I have a shoot coming up and I would like to take some advice on Lighting during daylight. It's a music promo - so there isn't a strict requirement for continuity of the light, actors positions, scene etc... and I have licence to light for beauty over natural light, that being said, a natural look is probably the most beautiful.
I would like to have a consistency of light all day that will look natural, soft and beautiful.
Currently the location is still to be chosen, but it will be an open park where I will be able to define the perfect spot - according to the sun.
Understanding the movement of the sun is of course key, and setting up my shoots accordingly. I am hoping to use the sun as a back light and fill from the front with a large fill,
I am asking to have a light at a considerable cost (Light hire, gene, gaffer, etc) - mostly because I want to be able to create a beauty look - the talent will be good looking people, so even if there is a flat day with no sun, or a very harsh direct sunlight, I will have some options in creating soft, beautiful, daylight lighting.
Maybe I should just go with daylight! - work with what is available? But I am thinking a light will afford me more options and consistent source to work with, even if the sun is inconsistent. Inconsistency of light doesn’t matter too much as it is a promo not a film, but having the right kind of light to create a beautiful image with does. (Obviously this is subjective, but.. hopefully you know what I mean)
I’m asking for a 12K but, maybe I can get away with a 6K? Bearing in mind I need to do full body shots of 1 or 2 people.
I will be diffusing the fill. With what - I'm not sure yet. Probably a 12'x12' frame and a diffusion on the barndoors as well so it is doubled.
I am thinking that I will only need this light, all the closer work I can use some bounce to shape the light.
All advice, examples, tips, and things to look out for are welcome.
I think there is a lot to consider the dilemma of working with the sun vs lighting and trying to keep some feel of naturalism is a debate every shooter has. Its tough!
If your not too worried about consistency it will help you get away with real sunlight for sure. To light full body shots in daylight you are in 18K territory for sure.
You might consider just using 12x or 20x ultra bounce ....as the return from an 18k through 2 layers of diff to 12x ultra is probably not too far off....you might get a little more with the 18k but not too much more.
its all variable though honestly with a great camera and great light you can get away with shooting into the sun and having the talent as much as 2-3 stops under I've learned and still look really pretty....sometimes that means you don't even need a fill.
If you are shooting all day and have to contend with overhead sun you'll need a really good plan though.
Roger Deakins basically says he never uses lights for day exteriors and never cuts the sun. His pictures all look great to me! so its a tough call.
he also has the luxury of everyone listening to him about when to shoot cause of light and also can work the schedule around it.
Edited by Albion Hockney, 03 April 2015 - 11:03 AM.
If you have the budget, get a condor so you can fly a 20'x20' black solid or silk when the sun is overhead, otherwise if it is just one or two people, a 20'x20' on stands would work. Also if you have the budget, undersling your bright lamp on the bottom of a 45' articulating condor so you can get a dead backlight angle with it. On a smaller scale, like a medium shot, you can do this with a menace arm rig and something lighter to hang on it.
You might consider a bright tungsten light as your backlight (12-light with some narrow globes, or a T12 or 20K, or a 10K PAR for close-ups), and an HMI for the fill.
I think If the day is overcast you basically are going to have to roll with that look. You can maybe in that case use a 12k/18K backed off and super soft for a little fill side bump in exposure but honestly you might be better off just shaping the light with negative fill and ultra bounce. I'd make sure to have a 12x solid out there for that.
or if you want to get stylized you can use big HMI's on an overcast day to light but it will of course not be too natural ....and a little cliche maybe to do that in music videos.
This is a music promo, not a narrative feature -- it's not about being subtle and natural, it's about beauty and glamour. If he could shoot the whole promo near sunset, the the natural light might look beautiful and glamorous all by itself, but if he has to shoot on the same spot all day long from front light to top light to backlight, he has to do something more than just use natural light.
He did say he wanted to use the sun as his backlight. I think it just depends on the aesthetic. Neirin, maybe post some references you like?
I hear ya though, overhead sun without control is going to be tough to work with ....but I think it can be workable depending on what the scenes you are shooting are and where they are located....if its all in a big open space that is going to be harder for sure, but sometimes overhead sun can be interesting.
I wonder about your suggestion though David, Even if you fly a 20x20 solid and insert your big sources to give the sunset look, what about the background? if the background is lit with over head sun isn't it going to look off? Can you get away with creating sunset in the middle of the day....if you have some examples that would be super informative ....I'm always so afraid to change the time of day with lighting as it seems difficult to get right with out looking weird.
Again, this is a music promo spot, not a narrative feature -- does it really matter if the background light doesn't match the lighting on the talent? When doing something commercial like that, you have to set your priorities -- is the priority making the talent look beautiful or is it about being realistic with the setting and the light? Because I can only guess what the client is going to say...
So - I guess Albion what your essentially saying is - my 12K isn't really enough to work with against the sun, so go bigger or go completely natural and use neg fill and ultra bounce.
I agree that the priority should be beauty David, and less importance on the consistency of light or realism. I would love to experiment with your suggestion of flying the solid and working with some nice big sources for some creative lighting, but I know my producer will hit the breaks on all those extras with the kit, cranes and crew required to do that. I just don’t think we have the money for all that.
So I guess the question is - is it worth going with a 12 or 18K like you say Albion - in the situation that I have a flat dull day and I want to do something that has a bit of glamour about it I won't have much options with just a Solid and Bounce to work with?
Should I add more lights? - Knowing that multiple cranes and flying silks and solids will be beyond the budget.
Or stick with the bounce and hope / schedule for a sunny day.
I'm going to look out for some references to post up here now, but I imagine that the references I find will demonstrate the light I am hoping to find / shape. So my examples will be of perfect case scenarios where the light is perfect, the problem really is what to do if I don't get that light on the day - and what to have on the truck to get me out of jail in that situation.
I will go and find some examples and post them up. If you guys or anyone have any examples of this kind of lighting situation done well. Flat daylight made more interesting for beauty with film light, or strong daylight shaped well to improve on nature, I would love to see them as well.
Ah ok! I found it - so, this is the sort of look that I like. Would like to replicate, I feel like most of these shots have used lighting to enhance what is a daylight look or feel. The last ad - for mercedes seems to be a very cloudy day judging by the sky in the background, but they still manage to get a nice light on the girl. Ah ok! I found it - so, this is the sort of look that I like. Would like to replicate, I feel like most of these shots have used lighting to enhance what is a daylight look or feel.
Those frames are very natural looking although probably they will have some sort of polyboard or bouncing coming from the left (maybe a HMI bounced or through diffusion as Mr. Mullen pointed already)
It seems to me that if you are looking for a "lighting in daylight" approach you might want to take a look at the Cinderella's trailer from Disney, it is marvelously lit and it has some hmi's and bounces in daylight.
yea as david said those don't have too much going on. They do look lit to me....especailly the last one looks like HMI through diff the tighter frames seem like they could be bounces.
I'd suggest getting that 12/18K and putting it through a big frame. but keep in mind if your using it as a fill light you still want some contrast. dont bring up your fill side too much....back it off and go big and soft....Generally I think the game is the farther away and softer the more subtle the source appears in situations like this.
also keep in mind if you can avoid using that big hmi you will save a huge amount of time and crew. Maybe money spent better elsewhere and spent other places? I think if this is what your looking for less is more, lighting isn't going to make the video, but your shot choice and overall vision is what will make it come to life.
I'm kinda assuming your new to using big sources like this, and I myself haven't had many opportunites to use them. Whenever it comes up I find myself at first jumping at it wanting to use some big lights, but often find that I start thinking that using these tools will in itself make for a higher end product. that is not always so, so be careful!
... if you can avoid using that big hmi you will save a huge amount of time and crew. Maybe money spent better elsewhere and spent other places?
As bright as some 18k Fresnels, the new Arri M90 is a less expensive option. Pairing a new 9 kW HMI lamp with the MAX reflector of the ARRIMAX, the new ARRI M90 creates diverging parallel rays to produce a crisp light with even distribution through a wide spot/flood range.
(The light generated by the CAD designed Max Reflector of the new M90/60 is incredibly bright and sharp.)
The result is a lens-less open face fixture with a quality of light close to that of a Fresnel. The elimination of spread lenses like those used on HMI Pars makes the ARRI MAX reflector lamp heads comparable in output to par configurations of a higher wattage. In fact, the M90 is brighter than some 18K Fresnels on the market.
(The Active Line Filtration (ALF) of the new ARRI EB 6000/9000 ballast makes it an incredibly efficient and clean load.)
To power the new M90 head, ARRI has engineered a dual wattage ballast (6 & 9kw) with Active Line Filtration (ARRI's system of Power Factor Correction.) The advanced electronics of the ballast makes it incredibly efficient and it generates virtually no harmonic noise.
(The combined 100A output of paralleled Honda EU6500s is sufficient to operate the new Arri M90 as well as additional set lighting.)
Drawing only 84 Amps, the M90 can operate on the combined 100A output of paralleled Honda EU6500s. Not only is this approach a lot less expensive than using an 18kw, it is also a lot easier to set up. Use this link for more details about this approach.
Guy Holt, Gaffer, Lighting and Grip Equipment Rental & Sales in Boston
David, Miguel, Albion and Guy I really appreciate your input.
As it has been said, my references are - very natural. Which I feel is beautiful. I chose them all though because I felt they were all shaped in some way, with either a light and or a bounce.
I would just like to reiterate one point I made - I feel like these have ALL been shot in the perfect daylight OR - been lit. I was hoping to figure out what to do to get this look if I don't get the perfect light on the day. I feel like they would not all be possible with just bounce - if say there was a very flat day???. So - should I have that 18K and a diff frame on the truck ready to pull out if the light isn't perfect? Or do I just try and go with what I get on the day – would I still be able to produce this quality of imagery – whilst saving the money, as has been pointed out.
Albion, as you mentioned I am new to using big sources like this - but I have seen them used to good effect (by others DOPs) a great deal - I totally agree that it doesn't always equate to a higher production value. I am tempted a little by being able to use 'big sources', but that is why I started this post really to gauge if I actually needed big lights - or A big light, to get me out of jail in poor daylight.
The consensus seems to be - use natural light and maybe get a nice big HMI 18K really soft at a distance. So - I think my budget will stretch to having that, without straining the resources anywhere else. Especially if I use Guys Arri M90 suggestion. I hope they have them in Sao Paulo Guy.
Miguel - thanks for posting the references you did, it is really good to see some examples of big source lighting in daylight. I will be going for a subtler look – which maybe suggests I wont need any lights – as long as the daylight is strong enough.
I wonder what people’s thoughts are on this last reference I found.... This is seemingly a very overcast day - but the light here is either real sunlight or mimicking it with film light? Maybe they just got lucky with the clouds + Sun?
Thanks again for all the comments. Very much appreciated.
^ appears to be a film light as she is backlit from the sun.
the first examples I think that the close ups could be bounce but that wide shot on the bridge is probably an HMI through a big Frame for fill. The first examples seemed less overcast and more just over exposed sky...maybe it was a little hazy that day?
seems like you want to avoid blue sky and a lot of color in your frames so avoid color and keep the sun behind the talent for sure. shooting into the sun helps get that sky less saturated.
I'd fill with either bounces or HMI if you need more power/control and maybe introduce some neg fill.
good luck, post your results and experience if you can!
Edited by Albion Hockney, 07 April 2015 - 01:20 PM.
That reflection in her eyes is coming from right over the lens so would either be a light through a diffusion frame or the sun catching a white board, though it looks more HMI-colored (bluer) unless the bounce card was a Day Blue Muslin, but then it might not be as bright. Plus the sun isn't coming right at the camera to get a bright bounce like that back at her so I'm leaning towards it being a lamp.