I don’t know where to put this thread, and I certainly don’t want it to be this prominent; I just want to ask could any of you tell me what is it that creates the look of this video? What I’m aiming at appears from the beginning, but I think a more precise spot in the video is after 1:36? She is lit by harsh sunlight on a beach in Malibu, but somehow it all seems suffused and the shadow edge is not so hard. What happened here?
It's possible they used some light diffusion in the closer shots, but generally I think what you're seeing is the sun coming from a frontal angle and low in the sky, so that it casts almost no shadows on her face. When she moves her arms you can see that the shadows are hard.
They put a thin diffusion material on a frame to soften the setting sun in some shots, probably something like 1/2 Soft Frost (similar to Opal), or maybe 1/4 Grid. Probably two grips running around with an 8'x8' frame, or maybe a 6'x6' frame if it's just a knees-up shot.
Other shots are filled in with softened HMI lights, others just with bounce fill.
There is some digital diffusion in the color correction as well as a heavy vignette added.
There may have been some on-camera filtering as well, but I think most of the image diffusion looks digital.
A camera filter wouldn't be able to soften the light, there is one shot of her near sunset where the warm light is clearly being softened by passing through a light diffusion frame, followed by another shot where the sun is direct though low. Truth is that the direct setting sun isn't much harsher than the softened sun shot.
You can tell that several close-ups of her are filled-in with something, the only question is whether it is just a white board bouncing in the sun into the shadows, or an HMI -- to my eyes, it looks like an HMI fill, softened, just because bounce card fills tend to be warmer and lower, but I could be wrong.
This will be a good exercise to see if I’ll be able to determine which shots are filled with bounce fill, which with HMIs, and which shot is that near-sunset one. Good line that one that direct setting Sun isn’t much harsher than softened Sun. In my view, you can also say that no matter how low, the Sun is always, at least a bit, harsh.
But tell me this, in cinematography, are diffusion materials usually always white or beige? Would it be silly to perhaps use a dyed fabric, perhaps orange something if I wanted the light to be a bit warmer?
Diffusion usually comes in white or off-white, so as to be 'neutral'. You can also buy colored diffusion, like LEE's Cosmetic series, which is very useful for subtly enhancing skintones. I've used Cosmetic Peach in the past when working with actresses with very pale skin. I've heard that apparently Oprah Winfrey insists that Cosmetic Highlight is used on her.
If you wanted the light to be warmer generally, it would makes sense to alter your white balance to achieve this. Doing it with a colored diffusion frame would only affect the area covered by the frame.
Wow, Stuart, those look promising. I’m thinking 187 Cosmetic Rouge (apricot) or, the one you mention, 188 Cosmetic Highlight (they say amber). Lee says on their Web site of 188 “Barbara Walters’ favourite colour!” I bet Barbara and Oprah aren’t the only ones demanding that be used, then.
Could you just tell me what does the Dimming Preview show? I’m a bit lost, even though it probably sounds downright simple.
They are nice gels, but they only come in one strength, so it may well be simpler to combine an apricot or amber gel with something like 250 or 251.
The dimming preview is to give you an indication of what color temperature you could expect to get from the gel, with the lamp dimmed (it's assuming tungsten). I'm not sure how useful or accurate that is.
It also looks like there might be a Paradise Blue grad filter being used on the sky in the top-right side of the frame. It could also have been done with a power window in the color grade, though I think Khondji likes to get it right in camera as much as possible.
Either way, the highly saturated blue in the background makes the warm light in the foreground pop more in contrast. Imagine if the sky was just pure white, the warm light just would not read as strongly.
Looks to me more like a soft vignette, either using Power Windows in the grade or from using a lens that has some corner fall-off, and then the color saturation and contrast of the blue at least was pumped up enough in post to make it pop more behind the head of the actor.