Shooting outdoors without NDs
Posted 15 December 2015 - 05:05 AM
I have a documentary shoot starting tomorrow, a large part of which will be outdoors. It is extremely extremely low budget. I will be using a 5D mkiii, a Tamron f2.8 28-75, a tripod and a very basic diy gimbal. My lights consist of a single on camera LED.
The problem here is that I have not been able to find ND filters anywhere in my city. Whether to rent or to buy. I would really like the option of playing with my DoF.
Is there anything I can do to have more control over exposure if I can't get my hands on an ND?
A lot of the interviews will be shot indoors which is good.
But what about outdoors in the middle of the day? Any advice?
Side note:I know. I should have just ordered online. Rookie mistake.
Posted 15 December 2015 - 06:24 AM
a few things:
- 5D sensor is Vistavision size so way bigger than traditional super35mm, so you can use more tele lenses to shoot interviews etc(80mm is like 50mm on super35), any chance you could get longer lens, like 70-200? that might be easier than getting a filter and will reduce your dof even if your'e shooting on F11.
- when you shoot outdoors try to film your subject in the shade as much as possible.
- depends one what kind of motion you have in the shot, for certain situations you could get away with using higher shutter speeds like 200 instead of 50, that will drop a couple of stops from your exposure.
- use lower ISO settings possible. I think it's 100ISO on 5D markIII
- Try to get any kind of big flag to block the sun and ask someone to hold it while doing interviews (if the sun is too strong on the subject.)
Posted 15 December 2015 - 07:49 AM
if you have access to a pola you can open 1 - 2 stops that way. or if you have two linear polarisers you can stack them together to get a variable nd.
maybe you can even darken a UV or flat filter with rubber smoke (very fine soot from a piece of burning rubber. I don't know if it works well and if you get horrible colour shifts with it but it could definitely work to a point )
Posted 15 December 2015 - 06:01 PM
Posted 19 December 2015 - 02:30 PM
WIth DSLRs like the 5D, you ideally want to be shooting at lower ISOs anyway - gives you more dynamic range. Does the 5DIII go down to 100 ISO? Use that, it should prevent you from having a completely unreasonable aperture outside. I'd also follow Aapo's advice and pickup a pola (which should certainly be available somewhere in town) and that'll let you knock another stop or so off.
Posted 19 December 2015 - 04:16 PM
Trouble is that in direct frontal sunlight on a clear day, you'd be at f/22 at 24 fps with a 180 degree shutter at 100 ASA if you had no ND filter (the Sunny 16 rule tells you that at 50 ASA with a 1/50th shutter speed, you'd be at f/16.)
Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:07 PM
Okay, all of that was quite helpful. I was able to find polarizers for a 50mm Youngnou lens that someone lent me but it was so terrible, it wouldn't even focus. Desperate times. No, I couldn't get my hands on a 70-200 either without actually renting one out which didn't work with the 0 budget. Ultimately I ended up having to go above f11 quite often and upping the shutter speed in a few cases but not by too much (never more than 1/100, mostly 1/60 and 1/80) so hopefully it should be okay. I am a little unsure if the documentary's subject demanded a lot of wide shots or shooting at a high f-stop made me unconsciously favour wides but those have come out pretty decently. I also shot quite a few cutaways at 60fps which helped, if slightly, with cutting the light.
So it was a 5 day shoot for a short documentary about superstition in 4 villages in Southern India. Luckily, the schedule for one of them turned out to be at night, one of them indoors and one of them at sunset. The fourth one was mid day which was difficult but I took all your advice and tried to stick with shade, although the burnt out areas in some of the backgrounds annoyed me no end. Also, can I say that Cinestyle really cuts that strange sharpness the 5D has even at f11 and beyond? Maybe it's just the fact that it's all washed out and desaturated. That was quite helpful. Does anyone else find Cinestyle strangely addictive? The camera goes down to 100 ISO but I tried to stick to 160 in most cases attempting to follow Phillip Bloom's advice.
But yes, overall it was quite manageable. Thank you all.
Soot from burning rubber sounds like an interesting idea btw. I'm quite curious to see how that would work out.
I shall send you all some footage if you're interested. The whole experience was overwhelming but quite eye opening.
Posted 21 December 2015 - 02:21 PM
Oh also, the car we were using had tinted windows which actually acted as a pretty neat ND for one or two shots during the mid day shoot. Haha.