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Old May 20th, 2003, 08:51 AM   #1
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Low cost solution for blocking windows

Does anyone have one? I'm talking about blocking the sunlight, or at least diffusing it somewhat, coming through a window from outside, when shooting an interior scene. Something that could cover a very large window, or a small one, and be invisible to the camera. I was thinking of something that could go behind the blinds.
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Old May 20th, 2003, 09:44 AM   #2
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ND gel sheets are relatively inexpensive, and wont change the color of the light - just knock it down. i bought several sheets after driving 45 minutes away to the only place that had them in stock, it was like $5.50 for 20x24 sheet...im sure i couldda found a better deal had i more time. try checkin on the internet. you can always get ND .3 and .6 and then double up for a .9 if needed (thats what i did).
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Old May 20th, 2003, 01:30 PM   #3
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I got in a bind one time when, after having scouted the location and decided on the shot, the producer wanted to change everything so a huge double patio door with blinds was in the shot. We had no ND gel, no CTO either. But there was a big roll of those black plastic leaf bags in the garage. I slit open the bags--they're just bigger than normal garbage bags, and a little thinner than normal too since they're for leaves, mainly. I slit them open and gaffertaped them to the window, then dropped the blinds and opened them slightly. There was still enough light coming in to look good as opposed to blacked out...and, strangely enough, the color temperature was just a little warmer than my tungsten lights.

In another situation, I covered some skylights with brown butcher paper, and that came out very close in color to the 3200 K lights too.

Normally I use the proper gels, but in their absence, there is often a way to make it work.
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Old May 20th, 2003, 05:14 PM   #4
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Filmtools.com currently has Lee ND rolls on sale 96.85 for a 4' by 25' roll.

http://store.yahoo.com/cinemasupplies/y.html

this is typically adequate for getting seamless coverage of a couple large windows.
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Old May 20th, 2003, 08:42 PM   #5
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Best, cheapest way to totally block out a window is aluminum foil. Keeps the room cool too.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 07:05 AM   #6
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Don't most of the "cheap" solutions here block the window so
that you can't see out of it anymore?
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Old May 21st, 2003, 07:38 AM   #7
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He mentioned there would be blinds.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 08:06 AM   #8
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The art supply stores here sell clear and tinted plastic sheeting, the thick rubbery type, on large rolls for very cheap. Not sure what it's intended for, but it would be great for tinting or shading windows. Plus, it'll stick to the window just from static electricity. No taping.

I hope they don't catch on that it's good for photography and filming...if they do, they'll just package it in a black box and jack the price up about 1000%.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 12:22 PM   #9
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If you are flat broke, and there are blinds obstructing most of the view, buy a bedsheet, and hang it outside the window.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 12:31 PM   #10
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Thanks gents. . .all good ideas!
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Old May 21st, 2003, 01:49 PM   #11
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Your local Home Depot sells large rolls of poly that is used for many purposes, such as temporary covering of a leaky roof. This is for covering a large area with a single sheet. If I remember right it may come in different thickness (mils) and the thinest would let a very little light through.

I have used these large sheets of black to make a wrinkled backdrop that I hit with colored lights. So don't throw it away after your shoot.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 03:28 PM   #12
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What's the name of this stuff? Can it be easily attached to a window without damaging anything?
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Old May 21st, 2003, 04:23 PM   #13
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The highly technical name is, "plastic sheeting." It measures 10' x 25' and costs under ten bucks. You can tape it up, or use some kind of clips. Black. Use this to create night in the room. (No sunlight)

You could also look at "drop cloths" in the paint department, but those are usually more transparent. Stacking two or three of them would knock down the level of the outdoor light and still let some into the room through the drapes.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 07:26 PM   #14
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Josh, the material is called visqueen. The name has become generic, like Jello and Kleenex. I did a series of videos years ago for the building trades and learned about the material. Here's a link to the manufacture.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 08:01 PM   #15
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While Jeff is right about "visqueen," the Home Depot search engine only knows "plastic sheeting." Obviously they have no romance in their souls.
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