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Old November 28th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #1
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Lighting thrown water in high-key setting: some advice would be nice

I'm working on a concept where water will be thrown, but the setting is a white studio with a blonde, causasian model dressed in white: You can called it a high-key setting.
I want the background to be white (or very close to white): this means (almost) overexposing the background. (I know that).
The model has to be lit properly (I know that as well ;-) )

But what will happen to the water that gets thrown 'into the frame'?
How do I make sure the water is visible against the white background and stays 'three-dimensional' (instead of an overexposed white (or just plain grey) 'flat' shape)?

Should I place black flags (not visible in frame and not causing shadows) on the sides (or on 1 side?), so the black will be reflected (like the lights will do) in the thrown water to give it more visibility and depth?
(Or am I on the wrong track here??)

It will be shot at 60fps (overcranking 60/25), so the footage will be slightly slow-motion.

I'd like to read/see some thoughts, advice and experiences on this :-)

(Thanks in advance :-) )
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Old November 28th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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put a big tarp on the studio floor

and backlight the water.....

do a few tests and see how it looks

i would use rcd safety switches for all the lighting
to ensure the safety of the talent
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Old November 28th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #3
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Add some milk?

I recall reading in some cinematography book long ago about making artificial "rain drops" in the studio more visible. A small amount of whitening agent (maybe milk) was added to the water, so it would reflect the light better.

Ken
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Old November 29th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!

(What is a tarp? I'm not a native english speaker)

About adding milk: that should work really well when using a black background, but with a white background I don't think it's a good idea.
(Another reason to add milk is the viscosity: the fat in the milk makes the milk drops 'sticking more together'.)

I'll be doing some small scale experiments tomorrow, but if anyone has something to share on this subject: please, be my guest!
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Old November 29th, 2010, 05:49 PM   #5
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Tarp is short for tarpaulin, which Google translates to the Dutch as dekkleed.

noun
1.dekkleed
2.geteerd zeildoek
3.presenning
4.matrozenhoed
5.matroos
6.pikbroek
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Old November 29th, 2010, 11:43 PM   #6
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thanks adam.
just suggested a tarpaulin for the floor as it makes cleaning up easier
some studio managers get a bit nervous about having water thrown on their floors.

if you backlight the water with a hard source it will act like a lens and
hilight the the water.
do some tests to find the correct angle to light it.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 05:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for the explaination!

In the meantime the editing is finished as well.

Just to share some findings (who knows: it might be helpful some day):
I didn't add anything to the water, and certainly not something white: the background was overexposed (around 103-105%), so I couldn't use white on white.
As stated before: water (drops) act like a lens.
I used both backlight (which was also needed to light the scene) and black surfaces (my first guess). The black surfaces are als visible in the water.
We placed to panels on the left and right, black paper on the floor behind the model and a black backdrop was hanging just high enough to be invisible (like all the other black surfaces).

Without the black surfaces the water was almost invisible against the white background. The black surfaces added shadow, shape and visbility to the water.

Offcourse I would like to show the result, but it may not be safe for work: for a few seconds you can see through the girl's white top.
(Over here it's not a big deal, but since this is an international (and US based) forum: I don't want to upset people or 'embarres' the advertisers... Dear MODS: what should I do?)
It sounds a lot sexier than it is: it's an add for a crossmedia company about refreshing communication.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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The technique of adding blacks all around the area seen in the shot is a good and inventive one, so congratulations on solving that equation.

That said: I love the fact that in the Netherlands, corporate video can include nudity. That certainly would have livened up any of the absurdly uptight corporate gigs I've done over the years. So I say bring on the link, so we can check out the, uh, drops of water.

Caveat emptor to all who click on it: NSFW.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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Okay, this link is probably Not Safe For Work:
YouTube - Kristy Cross Media

(mods: feel free to delete the link. How do I contact the moderators??)

@ Charles:
I wouldn't call it nudity.
And nudity in corporate films isn't common in here either, lol.

I must say that in the end you don't really see the water in the edit, because the moment it 'flies' through the screen has been cut away for the sake of timing.
Nevertheless: the black panels work.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 11:09 PM   #10
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I think that a couple of panels alongside the camera (sort of parallel to the backdrop) would also have worked.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 03:52 AM   #11
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That is probably a solution that may have worked, but it would probably darken the shadow of her face. We used a white panel below the camera to lighten that a bit.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 05:24 AM   #12
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To my American ears, I clearly hear "f--- your home!" right after the water splashes. Very funny. I wonder what it really means?

Thanks for sharing and for the tips ;).
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 12:03 PM   #13
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Re black panels

They don't have to be very big - actually a bunch of thin but tall panels spaced around out of camera range can work - and they don't even all have to be black.

This kind of thing comes up all the time in 3D CGI - without something to refract and or reflect, glass and water are kind of invisible. So you have to put something in the scene or surround the scene with an HDR image. That's how they get realistic highlights on reflective surfaces like glass and chrome on 3D car models
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Old February 6th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
To my American ears, I clearly hear "f--- your home!" right after the water splashes. Very funny. I wonder what it really means?
Hahaha, you mean 'vakjargon'... that means 'professional slang' (or something like that... like the techno-blabla most professionals have that isn't understood by most 'outsiders').
It says: "Weg met al dat vakjargon."
Meaning something like: "Cut that professional slang!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Re black panels

They don't have to be very big - actually a bunch of thin but tall panels spaced around out of camera range can work - and they don't even all have to be black.

This kind of thing comes up all the time in 3D CGI - without something to refract and or reflect, glass and water are kind of invisible. So you have to put something in the scene or surround the scene with an HDR image. That's how they get realistic highlights on reflective surfaces like glass and chrome on 3D car models
You are totally right: I have the same experience with reflections on 3D cars.
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