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Old January 28th, 2005, 09:25 PM   #1
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Lighting paradox

Shooting a scene in less than 24 hours. It will take place in a diner, in a booth. There will be a window next to the booth. I just got to thinking, how would I go about white balancing in that situation? Natural light coming in from the window, lighting one side of the actor's faces ....and light coming from the inside (diner) the other side of their faces?

I dont have any sort of lighting. I was hoping to use natural light ...but now im concerned ..because i dont know how to white balances since light will be hitting the actors from 2 different sources .....

any tips??


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Old January 28th, 2005, 10:37 PM   #2
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I see a couple of choices.(assuming your script calls for daytime scene)
Turn all the lights off in the diner and set up your own daylight balanced lighting to simulate. probably this is best
or if the lighting isn't flourescent in the diner cover the window with gel to match.
or use reflectors to bounce the daylight back and block the diner lighting
depending on the character you wish to create you may be able to balance to the daylight and let the diner lite which would normally be a few stops less, cast a slight orange cast (if not flourescent)
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Old January 28th, 2005, 10:47 PM   #3
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You can use a CTO (Correct To Orange) gel on the windows. This will bring the color temperature of the daylight (which is roughly 5600K and will vary according to time of day and degree of overcast) to roughly 3200K, the color temperature of a tungsten lamp. Then you may choose to white balance off a white card lit by the corrected sunlight, the diner fixtures, or a combination of the two. The light from the two sources will still have a different quality (especially since it sounds like you can't control the indoor fixtures at all), but that's not necessarily a bad thing and it may look quite natural.

Other folks on the forum have suggested only doing a partial correction (e.g. 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 CTO) to create more or less of a sunlight effect.

If you don't have any control over the light, you can still make a judgment call--how much of the scene takes place against the window vs. under fully artificial illumination? Perhaps you should white balance to the majority position, as it were.

I've had some success splitting the difference, but that worked best when both sources were relatively diffuse, e.g. a standard incandescent bulb bouncing off a white wall mixing with indirect daylight bouncing off light-colored stucco. I balanced for the sum of the two sources. It looked a bit cool (blue), but not horribly unflattering. Not all angles looked good though, and I could have gotten better results had I a bounce card and a reference monitor. Especially a bounce card.

Michael Bernstein, actor & film maker.
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Old January 29th, 2005, 11:11 AM   #4
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I would simply balance for the daylight coming through the window and allow the interior light (probably fluourescent) to go warmish. As long as the predominant light in the diner is from the windows, you will be fine and it will have a nice rich look.
Charles Papert
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