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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 07:42 PM   #1
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Outdoor lighting &/or diffusion

Hello all. I think this might be my first post but certainly not my first time here.
I had a quick question regarding a series I am shooting over the next 2 years.

First off, here's the jist of the equipment I'm using (related to this question):
- - - - -
Canon XL H1a
FS-CV DTE 100gb
Lowel Rifa Soft-boxes
Sony Lav Mics + Boom Mic (using a mixer)
- - - - -
So I have primarily shot studio for most of my career. I have done some minor outdoor stuff but nothing on this scale. My concern is diffusion techniques and necessary equipment. The subject will be 2, sometimes 3 people. Always stationary so we can incorporate stands. The first shoot we did outdoor, I took a 1,000 watt softbox thinking that would make for a good fill light but it had no effect whatsoever! LOL. Still hard shadows all over the talents faces.

So here's my plan. As you can see in the attached image I'm using a 96" x 96" Wescott scrim behind then to stop the outdoor light down so it's not completely blown out (like in the 2 side windows on the right). I want to get the Wescott white -1 stop- scrim, mount that on that frame, grab 4 light stands and grip handles and set it up sort of like a tent over them. Like a giant diffuser (with lots'o'sandbags!). My assumption is that it will erase any hard shadows, stop the light down and clean everything up enough so that I won't even need any hot lights?

My question is, is there any specific equipment (tent diffusers etc?...) that I haven't been able to find for this? I've seen interviews done at football games and golf tournaments where they are using 'tent like' pieces for diffusion but I'm not sure if they were made for that or just improvised like I'm doing?

Thanks for any help!

Mike
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Outdoor lighting &/or diffusion-ms0_3592.jpg  
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Old June 6th, 2010, 09:23 AM   #2
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Location: Mount Washington Valley, NH, USA
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When I shoot outside, I use at least 3 HMI lights and a diffuser or sometimes even a white show booth tent to cut the sun.

The biggest problem is if the sun is going in and out of the clouds.

So my way of shooting is use a scrim/tent to diffuse the sun light the talent with a lot of daylight (HMI focusing lights are the best). The result is even as the sunlight changes the talent light stays very similar.

I do a lot of outdoor interviews that run all day outside. Below is an example of the lighting setup I used a few weeks ago in SC. I like to set up with the talent in dappled shade light and then diffuse that even more.
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Outdoor lighting &/or diffusion-scshoot.jpg  
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Old June 6th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #3
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do you find it more effective if you use smaller scrims (per person like 36" x 36") if you're shooting more than one person? i ordered the 96" x 96" 1 stop white scrim with 4 stands and grip angles to create a sort of "tent" to cover 2 or 3 people simultaneously. one of my bigger concerns is the wind carrying that thing away! ;) we're in northern cal (Sonoma & Napa) and it get's fairly windy!

thanks for the feedback Olof! really appreciate it.

Mike
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Old June 6th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #4
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Location: Mount Washington Valley, NH, USA
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I have several different scrims and "tents".

Sandbags and anchors to cars and rebar pounded in the ground is what it sometimes takes to be wind safe.

Most of the time with a single person I use the 4'x4' with sandbags as seen in the photos below, that expands to 4'x8' if need be.

Here are 2 more cel phone photos. The one with the "tents" shows them on their side as wind blockers. It was gusting up to 30 mph and we had to create a lee for the audio. Miserable day thunder storms etc. Everything was anchored to trees cars and rebar pounded into the lawn.
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Outdoor lighting &/or diffusion-tnshoot1.jpg   Outdoor lighting &/or diffusion-tnshoot2.jpg  

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Old June 11th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #5
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thanks Olof! just ordered 2 wescott 42" (1 stop) scrims with frames, stands and grip handles :) also 2 extra handles in case i ever need to mount our 96" scrim. oh, and 8 more sandbags ;)
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