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Any advice for shooting a short outside?


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#1 Esther Kim

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 06:29 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I'm a beginner at cinematography and I got the chance to shoot my friend's short in 2 weeks, which is exciting, but I'm wondering how I can make it look decent. This is basically a no budget film, so all I have is a camera (sony a7sii), a basic lens, and a ND filter. I could probably get some basic equipment if I needed it (and if it's cheap), but this will be shot in natural light. It's also a Star Wars fan fiction film, so it should look reminiscent of Star Wars. So far my plan is to shoot in Cine4 and color correct it in post, but I'd love some suggestion about what to do on production day. 

 

1. This short film is set to be shot outside in broad daylight on a small island that is mostly sandy. From what I know, the actors will be in the sunlight (there isn't much of a place for shade), which I'm a bit concerned about. I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on how to make the actors' faces look okay in that condition. Should I take some reflectors and silks?  

2. Two of the actors are black. How do you make them look good on camera? I've heard making their faces a bit shinier with moisturizer helps. Any simple, easy tricks? 

3. Is it a good idea to go to the location, even if it is by myself (since I don't think the actors have time to make it), so that I can check out the lighting situation?

4. In general, I'm a bit confused by the whole idea of the headline. What is the convention around that? 

 

Any input would be helpful. Thanks!


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#2 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 12:47 PM

Hello Esther.

Diffusion and Silk won’t be easy to use : you need a grip crew, and light crew to
Rig it quickly and in a secure way, which on a beach is not that easy (wind and no point to knot the 12x12 frame). The diffusion frame should be large enough to make a difference and be easy enough to use for the talent and the continuity of the shot.
You could get some bed sheets, which have a nice effect and it is quite cheap, to use on the floor with weight, or between c stands if it is bot too windy, even as a diffusion. You could get small mirrors, or depron tape to wood plank to get a nice hand reflector. Your best friends will certainly be your nd filter, but as you won’t be starving for light, you should add a polarizer : it will be a quick and effective way to get rid of strong highlight areas on faces.

For black people in general, you should not overlit them : if your are using a lightmeter, one stop under what it says would be a nice place to start for keylight (it is a generic
Advice, you’re free to do as you may find better).
Anyway, a cosmectic help will help tremendously (but i don’t know about moisturizer, better leave that to a pro).

You absolutely need to go there : look at way of framing with the director, which shot you’ll begin with, and why this one next, how it should be framed, what will tell something of the story and the emotion to the audience. A nice image yes, but only if it helps the story.
Look at the lighting : how the sun is moving around, at which speed, and how you can cheat to make the sequence seamless and beautiful at the same time. If lost, side lighting and backlighting will be an easier way to get something nice
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#3 Giacomo Girolamo

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 03:12 PM

To add on what's Matthieu already says (and I agree, you definitely needs to go there) you can find some app from your cellphone (there's a lot ones, some even free) and check the sun pathing and more important, what time frame you have to work. I used a lot an app for ios (iphone app) name Lumus. Is free (at least when I get it) and you have the path of the sun and the moon with hours.

Is not perfect, but is a simple tool to make decisions about how to work, with how much time and in which frames and angles.

 

 

Have a fun and good productions, and share some images or the final product if you can,

 

Best of lucks!


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 04:19 PM

Definitely pick the right time of day.


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#5 Esther Kim

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 06:26 AM

Hello Esther.

Diffusion and Silk won’t be easy to use : you need a grip crew, and light crew to
Rig it quickly and in a secure way, which on a beach is not that easy (wind and no point to knot the 12x12 frame). The diffusion frame should be large enough to make a difference and be easy enough to use for the talent and the continuity of the shot.
You could get some bed sheets, which have a nice effect and it is quite cheap, to use on the floor with weight, or between c stands if it is bot too windy, even as a diffusion. You could get small mirrors, or depron tape to wood plank to get a nice hand reflector. Your best friends will certainly be your nd filter, but as you won’t be starving for light, you should add a polarizer : it will be a quick and effective way to get rid of strong highlight areas on faces.

For black people in general, you should not overlit them : if your are using a lightmeter, one stop under what it says would be a nice place to start for keylight (it is a generic
Advice, you’re free to do as you may find better).
Anyway, a cosmectic help will help tremendously (but i don’t know about moisturizer, better leave that to a pro).

You absolutely need to go there : look at way of framing with the director, which shot you’ll begin with, and why this one next, how it should be framed, what will tell something of the story and the emotion to the audience. A nice image yes, but only if it helps the story.
Look at the lighting : how the sun is moving around, at which speed, and how you can cheat to make the sequence seamless and beautiful at the same time. If lost, side lighting and backlighting will be an easier way to get something nice

 

Hi Matthieu! Thank you for your response!

 

The bedsheets sounds doable. How would you suggest setting that up, especially when there are 3 actors who will be moving around? 

 

Also, I was thinking about backlighting the characters at some point with the sun. But is there a way to make it so that the actors are not too silhouetted? 


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#6 Esther Kim

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 06:28 AM

To add on what's Matthieu already says (and I agree, you definitely needs to go there) you can find some app from your cellphone (there's a lot ones, some even free) and check the sun pathing and more important, what time frame you have to work. I used a lot an app for ios (iphone app) name Lumus. Is free (at least when I get it) and you have the path of the sun and the moon with hours.

Is not perfect, but is a simple tool to make decisions about how to work, with how much time and in which frames and angles.

 

 

Have a fun and good productions, and share some images or the final product if you can,

 

Best of lucks!

 

Thanks Giacomo! Could you explain more about how you use the app? 

Unfortunately we don't have the best hours to shoot - due to the tide of the beach (which is on an island) we will be shooting from 9-3. Hopefully we can get things done fast so that we don't have to shoot in the afternoon.


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#7 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 10:55 AM

Hello Esther. Youre very welcome.

Hard to tell, most of the time youll have a hard time with the establishing shot. You can put it on the floor, with this establishing shot, most of the time director will allow the frame to take a small portion of the ground. If the sheets is large enough, it wont make a weird lighting, but help have a smooth lighting, control contrast.

About silhouette : it can be an artistic decision.
On a common note, any dp is free to disagree with me and ill gladly discuss it.
The best exposure on a technical point of view is on always on the verge of saturating the sensor.
But, it is risky : a overexposure would render most of the time quite badly.
You could say that staying at least a little under the 80 percent for texture would be a safe bet.
So youll fight contrast, to keep highlight in the range if it is something you want. But as the sun is a strong source, using large frames of white foam (2 meters by 1 meter for example) will bounce most of the time enough to help.
In those situation, the frame must sometime be a little bit worked for the light. Its not the perfect way of doing things, but the cameraman help quite often the dp.
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#8 Matthieu Abily

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 11:00 AM

To add to what said Giacomo, Sun seeker is a nice application too. Combine it with panascout (i like this one) but artemis or cadrage or an aps - c dslr will do the trick. But in your case, as your working with 24x36, you might as well take the a7s. Dont forget to bring a compass, and take note of the gps coordinates. (In case your phone is not working for whatever reason)
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#9 Giacomo Girolamo

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 12:58 PM

 

Thanks Giacomo! Could you explain more about how you use the app? 

Unfortunately we don't have the best hours to shoot - due to the tide of the beach (which is on an island) we will be shooting from 9-3. Hopefully we can get things done fast so that we don't have to shoot in the afternoon.

 

It's very simple. You open the app in the phone an with "enhanse reality" (like pokemon go or any app that draw things in you camera) show you the path of the sun (or the moon) and the path has dots with the hours of the day, so for example, if you want to film in the street and there's two building, with the app you can see that between 13:14 and 14:34, the sun is going to pass between the buildings, therefore you are going to have sun in the streets at that time.

 

screen696x696.jpeg

 

For example, if you want to make a siluette in this lake, you can see that you have to wait to 08:15 because, before that, the sun is going to be cover by the trees. So is a very useful app when you have to your exterior productions, because you can decide just visiting the location, what kind of shoots you're going to have. With the button between the date and the hours, you can't switch between sun and moon, and the date is also useful if you visit the location weeks before the shotting, because the sun moves it path on the sky a little everyday (the earth moves but you know what I mean, haha).


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#10 Webster C

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 05:13 PM

Ernest Dickerson on lighting black faces:

https://mic.com/arti...aces#.iHvCrUAIn


Edited by Webster C, 06 August 2018 - 05:14 PM.

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#11 Esther Kim

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 10:41 AM

Hello Esther. Youre very welcome.

Hard to tell, most of the time youll have a hard time with the establishing shot. You can put it on the floor, with this establishing shot, most of the time director will allow the frame to take a small portion of the ground. If the sheets is large enough, it wont make a weird lighting, but help have a smooth lighting, control contrast.

About silhouette : it can be an artistic decision.
On a common note, any dp is free to disagree with me and ill gladly discuss it.
The best exposure on a technical point of view is on always on the verge of saturating the sensor.
But, it is risky : a overexposure would render most of the time quite badly.
You could say that staying at least a little under the 80 percent for texture would be a safe bet.
So youll fight contrast, to keep highlight in the range if it is something you want. But as the sun is a strong source, using large frames of white foam (2 meters by 1 meter for example) will bounce most of the time enough to help.
In those situation, the frame must sometime be a little bit worked for the light. Its not the perfect way of doing things, but the cameraman help quite often the dp.

 

Thanks Matthieu! 

 

Is there a time frame that is best for shooting silhouettes? When I take photos they come out best during sunrise or sunset. I'm wondering if that would come out well in the middle of the afternoon.


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#12 Esther Kim

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 10:43 AM

One more thing that I find a bit confusing is focal length.

I don't have much choice in a lens, considering I am using the director's zoom lens. 

I've been reading that there are standard focal lengths but that the sensor largely influences how those focal lengths will actually look on camera.

Since the a7s2 is a full frame sensor, is a 28 mm on a different sensor a larger focal length for my camera?

Can anyone enlighten me on this? 

 

Also, what are some good focal lengths to keep in mind for a fight scene? 


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#13 Mark Dunn

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 11:23 AM

A 28 will be a fairly wide angle on FF.


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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 12:23 PM

There's a 1.5X difference between a 36mm wide format (FF35) and a 24mm wide format.  Super-35 is 24mm wide but standard 35mm is a bit smaller and APS-C varies depending on the camera but is close to Super-35... so in general your 28mm lens on a full-frame camera is similar in view to a 19mm lens on a Super-35 camera.  This is the reason that kit zooms for still cameras are often around 28-70mm for FF35 and 18-50mm for APS-C cameras.

 

You can do a silhouette in midday if the actors are under a dark roof with enclosed sides or very heavy shade under a big tree and are framed against a bright background, and you expose for the background.  You can surround the actors with some big black solids to increase the contrast and the silhouette effect.


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#15 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 07:59 PM

 

It's very simple. You open the app in the phone an with "enhanse reality" (like pokemon go or any app that draw things in you camera) show you the path of the sun (or the moon) and the path has dots with the hours of the day, so for example, if you want to film in the street and there's two building, with the app you can see that between 13:14 and 14:34, the sun is going to pass between the buildings, therefore you are going to have sun in the streets at that time.

 

screen696x696.jpeg

 

For example, if you want to make a siluette in this lake, you can see that you have to wait to 08:15 because, before that, the sun is going to be cover by the trees. So is a very useful app when you have to your exterior productions, because you can decide just visiting the location, what kind of shoots you're going to have. With the button between the date and the hours, you can't switch between sun and moon, and the date is also useful if you visit the location weeks before the shotting, because the sun moves it path on the sky a little everyday (the earth moves but you know what I mean, haha).

 

Just down loaded this.. its actually Lumos.. in Japan it wasn't free.. dont know the price can buy off fin get print ...!.. but Im sure its not exp.. very good.. better than sun seeker for me.. super simple.. 


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Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery