "natural" is rarely good, particularly on a day exterior unless you are lucky enough to be shooting really close to magic hour, but then of course, you're limited on time.
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#3 tommaclachlan

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:07 PM

I just realised I never thanked you for your answer. It was a great help, thanks Brian.

 

I tried to do what you say and it turned out ok.

 

However, I'm interested in your thoughts on using the sun as a hair light. I love the look of the golden glow around the top of the head - but you say you take all the sun off them. Do you never use the sun as a backlight/hairlight? 


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#4 Paul Salmons

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

That "golden glow" usually comes at golden hour (about one hour before sunset). Then a bounce will usually work for anything med to CU as the sun will be providing most things in the background with a shadow unless you are on the beach. 


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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:10 PM

I just realised I never thanked you for your answer. It was a great help, thanks Brian.

 

I tried to do what you say and it turned out ok.

 

However, I'm interested in your thoughts on using the sun as a hair light. I love the look of the golden glow around the top of the head - but you say you take all the sun off them. Do you never use the sun as a backlight/hairlight? 

Thanks!

Uh, yeah, I will actually try to use the sun as a backlight IF I'm shooting late enough in the day that the Sun isn't overhead and it isn't too low to flare the lens.  Otherwise, I do just take all the sunlight off the subject, hit them with artificial light in the front, and let the ambient provide whatever backlight there might be.


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