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Old May 18th, 2005, 07:50 PM   #1
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Lighting a scene for brilliant dusk

I have a test shoot this weekend where we are lighting a parked car to look like a brilliant dusk/sunset scene. I am looking for a very dramatic effect for the scene, something like a sunset on a cloudless day in the desert would be shining through a car windshield heading into the sun. We are using 3200K balanced lights but I am not sure what the color temperature of a sunset would be. Also, I am not sure how to white balance my camera and what gels to use on the lights etc. I have some ideas but thought I would try and get some input from people who have lighted something like this before.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I would like to have a better idea of what we should try before I get there on Sat.

Thanks for any help. This site has been invaluable!!!
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Old May 18th, 2005, 08:26 PM   #2
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Sunset and "magic hour" are some of the most beautiful times of the day to shoot. In terms of colors: direct sunlight has always more orange than shadows.
To get "that feeling" recreated, WB for the ambient and use a CTO (more or less to personal taste) on the light (on top of the natural 3500 natural Kelvin) and make the highlights as close to "washed out" to emulate the "real thing"!
Good luck.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 08:52 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan for your quick response.

We will actually be shooting the scene during daylight hours because of time constraints. From what I gathered from your response we should WB the camera for normal daylight (which will be somewhere between 5000 to 5600K at the time we are shooting and use CTO gels to lower the temperature to around 3500K. I was thinking that we would use CTO gels but I was also thinking that some sort of Amber gel might boost the color. We will be fighting the "blue" light of the sun (althought the camera will be WB to it) while we are doing this and will have to overpower that with the gelled lights. Given this, would we need to use a fairly high CTO (say a CTO 1) or is there another gel that would help in this situation?
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Old May 18th, 2005, 10:20 PM   #4
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Kevin,
Blue is rarely "seen" as "natural" as for "natural" light.
A slightly "blu-ish" card for the WB (in the shadow) will help the look. As for how much CT.... is toooo relative to give "advice" or “prescription”. I am sure you will find the most appropriate amount that suits your vision (and budget)
<<<<will have to overpower that with the gelled lights.>>>>
Yes. Sunlight is the strongest light source and it should "show" that way.
As to what iris setting.... depends on the budget and how strong the bulbs you are using are (distance to car.... ambient light.... etc)
As a "golden rule":
Film shows details within 12-14 stops. Video? 5-7? You have to "fake" that by: framing, filters and "fill" to "translate the 12 stops into 6!!! (if possible)
Keep that in mind as you set up the lights (vs ambient) and you have a winning picture.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 06:21 AM   #5
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Dan, thanks again!!

I hadn't considered WB with a "slightly" blu-ish card and will definately try that. The only thing I am kind of worried about is if our lights will be strong enough but I will just have to wait and see on that one. "Translating" stops might be a little difficult but I again will just have to wait and see what we can get.

Again, thanks for the info, I wanted to have a good idea on things to try before I showed up on Sat.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:22 AM   #6
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I thought about it further and here it is:
IF you have A LOT of sun (on D day) AND IF you can, USE IT; change the car's position (to suit the vision) and let the sun do "the dirty" OR.... use a BIG mirror to bounce its light (free and no generators needed) You could CTO the mirror (to suit the vision) at no expense. Also you could net/shade the car (to cut out some ambient light) That will "strengthen" the amount of light you are pumping.
Grad ND (to cut the sky's brightness, if you do not have to tilt) and...... make sure you can see ONE shadow only !! (one sun=one shadow, right?) If possible, use some leaves/flowers (soft) in CU to enhance the 3D "illusion" and create some depth.....
argh........ enough.
Have fun!!!!!
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Old May 19th, 2005, 12:05 PM   #7
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Why not just bounce using gold reflectors. They give a very sunset color to the subect.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #8
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Excellent idea (for CU)! I fear they would not be strong/directional enough for wider shoots though. Definitely worth a try.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 12:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Diaconu
Excellent idea (for CU)! I fear they would not be strong/directional enough for wider shoots though. Definitely worth a try.
No Dan, I don't believe that's true. Since he's going to be shooting in strong sunlight, a couple of gold reflectors should provide enough "sunset" so that he could shoot the whole car and see the gold reflect off the chrome. He could even add a filter in front of the lens to add to the effect. Say a Warm Soft/FX or a Warm Polarizer, though I'd stay away from orange filters.

The main problem is probably going to be reflections of a clear blue sky in the car windows during exterior shots, though the filters will help.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #10
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I appreciate everyone's responses, it gives me a great list of options to try in order to achieve the look we want.

I don't think we will have to worry about the sky reflecting on the windows because the car we are using is actually a pickup truck with the back window dressed up so you can't really see through it and the side windows will be open. Any front windshield shots will be as tight as we can get them but I am thinking we might have to tent those shots. We will be filming the interior shots with the truck parked but in the final cut the truck will actually look like it is in motion so we will shoot all wide exteriors actually in the golden hour and then match the interiors shots to that light.

I have to say it is so great to have a sight like this where you can get input from a number of people. Again, I appreciate all the suggestions.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 05:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Barker
a couple of gold reflectors should provide enough "sunset" so that he could shoot the whole car and see the gold reflect off the chrome.
Absolutely true... only.... a couple of shadows (from one sun?)
It might work though (if they are very close together and lined up)
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Old May 19th, 2005, 05:53 PM   #12
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BTW Kevin, as far as I know, the closest desert to Columbus is Dayton. :)
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Old May 19th, 2005, 06:09 PM   #13
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Good advice and a sense of humor....wait a minute....that's not far from the truth! =)

Of course many people would say that about Columbus!!
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Old May 19th, 2005, 07:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Penhorwood
Good advice and a sense of humor
If I was to talk freely, I'd be burned to the stake (while you'd laugh your lungs out) (luckily, the moderators these days don't do it no mo'… but…. It’s rather safe to keep it tight ;-)<.
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