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Moving clouds revealing the sun


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#1 Domenik Schuster

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 03:54 AM

Dear community,

 

I am shooting a German film festival's trailer in 10 days - 2 days studio, 1 day on location outdoor (studios Babelsberg, at the doors of Marlene Dietrich Halle). Our talent will be standing at the big entrance to studio 1. I attached a photo. The shot will be approxemately as wide as the picture below (probably a little closer and 1:2,35). At the beginning, the mood will be cloudy, no sun. Then, as he starts walking to the left, a beam of light as when there is a little gap in the clouds will hit the wall (maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the wall, so not complete sunshine - just a "ray" coming through the gap (maybe like coming through a gap in between 2 houses on the other side).

 

I am going to test shoot that in 7 days and was wondering if you had any experience on creating the effect of a cloud moving away from the sun. I thought about a 4kW SUN direct // reflected by a 1x1 mirror and then "blocked" with several layers of diffusion in front of the light/mirror (f.e. 1x1 frost frames that are moved away one after the other in a relatively short time.

 

What do you think? I appreciate every thought!

Best regards, Domenik

 

02.jpg


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#2 Albion Hockney

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 03:34 PM

if a 4k HMI is the biggest light you have, your first challenge is creating a base exposure for the "cloudy"look that the 4k HMI can over power and look like sunlight. Even on an actually cloudy day it is unlikely a 4k will be enough light for that wide a shot. If it is just one shot you can grab quickly I would suggest shooting during magic hour after the sun has set and use the blue ambiance of the sky as your base cloudy look (you will have a very small 15-30min window or so to get the shot though)

 

If that doesn't work for you you are going to be very limited in options - if a 4k HMI is your biggest light I am guessing you won't be able to take on large scale rigging either and any other option would probably include a very large setup. For instance, you could shooting during daytime and rig large nets and flags over head of the set to cut down the light levels (with a shot that wide your in 20x territory though).

 

Your idea to put diffusion over the light to create the cloudy look might work in a close up, but honestly it is not a very good approach because the light on a cloudy day is very very soft. Think about what the source of light is on a cloudy day, Its the whole sky! so it is a very very big soft light - to mimic this generally people would bounce lights into a huge frame (like a 20x, or use balloon lights).

 

For the appearance of the sun all you need to do is mimic the look of the sun coming from behind a cloud. which when you break it down is really just a big light coming out from behind a flag. so all I would do is get a setup that works for your base exposure, position the 4k in a place the mimics the position of sunlight that you like and with a flag close to the lamp slowly raise it to reveal the light. the closer the flag is to the light the softer the gradation will be as you lift it, sunlight generally appears slowly and with a lot of gradation when it comes from behind a cloud so I would probably keep the flag pretty close and find a good trick for a soft smooth reveal.

 

the mirror idea is also nice and will help make a sharper source - depending on what HMI's you are using the beams can be kinda nasty looking so you might want to test some of the lenses if it is an HMI par or put it through a very light diffusion like OPAL to clean it up a little.

 

for the slit of light look I would place other flags around the light to control it and give it the shape you want.


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 03:44 PM

I did a gag once on a horror film where a scary shadow of a dead person appears and disappears in a graveyard -- we got lucky with rolling clouds in New Orleans and saw the effect for real, no faking. It's almost like the shadow patterns just fade away as the sun gets blocked by a cloud.

 

So the first problem is dimming the 4K up and down.  Since it is an HMI, maybe some heavy metal blinds like Navy signaling lights use could work.  Some rental houses have them for doing lightning effects.

 

The other problem is balancing the 4K HMI with the soft daylight so that it reads brightly enough.  You may need to not only shoot in the shadow side of a large building to get the cool skylight effect but even fly a big 20'x20' Double Net or even a solid on a condor overhead to knock down the brightness even more so that the 4K HMI reads when it fades up.

 

Personally, an 18K HMI might be better for this sort of thing. Or at least a 6K.


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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 04:08 PM

-- we got lucky with rolling clouds in New Orleans and saw the effect for real, no faking. It's almost like the shadow patterns just fade away as the sun gets blocked by a cloud.

 

I had the same luck on one of my shorts and there really is no substituting for the real thing.  Weather permitting, I'd just be ready to catch the natural effect.


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#5 Stuart Allman

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 05:19 PM

Domenik,

 

I had a thought about your challenge and I thought I would throw my thought experiment out there. 

 

First, I agree that you'll likely have to cover the general area with diffusion (or something heavier) of some sort to give yourself a soft general fill - or just shoot on a dark cloudy day since it's still winter.

 

When I've seen the sun come and go it's typically a slow transition with the light fading in and becoming a hard source.  So what I would propose it to use your 4k behind a 4x4 sheet of 250 or 216, but a reasonable distance away so you can still think of the source as hard light.  Then simply swing open the barn doors of the 4k fixture by hand (with gloves!) when you want it to fade in.  The diffusion panel is the light source so you should see the light slowly fade in and become harder.  Since the diffusion panel is a reasonable distance away from your actors the opening of the barn doors shouldn't create a pattern, as it might with just the lamp alone.  You might have to play with the HMI lens to get the effect right.  You might also have to gel the HMI to get the warmer effect of sun.

 

These are just my thoughts, so please don't flame me if it doesn't work!  ...but let us know if it does.

 

Stuart Allman

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