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How could I have lit this better - outdoor / long walk?


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#1 Gene Sung

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 07:13 PM

https://vimeo.com/131038671

 

Link Above

 

I DP’d this TV show Main-Title for the FYI Network. LOW BUDGET where most of it went to the animation.

 

We had a sidewalk permit that did NOT allow for any lights or massive silks. Not sure if it would have done much anyways as the talent were walking for so long.

 

How could I have done this differently if I had a decent budget and permits that allowed G&E setup? 

 

Normally, I would probably shoot it on the shadow side of the street or back, but because of the long walk it was impossible (at least with our budget) to bring the talent up a few stops to match the bright background which would have been blown.

 

We tried it backlit a few takes, but once again, since it was such a long walking shot, it was really difficult to keep a good bounce on the two guys to bring them up a bit.

 

So we decided to just shoot it with the sun about 3/4 off to camera left and they almost front lit, which I thought was the best choice for our circumstances. We did have the gaffer hold and walk with a bounce to fill in under their chins a bit, but that was it.

 

I’d like to know what you guys think and how you would approach it? Since it was such a long walk / take, is there anything I could have done different if we had a real budget? 

 

• Like shoot it backlit with major HMIs and bounces? 

• Or shadow side with massive HMIs and a massive bounce? 

 

Or does the long walk just kill all those ideas?

 

Trying to figure out how to make a shot like this better in the future if I had  a decent budget and permits.


Edited by Gene Sung, 02 March 2016 - 07:20 PM.

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 08:04 PM

I thought you did pretty well given the circumstances, it looks good to me. I think with the addition of two more grips and an 8x8 frame of diffusion, I would have framed slightly tighter from the waist up and had the two grips walk alongside the talent with the diffusion frame. To get the space to do this, you probably would have needed to lock off the sidewalk and to get parking permits for that side of the street so the grips could walk where the cars would normally be. The reason for framing tighter is that you can see a bit of the talent's shadows on the ground, which would give the game away if you used a diffusion frame. You could also bring the camera lower and tilt up more instead.

It might also have been nice to add an HMI or a reflector through the diffusion to bring the talent up under the awning before they step into the sun. To stay out of the entire shot, you'd probably have to fly it out as soon as it was no longer working, so a reflector would probably work best.
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#3 Gene Sung

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 09:14 PM

I think with the addition of two more grips and an 8x8 frame of diffusion, I would have framed slightly tighter from the waist up and had the two grips walk alongside the talent with the diffusion frame. 

 

Thanks for responding Satsuki. Quick question with the 8x8 frame of full diffusion, would that have cut all the sunlight from their faces so it would appear more in shadow? Or maybe use 1/2 stop of diffusion, so there's still some shape on the face from the sun?


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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 09:38 PM

I would use a lighter diffusion so that the background doesn't get to bright in relation to the foreground. Normally in 4x4, I like Half Soft Frost for this type of thing but I don't know if that is available in 8x8. Maybe someone else can chime in on what rags they like in larger sizes.
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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 10:29 PM

Looked good to me. Frames are more trouble than they are worth on shots like this. You'll always struggle to either A. Keep the tail edge of it out of frame, or B. Keep the shadow of the frame and the grips out of shot.


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#6 Stuart Allman

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 10:38 PM

Sunbounce.com (a german company) makes large diffusion panels that are sort of like fly swatters.  A single grip could walk along the sidewalk and hold it.  They primarily market to still photographers, but it's all the same.

 

I like the hard light look you produced.  It's bright and poppy and matches the music and dialog well.  The initial branch-alorus makes the shot feel more real, like they just really exited a restaurant.  Don't stress it.  The spot looks great.

 

Stuart

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#7 Jeff L'Heureux

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 11:47 PM

I don't mind front lighting at all, for the most part.  In this case, the lighting fits well with the style of the video, and since it's what's on their t-shirts that stands out, having the shirts front lit makes sense.


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#8 Gene Sung

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 12:14 AM

Thanks friends for the advice. When you're used to shooting with gear and all of sudden you are not allowed to use it due to circumstance, panic ensues! LOL.


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#9 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 05:41 AM

I thought the frontal lighting pretty much suited the feel and energy of the piece anyway. I'm not too keen on the weird little gimbal adjustments that could be seen, I think it would have worked better on a steadicam, but I thought the lighting was fine, and grade well suited.


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#10 Guy Holt

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 08:00 PM


I’d like to know what you guys think and how you would approach it? Since it was such a long walk / take, is there anything I could have done different if we had a real budget? 

 

Given what you had to work with, I agree that you made the right choice to use frontal light-the frontal lighting suites the feel and energy of the piece.  My one criticism would be the density of the shadows when they first come out of the store and the shadows of their arms on the white tee shirt.  Reducing the overall contrast of the scene would have helped.

 

The problem with talent that moves that much is that you can’t put them under a silk which means that you need a big source to light them. Movies that I have worked on use a 12k Par on a western dolly leading the actors. A 4x frame with heavy diffusion is used to soften the 12k so that it looks natural. Without an overhead net or silk nothing less than a 12k par pushed through diffusion would give you that light quality. Lighting with reflectors boards is  much harsher and will cause the talent to squint.

 

Where you probably can’t afford a big HMI and the big generator to operate it, your  next best option would be a 4k ARRIMAX  through a light diffusion. You can run a 4k on a modified 7500W Honda EU6500is generator.  To record dialogue without picking up the sound of the generator, run the generator out of the back of a van or truck at some distance or from around the corner of a building. To avoid line loss over the long cable run to the generator use a Transformer/Distro on set to boost the voltage to compensate for the drop of voltage you will get over the long cable run. Rig the 4k on a doorway dolly and lead the actors by about 15’ and it will look good in a medium two shot.

 

If you have any questions about using transformers with generators, I would suggest you read an article I wrote on the use of portable generators in motion picture production. Harry Box, author of “The Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook” has cited my article in the Fourth Edition of the handbook.

 

 

BoxBookLinkGenSetSm.jpg

 

 

Of the article Harry Box states:

 

 

"Great work!... this is the kind of thing I think very few technician's ever get to see, and as a result many people have absolutely no idea why things stop working."

 

"Following the prescriptions contained in this article enables the operation of bigger lights, or more smaller lights, on portable generators than has ever been possible before."

 

 

Use this link for my news letter article on the use of portable gas generators in motion picture production.

 

Guy Holt, Gaffer

SceenLight & Grip

Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston


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