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White backgrounds and contrast


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#1 Oscar Nicholson

Oscar Nicholson
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Posted 03 October 2005 - 08:45 PM

My enquiry regards filming indoor locations with white walls, whilst maintaining good colour contrast.

I have a location that has white walls (close enough to white for the purpose of film), with wood floors and pillars. Some of the walls that will constitute the background for a few shots have paintings hanging on them. The principle actress is also pale skinned, framed ultra-close-up to medium shot. I want to light the scene high key to accentuate warm colourings (orange and woods) and it will be shot with soft focus.

What is the best film stock to accentuate contrast for predominantly white backgrounds? Is it possible to use coloured backlighting (e.g. red or orange) to reduce the "whiteness" of the backgrounds? Are there any rules for high-key lighting arrangements to be used to avoid over-illuminating a white background? What exposure levels and shutter speeds enhance contrast in these circumstances? Will a polaroid filter help reduce the light dispersion reflected off the white surface? Is soft focus going to diminish the contrast?
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#2 Dimitrios Koukas

Dimitrios Koukas
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Posted 04 October 2005 - 12:29 AM

My enquiry regards filming indoor locations with white walls, whilst maintaining good colour contrast.

I have a location that has white walls (close enough to white for the purpose of film), with wood floors and pillars. Some of the walls that will constitute the background for a few shots have paintings hanging on them. The principle actress is also pale skinned, framed ultra-close-up to medium shot. I want to light the scene high key to accentuate warm colourings (orange and woods) and it will be shot with soft focus.

What is the best film stock to accentuate contrast for predominantly white backgrounds? Is it possible to use coloured backlighting (e.g. red or orange) to reduce the "whiteness" of the backgrounds? Are there any rules for high-key lighting arrangements to be used to avoid over-illuminating a white background? What exposure levels and shutter speeds enhance contrast in these circumstances? Will a polaroid filter help reduce the light dispersion reflected off the white surface? Is soft focus going to diminish the contrast?


Oscar,
one thing that it will help is to ''flag out'' any unwanted light falling on the walls, and use some bright sunlight effect on the walls in places to ''brake'' this monotony,
Are u going to use the existing daylight or u can control this by adding your lights and simulate it?
For night interiors I believe it is more controlable, just avoid big diffusion sources or bounched ones.
Or at least use them across the wall not pointing at it.
As for the film stock whatever u will use ,overexpose by 1/2 to 1 stop.
And then compensate for it in the colour timing.
Try not to lit the walls as possible (only some areas) and use more directional light to your actress.
This will give to the walls a ''greyish'' look in parts and will add some atmosphere,
unless u want them lit like white paper all even, wich always by my oppinion it's not very interesting and flat out the image.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#3 Oscar Nicholson

Oscar Nicholson
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Posted 04 October 2005 - 01:41 AM

Oscar,
one thing that it will help is to ''flag out'' any unwanted light falling on the walls, and use some bright sunlight effect on the walls in places to ''brake'' this monotony,
Are u going to use the existing daylight or u can control this by adding your lights and simulate it?
For night interiors I believe it is more controlable, just avoid big diffusion sources or bounched ones.
Or at least use them across the wall not pointing at it.
As for the film stock whatever u will use ,overexpose by 1/2 to 1 stop.
And then compensate for it in the colour timing.
Try not to lit the walls as possible (only some areas) and use more directional light to your actress.
This will give to the walls a ''greyish'' look in parts and will add some atmosphere,
unless u want them lit like white paper all even, wich always by my oppinion it's not very interesting and flat out the image.
Dimitrios Koukas


Thanks for your reply Dimitrios
Most shots will be interior without sunlight (real or simulated), but there are four shots with fill lighting from sunlight through an open window. This window has vertical blinds, which I can keep closed but with the blades turned so that no sunlight shines directly onto the background wall. Alternately I could turn the blinds to allow thin vertical stripes of sunlight shine onto the background wall, thereby "braking" the light up and creating contrast that way.
I would imagine that "flagging out" unwanted light from shining on the walls would be difficult/impossible for tracking shots on an actual location (i.e. not a set)?
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Aerial Filmworks

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Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Opal