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Old July 14th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #1
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Lighting outside

I'm shooting a short this weekend and will be both director and DP. Since my skills as a DP are extremely limited, I'm just lighting for proper exposure. I'm concerned with shooting outside. It's supposed to be cloudy (keeping my fingers crossed), but if it turns out to be a sunny day -- how can I control the sunlight falling on the actors?

For example, the actors are talking to each other at a table on a deck. If I shoot a wide shot where the clouds are blocking the sun, but then in a medium shot the sun is striking his face, what would be a good way to block out the sun and keep the continuity between the shots?

Also, I'm on a shoe string budget, so I need to keep it cheap.

Thanks
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:10 PM   #2
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What's typically done for shoots outdoors like this, is a "silk" or large, framed piece of fabric is suspended over the set to scrim light from the sun. This evens out the lighting, so that as the sun moves across the sky- and therefore shadows- that your set/actors look the same.

My first thought was a king sized sheet, stretched and hung over the set. Then use reflectors to light. Anything from aluminum foil on cardboard to mirrors with diffusion put in front of them would work.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Jeff Patnaude
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Old July 14th, 2005, 04:46 PM   #3
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Deniz,

I once shot a commercial outside and while getting my silks together noticed a break in, and all my silks and frames stolen!

So, this is what I did, and can recomend it for low budget shoots.

Go to a large store like Lowes or Home depot and buy the following.

medium weight Paper/Plastic mix drop cloths. The kind you'd use to cover furniture while painting. They come in various sizes, 9X12 should be ample.

Buy a bunch of 1/2inch PVC Drinking Water pipes

Buy a bag of 1/2 inch elbow joints and 'T' joints to hold the pipes together.

Make yourself a frame, attach the drop cloths with clips or gaffer tape, and away you go!

The can be used as screens(too bright) or reflectors (just make sure it's tight)

steve
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I might build the frame but use a sheet instead of the plastic. I just found a lighting DVD I had purchased a while back and they were using what looked like a white sheeet to diffuse the sunlight. (it might have been a Scrim Jim)

Stephen -- did you have people holding the frame or were you able to keep it up with stands?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:14 PM   #5
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Deniz,
Just some c-stands and clamps. If it's a bit blowy, the odd PA or to would be useful.

I strongly recommend you purchase the drop cloths as they are much lighter than sheets, and they only cost around $3 a piece!
steve
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:34 PM   #6
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Just be safe gents...frames over 6x6 can turn into sails as Stephen described, and because of their proximity to the actors, caution should be taken. Tie the frames down whenever possible...you can run tie lines out to 25 lb sandbags if there aren't structures around. Make sure your stands are strong enough, not bending under the weight. Even a lightweight frame can still be dangerous in a sudden gust.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #7
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Absolutly right Charles.

I've seen a grips assistant 'take off' a few feet after someone removed the wrong tie lines on a 10X15 silk.

As always Safety First! If you're not sure it good, don't do it.

steve
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Old July 19th, 2005, 03:26 PM   #8
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The shoot went great this weekend. It turned out to be cloudy both days so I never had a problem with the lighting. I ended up buying the pieces for the PVC scrim, but never got a chance to use it. Now this weekend I get to tryout indoor lighting.

Thanks for the help.
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