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Creating Cloud Cover


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#1 scorsesebull

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 02:35 AM

Hey everyone, I searched the archives for some subjects that might be related and found a few hints and tips from topics not directly linked to mine, so here's my post: I'm shooting a pretty short Mini DV movie on a panasonic 3CCD cam very soon. The story takes place in a forest, pretty far from power (although a small gennie will be present). I've scouted the location during the time we will be shooting and have decided what times I want to shoot and where the sun will be for specific backlights etc.

Now the problem occurs with some wider, lots of panning/tilting/whipping handheld action shots throughout the forest because the environment is supposed to be consistently cloudy. We're shooting over two days cloud or sun. I've come up with a few ideas to tackle this but I wanted some other opinions in case I've overlooked something like a complete stooge, or in case there's an easier more effective way.

I've considered overexposing the sky to the point where it would blow out white or almost white, therefore creating a flat tonal gray/white color. The problem here is that my actors may not look right and I'd have to use a lot of negative fill (which I may not have) to bring them down. Tree cover will help, but, if sunny, will create pools of bright light when actors cross the environment. Now, I want the movie to look pretty desaturated and I'm going to do some tests tomorrow, but something I considered was white balancing on a slightly orange card and then in post taking a lot of the blue out, so that the image has a dull blue/gray look and that by taking out the blueish hues, any brightly lit, exposed sky will become grayer. This is what I'm mostly testing tomorrow, I have no idea if that will work (because I understand that I'm adding blue to the sky before I take it away).

I hope I explained that well enough. Any questions or clarifcation please post 'em, I'll be checking back pretty regularly for suggestions. Also, any ideas to throw into the testing mix are very welcome. Thank you all so much!

-Luke Kalteux
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UW- Oshkosh
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#2 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 02:52 AM

Hey everyone, I searched the archives for some subjects that might be related and found a few hints and tips from topics not directly linked to mine, so here's my post: I'm shooting a pretty short Mini DV movie on a panasonic 3CCD cam very soon. The story takes place in a forest, pretty far from power (although a small gennie will be present). I've scouted the location during the time we will be shooting and have decided what times I want to shoot and where the sun will be for specific backlights etc.

Now the problem occurs with some wider, lots of panning/tilting/whipping handheld action shots throughout the forest because the environment is supposed to be consistently cloudy. We're shooting over two days cloud or sun. I've come up with a few ideas to tackle this but I wanted some other opinions in case I've overlooked something like a complete stooge, or in case there's an easier more effective way.

I've considered overexposing the sky to the point where it would blow out white or almost white, therefore creating a flat tonal gray/white color. The problem here is that my actors may not look right and I'd have to use a lot of negative fill (which I may not have) to bring them down. Tree cover will help, but, if sunny, will create pools of bright light when actors cross the environment. Now, I want the movie to look pretty desaturated and I'm going to do some tests tomorrow, but something I considered was white balancing on a slightly orange card and then in post taking a lot of the blue out, so that the image has a dull blue/gray look and that by taking out the blueish hues, any brightly lit, exposed sky will become grayer. This is what I'm mostly testing tomorrow, I have no idea if that will work (because I understand that I'm adding blue to the sky before I take it away).

I hope I explained that well enough. Any questions or clarifcation please post 'em, I'll be checking back pretty regularly for suggestions. Also, any ideas to throw into the testing mix are very welcome. Thank you all so much!

-Luke Kalteux
student
UW- Oshkosh


Luke,
I cannot understand what u re aimming too.
U want it to look supernatural, or sunlighted?
Or you just want a look that has grey,blue tones?
Dimitrios Koukas
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 08:38 AM

Hey Luke,

I wish there was an easy fix for your scene. I'm afraid that a cloudy day is the only solution for a cloudy day. The light dappling through the trees will give away your sunny day. Sure, you could wash out the color in post but the strong key light of the sun will still be present. Can you just keep the shooting schedule open to grab up the cloudy day you need? Schedules usually have to be adjusted to avoid rainy days, this is just the opposite situation.

Best of luck.
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#4 scorsesebull

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 08:46 AM

To answer the first reply: I just want it to look even, the blue/gray was just an idea to help mask the problem.

I was afraid of that. Originally that solution of waiting for a cloudy day seemed like it might work out considering the shoot is in fall but we've been hit with a tremendously unusual hot, humid, sunny streak! Thanks for the suggestions.
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#5 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 08:58 AM

Now the problem occurs with some wider, lots of panning/tilting/whipping handheld action shots throughout the forest because the environment is supposed to be consistently cloudy. We're shooting over two days cloud or sun. I've come up with a few ideas to tackle this but I wanted some other opinions in case I've overlooked something like a complete stooge, or in case there's an easier more effective way.

-Luke Kalteux
student
UW- Oshkosh

Luke, sorry,
I don't know why but I ve missed that part.If it's a really polulated by trees forest, I don't think there would be so much of a problem lightswise, but you have to consider colour temperature changes.
Also, it's a different think broken clouds, overcast or scatered thru the shooting day.
By my humble knowledge in metereology,(I am also a pilot), if you expect clouds in a sunny day usually come from broken to scatered to overcast during the day.Wich means that about 4-5 o'clock in a daytime u will have the overcast that u want.
So, consult the weather stations and if there is an airport near u can ask them for TAF's or METAR's.
In this way u can schedule your general shots in the mostly cloudy parts of the day.
for the sunny scenes u can use some low contrast filters to match the low contrast atmosphere the clouds give.

DImitrios Koukas
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#6 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 04:31 PM

Trying to make a sunny day into overcast sounded daft but I had a shot anyway. Spent a minute in Photoshop on a pic I found on the net. Selected highlights and garbage-matted the unwanted areas, reduced contrast and brightness of that selection, selected whole pic, reduced saturation of cyan, green, yellow channels. Adjusted overall contrast and brightness. Looks like a smoggy day rather than overcast but I didn't try very hard. I expect you'd have a lot of work trying to maintain a consistent look across a whole project.

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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 04:15 PM

You might be better off saving those really wide shots for late in the day when the sun has just dipped below the horizon and you have that flat skylight overhead. Problem is this doesn't last long, so it can take multiple days to get all the shots you need. Closer angles where you can control the light on the actors with overheads and flags can be shot throughout the remainder of the day. Post effects and color correction can be used as a "polish" to help all the shots match each other and look more like they take place at the same time.

You're not alone in this challenge. Look up what all they had to go through on The Last Samuri to get the forest battle scene to match.
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Visual Products