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Lighting In tall building with Large windows

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#1 Gabriel Wilson

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 06:47 PM

I am prepping a scene for a narrative short this coming weekend ( Shooting Alexa Mini - Cooke S4's) . We are shooting in a rather small hotel room in New York City with a large South facing window. I have One Arri Skypanel and 2 4 foot 4 bank Kinos As well as Arri fresnel units. 750,650,300,2x250. I was thinking of using the Sky Panel as the Key from the window side and possibly using the other units to fill. Depending on the brightness of the day I may need to ND the windows as the director wants to see outside. I wanted to see if anyone else has any thoughts on shooting high up without out rigging any exterior units. The film is quite low key and contrasty.


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#2 Miguel Angel

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 08:27 AM

Hi!

The main problem that I see with your location is the orientation.

South facing windows are always a problem as the light changes very quickly through the day, you will have sun hitting the interior of the room and your shadows and lights will move.

Although if that's what ye are looking for then they work fine.

If you can choose a North faced room instead of the South one, go for it, your light levels in the exterior will be pretty much the same through the day (providing the weather doesn't change)

With a North faced room you can create the key light with your Skypanel or just let the window create the key and use the kinos as a fill if needed.

Otherwise you might want to go to the room for a "light recce" and see how the light behaves.

Have a good day.
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#3 Gabriel Wilson

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 12:49 AM

Thanks Miguel. We are stuck facing south! but i think the tall buildings should help block the rapid change!


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#4 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 07:05 PM

Take some ND30 and ND60 for the windows and light the set at 6000K.  Look for practical sources to key off of.  Good luck.  Should be fine w/ your equipment.  


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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 08:04 PM

ND.3 won't do much to bring down a hot exterior, ND.6 and .9 will be more useful. Applying gel to a window can be tricky. Simply taping it over the windows will give you horrible reflections, so you need to cut it to size and squeegee it onto the glass, taking care to avoid bubbles and creases. Shooting in Log C will help hold your highlights, but if you get a sunny day outside, it's going to blow-out to a degree, no matter what you do.

 

When you say the Director wants to see out of the windows, what do you mean? Does he want to see clearly, or just not have it totally blown out?


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#6 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 10:24 PM

ND.3 won't do much to bring down a hot exterior, ND.6 and .9 will be more useful. Applying gel to a window can be tricky. Simply taping it over the windows will give you horrible reflections, so you need to cut it to size and squeegee it onto the glass, taking care to avoid bubbles and creases. Shooting in Log C will help hold your highlights, but if you get a sunny day outside, it's going to blow-out to a degree, no matter what you do.

 

When you say the Director wants to see out of the windows, what do you mean? Does he want to see clearly, or just not have it totally blown out?

Of course the 60 and 30 add up to 90, but can be reduced to 60 if need be.  Cloudy day or late shooting to match earlier scenes.  If you waltz in there with only 90 and the day goes grey, your screwed.  I've also overpowered bright window backgrounds, but it's nasty on the talent.  Not a good way to go, but in an emergency might be better than nothing.  This is why surveys are important.


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#7 Gabriel Wilson

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 10:30 PM

I think a lot of the light will be blocked out by the building facing us as we are in midtown and will not be getting much direct sunlight according to the sun path calculator. My main concern is not having the unit on the window side look too sourcey while still having a fairly low key look. I went to location to pre-light today and now have the Kinos as the Key window side and the Skypanel Filling. at 5600 plus green 1. I am also getting a bit of a green tint on the white walls. Any thoughts there?


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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 10:40 PM

If there is a building facing the window, you may find that at this time of year the sun is always in a backlit position, which would mean that the view out the window was always in shade. That will help a lot with keeping the exposure under control. I'd say that the outside should always be overexposed compared to the interior of the hotel room, or it will begin to look as if you were shooting on a set with a bad translight.


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#9 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 29 October 2016 - 03:36 PM

Of course the 60 and 30 add up to 90, but can be reduced to 60 if need be.  Cloudy day or late shooting to match earlier scenes.  If you waltz in there with only 90 and the day goes grey, your screwed.  I've also overpowered bright window backgrounds, but it's nasty on the talent.  Not a good way to go, but in an emergency might be better than nothing.  This is why surveys are important.

Yes, 60 and 90.  I'll agree.  


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#10 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 29 October 2016 - 04:20 PM

I think a lot of the light will be blocked out by the building facing us as we are in midtown and will not be getting much direct sunlight according to the sun path calculator. My main concern is not having the unit on the window side look too sourcey while still having a fairly low key look. I went to location to pre-light today and now have the Kinos as the Key window side and the Skypanel Filling. at 5600 plus green 1. I am also getting a bit of a green tint on the white walls. Any thoughts there?

 

Have you used a plus green before?  I'd like to know how it works.  I have steered clear of it after some early attempts in the '70s. 


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#11 Kel Tay

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 01:24 AM

I would have done the same thing. Use your most strongest light unit as ur key; As tho as the motivation is from the window. Flag the side of the sky panel for spills. 

 

You could still slightly overexpose your exterior (at least you could still see details and the whites are not clipping too much)

 

Use ND filters or nice ND gels (to cut n paste nicely at the window )

 

Hope this helps.


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#12 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 08:08 AM

I'm reading that there's a suggestion to use a strong Sky Panel or "key" from the window direction?  Could someone explain the logic here?  In order to capture the scene and insert it into the gamma, dynamic compression is necessary.  Is the logic to use a small backlight to connect the background to the subject?  Otherwise i'm lost. Could someone throw me a life ring. 


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#13 Kel Tay

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 08:31 AM

I'm reading that there's a suggestion to use a strong Sky Panel or "key" from the window direction?  Could someone explain the logic here?  In order to capture the scene and insert it into the gamma, dynamic compression is necessary.  Is the logic to use a small backlight to connect the background to the subject?  Otherwise i'm lost. Could someone throw me a life ring. 

The Sky Panel is inside the room. I think Gabriel's director wants to see the background. (Details of What's outside the window) 
 

Yea, it could be use as a backlight too. 


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#14 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 08:46 AM

I can understand wanting to bring up the background, but not to waste it as a backlight.  In the old days, we all used to run around w/ Polaroids.  But i remember doing locations shots all over the country just by eye.  Not even a light meter.  I'd love to see a still shot of this whole thing.  It could really work or be a mess.  I'd bet one pic would cultivate a thousand intelligent ideas from the readers.


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#15 Gabriel Wilson

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 08:55 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. We just wrapped last night. We were using the sky panel in the room, but ended up using it mostly as fill as opposed to augmenting the key window light. We rigged 4 bank kinos above the window instead. (the director asked to have no stands on the ground near the window so we created a grid with autopoles, the skypanel was too heavy). In the end the surrounding buildings blocked out most of the direct sunlight ( it was also a cloudy weekend in New York. The window was a stop or two over exposed but still visible. As someone else suggested for the night scenes I keyed off on practicals. Spent  a lot of time changing out LED bulbs in the hotel for old fashioned 60 Watt incandecenet's on dimmers. Will send some stills. 


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#16 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 09:20 AM

Fantastic.  Love to see the stills.  Thanks for responding.


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#17 Sandy Tworkowski

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 09:23 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. We just wrapped last night. We were using the sky panel in the room, but ended up using it mostly as fill as opposed to augmenting the key window light. We rigged 4 bank kinos above the window instead. (the director asked to have no stands on the ground near the window so we created a grid with autopoles, the skypanel was too heavy). In the end the surrounding buildings blocked out most of the direct sunlight ( it was also a cloudy weekend in New York. The window was a stop or two over exposed but still visible. As someone else suggested for the night scenes I keyed off on practicals. Spent  a lot of time changing out LED bulbs in the hotel for old fashioned 60 Watt incandecenet's on dimmers. Will send some stills. 

 

Oh, forgot to ask; what did you end up using for ND on the window?  30, 60, 90, 150.....nothing?


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