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Gucci Advert Discussion


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#1 Phil Moreton

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:15 AM

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to hear and get some advice for a fashion shoot I am about to do.

Firstly please look at this Gucci advert:
Gucci

I'm just interested to hear a few comments on how much of the softening was done in camera with diffusion nets vs digitally. Obviously they definitely did a lot of post work but the image looks like they would of used some filtration in front or behind the glass. What would be the best way to achieve this in camera? Filters of nets?

Next is lighting;
- the Gucci adverts always have that golden warmth due to their label etc. Do you think that the majority of that is created in post? If not what type of gel or temperature are they setting to create that golden feel. I think the first link I gave was shot on Alexa so flashing the shadows would not be possible.
- All the lighting is frontal on the close ups of the model, with very little nose shadow, only one shot I think has a hair highlight. What would be the best light currently on the market that is lightweight, creates a very soft quality of light with enough intensity to get a good exposure?
I need something that I can get my spark to follow a steadicam with.

Any advice or feedback would as usual be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all!
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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 10:56 AM

It's always hard to tell digital diffusion from lens diffusion, and perhaps it doesn't really matter which way it was done. If you want to do it in camera, and want to stay true to that 'Hollywood Glamour' look, try nets or maybe Classic softs.

As far as the lighting goes, it's very soft and frontal. In the Gucci ad, they are balancing against night shots of the city, so they may have used something as small as a 150w lamp with a softbox. If you are shooting under similar conditions then you could try the same, or perhaps something larger like a 300w or 650w for more punch at a greater distance. A heavily diffused 2ft Kino would also work handheld. There are many options, it all depends what sort of light levels you need to work at.
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#3 Phil Moreton

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:15 AM

It's always hard to tell digital diffusion from lens diffusion, and perhaps it doesn't really matter which way it was done. If you want to do it in camera, and want to stay true to that 'Hollywood Glamour' look, try nets or maybe Classic softs.

As far as the lighting goes, it's very soft and frontal. In the Gucci ad, they are balancing against night shots of the city, so they may have used something as small as a 150w lamp with a softbox. If you are shooting under similar conditions then you could try the same, or perhaps something larger like a 300w or 650w for more punch at a greater distance. A heavily diffused 2ft Kino would also work handheld. There are many options, it all depends what sort of light levels you need to work at.



I wouldn't really want to be shooting wide open on a lens tho...
But I do see your point of course, I'll check ambient light and architecture practicals at the location.
I was thinking maybe a brieze 77 diffused or a barfly 400, again diffused. Maybe even a joker bug.
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:28 AM

I think the thing is that once you put diffusion on, it really doesn't matter what lamp you use, as long as it's giving you the exposure you need. I would tend to use a softbox with a grid, so I can control spill a little better.
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#5 Phil Moreton

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:34 AM

I think the thing is that once you put diffusion on, it really doesn't matter what lamp you use, as long as it's giving you the exposure you need. I would tend to use a softbox with a grid, so I can control spill a little better.


Well maybe the jokerbug with a chimera soft box and honeycomb would achieve that then.
I think the gold is more from the dress, makeup, hair, and general gold elements at the location. No?
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 11:38 AM

Yeah, wardrobe and makeup are doing a lot of the work here, but I think there has been a light sepia tone added to the image in post, or maybe they have desaturated the reds.
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#7 Justin W. King

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:47 PM

It may be too late, bu a 650 is too small for what they are doing. You should take note that the entier floor is evenly lit. I would imagine they used at least a 2k from far away. considering the lights they used as props, they might have used a much larger light.

The light behind the diffusion does matter, because of color difference, spread, and the sharpness of the light. A very directional light needs more diffusion than a large soft light.

A Joker bug might clash with the streetlights, which might be what you are going for.


This is what I saw, rushing through it.
The first shot is 2 different colored kickers at a steep angle, one warm the other cool. (it was probably graded to be as dark as it was.)
The second shot is a downlight slightly to camera right
The third shot is probably the same
The fourth shot is a kicker from camera right, theere are footlights on the curtain, and it is a studio set, and the light is placed a little ways away so that you can see the shadow of the flat.
The fifth shot is her looking up to a light that is placed in front of her, that one might be a 2k zip or chimera. there is also a backlight
The sixth Shot is downlight
The seventh shot is the dame as the second shot. Graded
The 8th shot the key is slightlly to camera left, and slightly above. Graded
The 9th shot is city Graded
The 10th Shot is what looks like 3 18ks hmi Fresnels.
The 11th shot is the same, but probably with a bounce for her face. (They might have used a 1/4 grid for the sun but I doubt it.)
The 12th shot is sidelight for camera(frontlightfor her) and probably a steep backlight from camera left.
The 13th shot is sunlight from camera left. (no diffusion)
The 14th shot is the same as the 5th shot
The 15th shot is from the front.
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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 04:31 PM

It may be too late, bu a 650 is too small for what they are doing. You should take note that the entier floor is evenly lit. I would imagine they used at least a 2k from far away. considering the lights they used as props, they might have used a much larger light.

The light behind the diffusion does matter, because of color difference, spread, and the sharpness of the light. A very directional light needs more diffusion than a large soft light.


I think it's unlikely that a 2k or larger lamp was used as a key, as they were shooting in a practical location, with what looks like limited headroom. In order to get the light at such an acute angle for the beauty shot it would have had to been fairly close, and a 2k at that range would be far too bright to balance with the city lights behind her. Another clue that the key was very close is the extreme softness of the shadows. The OP also asked for advice on what kind of lamp could easily be handheld along side a steadicam, hence the suggestion of a small tungsten unit or kino.

My statement that it doesn't matter what lamp you use to diffuse was not meant to ignore differences in color temperature or spectral qualities, I was merely saying that once you have your lamp diffused to taste it doesn't matter how you got there.
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#9 Justin W. King

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:27 PM

At first I thought all of it was a practical location, but there are some shots that look like a studio, or there are som set pieces. They might have used a smaller light for the closeup though.

You can see that ther is one shadow from a wall in the first shot where the elevator door opens. Also I look at the shot of her walking down the hallway with the city on one side and the wall on the other. I am starting to wonder whether it might be a digital city scape. I can't figure out how you could get that type of soft light pattern from a city scape, and the light on the floor seems to be coming from a soft light.

You might know some details that I don't know, but I am beginning to suspect that either there was some digital relighting and grading, the some of the city elements where added, or something else. Take a look at those scenes, and pay attention to the floor, what do you think?
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#10 Justin W. King

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:35 PM

Disregard the last post.

At first I thought all of it was a practical location, but there are some shots that look like some large lights are in play based on the floor. They might have used a smaller light for the closeup though.

You can see that ther is one shadow from a wall in the first shot where the elevator door opens. Also I look at the shot of her walking down the hallway with the city on one side and the wall on the other. I am starting to wonder whether it might be a digital city scape. I can't figure out how you could get that type of soft light pattern from a city scape, and the light on the floor seems to be coming from a soft light.

You might know some details that I don't know, but I am beginning to suspect that either there was some digital relighting and grading, the some of the city elements where added, or something else. Based in the scene it was done on location, but I have used 12k hmi's on some of the films I've worked on. I don't think it was that large, but it seems like the light for some of the scenes was some distance away. Take a look at the floor, what do you think?
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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:36 PM

The house in question is very large, and of a unique design. I believe that there are many architectural elements to the house which are permanently lit. Also the shape of the house is very unusual, which facilitates lighting through windows which appear to have nothing but a sheer drop beneath them.

Apparently this commercial is part of a short film for Gucci which will be released soon. Perhaps there will be some more clues as to how it was lit in the long form version.
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#12 rsellars

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:53 PM

Guys, I'm late entering this discussion, so my answer will probably not help Phil with his original post. But as an academic exercise, here is my theory. I believe that all of the interior night time shots were photographed on a constructed set. The exception being the first two shots (filmed at twilight) in what I believe is a practical house. Once the model heads for the elevator and enters the elevator, she is in an artificial set environment with an "interactive translight backdrop serving as the city lights. I'm basing my opinion on observation of the set and lighting as well as logical deductions based on large budget commercial protocol. Big budget commercials want to control the whole look (set design, lighting, etc.) as much as possible - and they are willing to pay for it. They want lots of flexibility and as few surprises as possible. It would be too risky and difficult to schedule a shoot like this in a practical location. First, you can't control the weather outside - even in LA. Marine layer fog, clouds, or smog could ruin the background view on any given night. Why fight changing weather and light values when a set offers complete control over lighting placement and levels for balance. It's so much easier to get a perfect balance between the foreground set and the translight. The latest generation of translights have very realistic techniques for creating light movement and flickering by using LED's, sequencers, etc. It is also possible that a greenscreen was used behind the elevator set and the background was a live plate or CG background that was composited with the foreground. Either way, I'm convinced the elevator is a set.

Another argument is architectural logic. The first shot depicts a glass room cantilevered out over a steep hill. There is no indication that there is a second story, although there could be a basement floor built into the hillside - although unlikely. It is most likely a modern ranch style house in the hills above LA. Why would such a house require an elevator? If it had an elevator, it could only go into the basement which would have no view out the glass sides. It's all an architectural cheat that "feels" logical based on the view established by the first two shots. The real practical location was shot very simply with only one key light placed in the ceiling, hidden by the trim. It seems to be a smaller size light with difussion that would be easy enough to hide and rig in a practical location. Additional fill could have been added from the interior side of the room off camera. These first two shots could have been shot with a much smaller crew on another day.

At :09 sec into the commercial, there is a medium "cowboy" shot of the model's back as she looks out the glass wall at the city lights. The position of her key light is overhead similar to the practical location shot. But in this case, the light is a larger soft source that wraps around her body more. There also appears to be some practical lights (adding some fill and hair light kicks) built into the corners of the elevator up high out of frame. Because the camera angle is low, we see their reflection in the brass trim. Another advantage to the lower camera angle is to hide the camera reflection (glass wall) behind the model's body. Needed a curvier model for that! Also notice the reflection in the glass wall. It looks like the hallway set in the previous shot when the elevator doors closed. The doors are open now - allowing room for a short dolly shot.

The next shot in the sequence (at :11 sec) is a close-up of the model. Notice that they have cheated her position in the set. Her background is now a glass corner (notice the seam above her head) without any brass trim. Yet there is still a city view in the background. How do I know it's a corner? Because that is the only way to avoid seeing a reflection of the large soft source key light in the glass wall. The source is fairly large and close - about 35-40 degrees above her head. This is indicated by the size of the reflection in her eyes and the angle of soft shadow under her chin.

Skip forward to the :18 sec mark where the model is gazing out one of the glass walls. If it is the original glass wall (180 degrees opposite the elevator doors), it would be difficult to stuff the camera into the corner of a practical elevator. Also, this is not an extremely wide angle lens - another indicator that this is a set with wild walls. Notice the key light angle has changed radically since the first elevator shot. It's aesthetically important to have her looking into her key light because we see her face. It would be very difficult to accurately position such a light if it was shot on a practical location. Remember the steep hill? Of course, not impossible with condors etc. But again, this would take a lot of time to relight under such practical conditions. On a pre-lit stage set, it would be a piece of cake to make this adjustment. It's also much easier to rig lighting inside a fake elevator with no ceiling. Given an adequate budget, most directors and DP's would prefer to spend their shooting day finessing shots with great control - rather than waiting for time consuming rigs.

Lastly, another reason that I think a translight was used instead of greenscreen is the reflections. It would be harder (though not impossible) to remove the green and keep the integrity of the subtle reflections. If greenscreen was used, then the background plates were likely shot after the main set. This would make it much easier to match the lens focal length and perspectives after the main action was finished. Perhaps any plates were shot on the same night as the first two twilight shots.

Anyone out there agree with my theory? Disagree? My experience has been that low budget projects are forced to use practical locations due to costs. Big budget projects will pay more to have extra control over all visuals and more options to execute various angles.
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#13 Chris Clarke

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:34 AM

Here's the making of...

Interestingly it was shot at 358 degree shutter and 50fps. The real location shots were at 1000 ISO.
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