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Old October 6th, 2008, 04:50 AM   #1
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Lighting indoor with cityscape

Today we setup a piece to camera type shoot with a cityscape background. It was in a small office with the usual 3 redhead setup..
I'm trying to get the best possible exposure for the background while keeping the talent bright. The background is just too blown out and overexposed. Does anyone have work arounds or techniques for dealing with a very bright back light??? without pumping too much light into the talents face.
We are shooting with the Xh-A1 at 1/60~50i HD.

cheers
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Old October 6th, 2008, 05:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Blake Raidal View Post
Today we setup a piece to camera type shoot with a cityscape background. It was in a small office with the usual 3 redhead setup..
I'm trying to get the best possible exposure for the background while keeping the talent bright. The background is just too blown out and overexposed. Does anyone have work arounds or techniques for dealing with a very bright back light??? without pumping too much light into the talents face.
We are shooting with the Xh-A1 at 1/60~50i HD.

cheers
If you scroll down or do a search there have been several very helpful threads on this subject; but you can start by listing the type of lights that you are currently using for this job.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 06:14 AM   #3
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Ive been looking for awhile but can't find a suitable response. Could you suggest any?
Were using 3 800w redheads, I don't know what brand. One diffuse fill, one hard key and one hard backlight. The lights are very warm and give the city a nice blue tinge, I was thinking maybe adding a daylight tota or something to the subject to compensate.. I know very little about lighting a colour temp and all that so I'm lost.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 06:17 AM   #4
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In a confined space and with only three lights you're limited in what you can do.

Generally try to get the talent away further from the BG and light it separately, flagging key/fill lights to prevent spilling.

You could use two of the redheads to light the BG and use white foam board to bounce fill off the key. Use scrims to control the intensity of the lights used for the BG. Use the soft light as key with the foam board (nicer than using a hard light on the talent).

Maybe you can use light from a window with one instrument to light the BG and use the other two to light the talent; or some other combo with available light. You'd need to gel the lights to match the color temperature if you use natural light.

George/

Last edited by George Kroonder; October 6th, 2008 at 06:24 AM. Reason: Added specifics.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 07:06 AM   #5
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Here are a few previous threads on the same or similar subject, many good inputs. I'm sure you realize that this is one of the most challenging situations in lighting.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photon-ma...-exterior.html

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photon-ma...-lighting.html

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photon-ma...st-window.html

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photon-ma...you-light.html

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photon-ma...ose-rooms.html

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/photon-ma...00-3200-a.html
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Old October 6th, 2008, 07:31 AM   #6
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Thanks George. I probably didn't explain properly, but the BG is the city behind a large window. So basically the subjects sits in front of the window with a lovely backdrop of a daylight cityscape. I have done a quick rendition showing the setup.
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Lighting indoor with cityscape-untitled-1.jpg  
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Old October 6th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #7
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thanks a mill Nino, for some stupid reason I thought there would be a simple fix, but viewing some of these threads It's going to take a few more dollars
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Old October 6th, 2008, 08:29 AM   #8
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Sort of missed that... anyway.

The 'standard' move is to gel the windows (CTO/ND) from the outside, but that's not always going to be practical. The problem is the (limited) dynamic range of the camera.

What you could do is shoot the window separately and shoot the talent against a blue screen (even on location) and composite the two together. Best to shoot the talent first and then shoot the same length 'window' footage so you keep dynamics/movement outside. Keep the camera position the same and locked down. Match the shotlist for easy editing.

I would gel the lights with CTB (or 1/2 CTB) and color balance for the natural light.

George/

Last edited by George Kroonder; October 6th, 2008 at 09:00 AM.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #9
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hhhmmm "(limited) dynamic range" you say. Ill have to shot it on 35mm, sorted :)

I think the gel on the window seems my best option. Keying could be an option, but its hard to make it look natural. It might not look too bad Ill have to test it out.

Thanks
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Old October 6th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #10
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If you have the budget, use HMI lights. 4.5x the punch of equivalent wattage tungsten and already daylight balanced. I use a light meter to establish how much daylight I need to compensate for and then try to "beat it" by at least one stop on my subject.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 09:54 AM   #11
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hhhmmm "(limited) dynamic range" you say. Ill have to shot it on 35mm, sorted :)
With film they can telecine two exposures and you can composit them together to get (more than) 6 stops over the already better lattitude of film. Key out the blown window from one and put in the other as a matte.

On an unrelated note; if the windows are accessible Rosco has a polariser based system for controlling incoming light: http://www.rosco.com/us/video/roscoview.asp

George/

Last edited by George Kroonder; October 6th, 2008 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Dang, typing is difficult
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Old October 6th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #12
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For this type of shoot where the shot is fairly confined (I'm assuming a standard interview framing from waist up), gelling the windows with ND would seem to be the logical choice. Since the glass is a relatively invisible factor in the equation of the relationship of subject to background (i.e. the background is the cityscape), you can move the talent pretty close to the glass, minimizing the amount of glass needed to be gelled. If this is the case you wouldn't want to use an 85ND, just a straight ND (probably a 9) since you would be mixing color temperatures with the ambient spill around the ND. Assuming that there is a significant amount of window in the room, the uncorrected glass portion will deliver a nice ambient edge on the subject that is likely more pleasing than can be achieved with a single lighting instrument functioning as backlight.

Another way to do this is to hang a double net like a 12x12 behind the subject, possibly even folded over on itself which will be somewhere between an ND6 and ND9 in effect. There will be the added benefit of slightly softening the background, but there is also a danger that the texture of the net will be readable on camera (and may create moire in the background).
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Old October 6th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #13
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The simplest thing to do with the lights you have is, as noted above, gel the windows. You'd need some CTO/ND gel, to drop the light down and make convert to 3200K. Probably about $150 a roll, but you can save and reuse it. If you can only get ND gel, use CTB on your lights.

The best technique to gelling windows is to have a straightedge and X-acto knife and have somebody who can do it cut the gel to within 1/8" accuracy. Take a bottle of Windex and an artist's squeegee or roller (like you use when mounting prints). Spray the window thoroughly, hold the gel up, and squeegee out all the bubbles. It will stay there for days. Some gaffers use a spray bottle with a very thin soap solution, but I think Windex works perfectly well.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:08 PM   #14
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The best technique to gelling windows is to have a straightedge and X-acto knife and have somebody who can do it cut the gel to within 1/8" accuracy. Take a bottle of Windex and an artist's squeegee or roller (like you use when mounting prints). Spray the window thoroughly, hold the gel up, and squeegee out all the bubbles. It will stay there for days. Some gaffers use a spray bottle with a very thin soap solution, but I think Windex works perfectly well.
That's what I love about this site, all these cool and extremely useful little tips :-)
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Old October 10th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #15
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Do you even need to gel the window itself?
Couldn't you just frame a gel and set it behind the talent?
If the ND gel is taught, than it will still do the job, and can be made portable if it's done right or even just clamped on a few stands.
Then you could gel the lights to match for the daylight and have an easily reusable setup.
Am I wrong here?
I'm just starting to get into using gels, since I always just avoided those complicated shots with multiple color temps.
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