lighting Picking my poison

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
What do you think is preferable?

Option 1) Shooting afternoon from 2-5 with direct sunlight coming from the right side of your actors.
Option 2) Shooting evening with direct sunlight for the wide shots and then shade/sun behind trees for the close ups.


Close ups in direct sunlight have the potential to look really awful, and I have too many extras and not enough help to erect some sort of diffusion sheet.
And changing sunlight has the potential to stand out.

What do think I should choose?
 
What do think I should choose?
Put in more hours and use both? :idea:

You'll hardly have all the extras in the close-up shots, so can you shoot these elements separately, either when you can make use of better natural light, or to use some of the extras to hold diffusers/reflectors? Is this taking place in open space outdoors? Is there any chance you can use sets/props to create useful shade or reflections?

Otherwise, it's a question of working within whatever other parameters make the decision for you. I often have this trouble taking still photos. The classic advice is always to shoot during the Golden Hour ... but it's very difficult to justify carrying a bag of camera gear on your back for eight hours past many photographable sights and not use it just because the Internet says wait till sunset.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Put in more hours and use both? :idea:

You'll hardly have all the extras in the close-up shots, so can you shoot these elements separately, either when you can make use of better natural light, or to use some of the extras to hold diffusers/reflectors? Is this taking place in open space outdoors? Is there any chance you can use sets/props to create useful shade or reflections?

Otherwise, it's a question of working within whatever other parameters make the decision for you. I often have this trouble taking still photos. The classic advice is always to shoot during the Golden Hour ... but it's very difficult to justify carrying a bag of camera gear on your back for eight hours past many photographable sights and not use it just because the Internet says wait till sunset.

Yeah more hours and more money... there are definite limitations here.
Very hard for me to get extras. And #2 my star is only 11 years old so I cannot work long days.

Only additional days - and with additional days i run the risk of entirely different weather. overcast vs sun. etc

This thread is a little dumb that I created but part of my motivation is that you see ALL THE TIME these ugly wide shots with harsh light and then close ups with soft diffuse light that doesn't match the wide shot. It's incredibly common and I was curious if thats possible to do something similar with direct sunlight and then shade but I have my suspicions that it won't be very seamless.

I could get someone to hold a reflector. IDK what exists in terms of hand held diffusers. i've only seen huge flag type things.
 
This thread is a little dumb that I created but part of my motivation is that you see ALL THE TIME these ugly wide shots with harsh light and then close ups with soft diffuse light that doesn't match the wide shot.

Am I missing something? Surely you're not trying to replicate this inconsistency between harsh wide shots and soft close-ups? :weird:

If there's no way that you can soften the wide scenes with the extras, and no way to logically explain a change in lighting within the scene (e.g. character in a shaded spot, away from the "wide" action) would you consider going for harshly-lit close-ups too and making that part of the film's look?
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Am I missing something? Surely you're not trying to replicate this inconsistency between harsh wide shots and soft close-ups? :weird:

I was considering implementing it as a compromise - to avoid having harsh close up shots.
IRL there are things like large clouds that pass over and then everything is in shadow, it does happen.

But we also erect huge flags and stuff and block out the sun to prevent that exact thing from happening in movies.
 
The low-buck DIY remedy for diffusion; obtain the cheapest (lowest thread count) king size white flat sheet you can find. Shop discount/closeout stores. Get two 10 foot long, 1 1/2 inch schedule 40 or greater PVC pipes, four 1 1/2 inch 90 degree elbows, and two 1 1/2 inch T junctions. You will also need PVC cement. Cut the pipes to the desired length to make the size frame you want (4X4, 5X5, 4X5, and 4X6 are all possible with these materials). Cut the pipe sections on the long side, if applicable, in half. Glue the pipes together to form a group of two connected rectangles like an old analog "digital" number eight. Stretch the sheet over the frame and secure with glue, bungees, string, or whatever your fastening method of choice happens to be. When holding or mounting the scrim, have the uninterrupted fabric side facing away from the light source. You can make multiple scrims and use them together to get a larger area of diffusion.
In the past I have made these for less than $10US each. With how much building materials have gone up in price lately, I doubt it can be done for less than $15 or $20.
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I decided to go with the crazy idea of shooting close ups in shade and wide shots in sun.
It was causing me a lot of stress. but in the end. it will probably just be overcast anyway lol.

I want to stay focused on the other aspects of production.
 
"We'll just fix it in post !!!"
i can fix that GIF
 
It is a stylistic choice completely within the discretion of the Director/Cinematographer (ie., You). We all have to work within the confines of our current realities. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, 'You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.' Creative problem solving is the key to getting stuff done.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
It is a stylistic choice completely within the discretion of the Director/Cinematographer (ie., You). We all have to work within the confines of our current realities. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, 'You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.' Creative problem solving is the key to getting stuff done.
It'll be a good experiment. And given my time and budget constraints I'd rather focus on extra shots and face paced editing in the gun fight.
Rather than fewer shots with slightly more consistency and having to deal with building a bunch of distracting shit.

this is all assuming its a sunny day
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
It was causing me a lot of stress. but in the end. it will probably just be overcast anyway lol.

Hey a nice overcast day. Today is the day!!

Going to film a big action sequence with 6 people and dialogue. Entirely by myself :) No crew.
Some of these people have asked me if there is a wardrobe person or a makeup person LOL!!!!

I didn't have to heart to tell them its just me. I was afraid they might not show up.
Covid gives me a great excuse though I can just tell people I wanted to be as safe as possible and thats why theres no sound guy or pa. lol.
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Good luck!
Crushed it!!! Big action finale with dialogue and 6 characters, firepit, broken windows and shattered glass, gunshots and bloody wounds.

Did everything behind the camera by myself! Feels great.
Got a few really killer shots in there and the weather was perfect.
 
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