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Photon Management
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Old April 18th, 2005, 12:48 AM   #1
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Desert Shoot

I'm shooting a super16 student film that's coming up soon in the Anza Borrego desert (SoCal). The film is much like Thelma and Louise meets Fear and Loathing in LV.

The shots mostly consist of the characters in a car mount shots, in-vehicle shots, and some shots of the car from another car. There will also be shots of them outside the vehicle roaming the desert.

I'm pretty new to all this, so can you guys recomend a good way to control harsh lighting from the sun? We will be shooting during sunrise/sunset mostly, but not only. We will not have any lights or electricity whatsoever. I'm thinking that just bringing some nets and reflectors will suffice...but other tips would be appreciated.
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Old April 18th, 2005, 11:26 PM   #2
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Hi Dan, primarily as long as you remember that all light is just a matter of intensity and contrast, and as long as you can control the intensity with the iris, ND solids, and ND grads in the camera you have won half the battle.

The other half is controlling the specular nature of the light-source itself, so by making the source bigger (with a large overhead buttefly diffuser) you enlarge the source and make it softer and more diffuse. The brings the highlights under control, but still doesn't help with all the shadows. You bring in reflectors for that.

While a large butterfly does reduce scene contrast a bit by surrounding the subject with light, it can take away the gritty nature of the desert. So it may be better to use a smaller diffuser that expands the sun a little but maintains direction and shadow quality, then bringing in very large reflector sheets on PVC or metal pipe to reflect it back into the subjects. This reduces overall rigging, and reduces critical scene contrast naturally. It also allows you to control lighting contrast on the main subjects.

There are other things you can do, like controlling the angle and frame of the camera so that you see less of the bright, hot ground below, or the bright sky above, using long lenses to isolate the subject against a darker part of the landcscape, using neutral gray reflectors on the ground to add contrast and remove color wash from the sand, using wardrobe choices to minimize bright white highlights on the main subjects, and makeup to darken the faces if need be to better match the exposure. Many options, and it all comes down to intensity and contrast.

Just remember to keep the camera under an umbrella when possible :)

Good luck.
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Rush Hamden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 8th, 2005, 08:48 PM   #3
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dust X 1000= dusty

joker 400


lots of grip a dp w/ balls and lens filter master split/grad ect.

crazier the better I say

flags , silk and scrim

lots of imagination and compressed air

Strength and Honor

Last edited by Richard Veil; May 8th, 2005 at 09:01 PM. Reason: content
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