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Old March 7th, 2015, 07:36 AM   #16
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Well...there's your problem. Just pull the drapes. ;}

Good luck, and let us know what you ended up trying and how it worked out.
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Old March 7th, 2015, 10:30 AM   #17
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Looking at the still I would let the windows blowout like they did if the lights you bring are not strong enough battle the outside completely. If you are limited by Power and budget then 1.2's might be the biggest you can run safely even though you would like or need more.
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Old March 7th, 2015, 12:51 PM   #18
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Levine View Post
The basics of the shoot are that it's 3 dancers in front of large bright windows, and i am tasked with getting enough light on them to get the skyline background window exposure within range
I think this is the key to it all. By "I am tasked", Darren, I am assuming that you mean the client has specifically requested that you maintain detail outside the windows. If that is the case, this is not a "fudgeable" notion as Daniel is perhaps suggesting (i.e., try it and see how it goes). I have been in this exact boat myself. I shot a commercial on 35mm many years ago with large windows in the background, and pushed the interior as hot as I could with my available lighting. In telecine, the exteriors held within the latitude of the negative but that system was too rudimentary to be able to bring that dynamic range down to NTSC. We dialed it in for the windows, the foreground was too dark. Opened up for foreground, the windows blew out. The colorist turned and looked at me expectantly. The clients were dead silent. I sweated. It wasn't pretty.

While tools like Resolve are quite powerful today, it helps to get a "fat negative" going in and even the C100 in log is not a dynamic range powerhouse. When you do your test, try exposing somewhat to the right and seeing if you can pull up the interior enough to make it work. And then show the test to the client and make sure they are comfortable with the results. If not, quote them on a package that will make it work, so it's their decision to go for it or not. That will cover you on the day.

The classic misconception out there these days is that cameras are so sensitive, you don't need big lights any more. Even at my level I still have to point out that the sun is as strong as it always has been, so going up against it still requires the same out of intensity. The next few years will represent groundbreaking changes in this regard as dynamic range creeps higher, but we aren't there yet.
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Old March 13th, 2015, 01:49 PM   #19
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Darren,

Keep us posted on this if you wouldn't mind. I was wondering if you could use some bounce back from the windows to help... it would need to be pretty big and bouncy though!
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Old March 13th, 2015, 08:22 PM   #20
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Thanks Ken, i very much need to catch up with emails, didn't see notifications on the last few posts in here.

i'm still a bit hectic and have a different shoot to go pack for for the morning, so forgive the brief update:

Did the lighting test, had to be fairly brief about it, but tried out a 1.2 and an m18, first scrimming the m18 to simulate a second 1.2, and then de-scrimmed to see the gain on the m18. we tried half frost and 1/4 grid, with a head placement of 10' to the lead subject, diff 4-5' from the fixture. There was not a whole lot of space to work with, but got a decent enough simulation

Result was that we could get details in the buildings outside of the windows, but the sky was still at least another stop away from real detail while keeping the skintones within reason. Sub'ing in the m18 was a big bump, despite being only 600watts larger, it does indeed act more like a 2.5 with that new reflector design that my lighting guy was telling me about. With that kicked in, we were starting to hit a balance between the skintones and sky.

Prepped the client that while we already have planned significantly more light than they've used in the past which will achieve more detail in the windows, that upgrading to the larger m18s would be recommended should the budget allow either now or for future shoots. Client was happy with sticking with the current plan since it's already more than they're used to, and work from there for the following shoot, which is planned for may.

Thanks again for the inputs, and i might add that if anyone has need for a GH4 rental, i was stunned to get this rate for a rental from lensrentals: 6 days. $111 total including round trip shipping... bonkers

cheers
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Old March 16th, 2015, 06:28 AM   #21
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Those results are consistent with what I suggested in my earlier post--you got satisfactory results with M18's through light diffusion, whereas I recommended M40's but would have used full grid or 216 for more softness (or more likely, going through a 4x4 frame of opal and then a secondary 8x8 of light frost or 1/4 gridcloth). That extra stop gives you the firepower to make choices and also service the clients when they say "it's still just a little bright outside, any way to bring it down more?" I find it very stressful to have "just enough" light to combat daylight, you always want a little extra so you have flexibility in how you manage it. Of course, budget dictates all.

A couple of notes about the M series lights for those interested. As Darren noted, they emulate the output of the "next-level-up" classic pars, so an M18 can replicate an older style 2500, an M40 can emulate a 6K par etc. They have a wide focusing range, but one trick worth mentioning is that taking roughly a 1/4 turn from full flood towards spot will result in a significantly greater output without excessively narrowing the beam. If you are pushing through a 4x4 frame with a reasonable amount of diffusion (more than opal for instance) or bouncing, the beam spread won't change much but you can amp up the effective output easily 1/2 a stop and approaching a full stop, which is very handy. On the other side, the M series ballasts feature a dimmer that allow you to knock the output down incrementally to a full stop less, which is handy if you don't have time to drop in a scrim (very helpful during magic hour). And with their modern design, hot strikes are much more likely than with the finicky older ballasts.

One caveat about the magic M-series reflector is that the shadow pattern. Whereas a fresnel will get you the cleanest edges and a par will give you a more funky edge along with the uneven spread typical of those lenses, the M-series delivers a fairly uniform beam with an array of individual shadows in a tight formation on the edges. You can help things by pushing through a light diffusion to merge them together, but of course the shadow will become softer by design. As a result they are not the best light to simulate hard daylight if the shadows will read on camera--that is still the venerable 18K fresnel (arguably, carbon arcs were the best but those are all but gone).

Another is the perceived notion that the M18 can be plugged into a 110V outlet. While most household breakers are 20 amp, the outlets themselves are generally rated at 15 amps and the startup current when you strike the head can overload the circuit. Bottom line is it may work, it may not, but it's a tough risk. In an industrial setting that is properly wired, you are more likely to be able to plug into the wall. In any event, there is always the M8. I haven't used it yet but based on my experience with the rest of the line, it should be a great problem solver when power and size is a factor.

In general, the M-series are great performers and I bring them on every show.
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Old March 16th, 2015, 09:01 AM   #22
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Hey Darren,
Your results sound about as expected. Managing the clients expectations vis a vis budget is a good skill. Bigger was better. You said your next shoot is in May. I have found shooting in NY out of windows that the time of the year does change the results a bit when trying to balance to the outside light. May is probably going to be brighter than March so if you were only a stop under you might be 2 stops under when the sun is at its brightest.
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Old April 24th, 2015, 12:43 PM   #23
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Hey all, sorry for not following up sooner, was waiting for the client to post some of the finals (i'm not the editor on the project), but until then...

To sum the shoot up: the client was happy.

But of course i'll elaborate:

Settled on half soft frost, which kept just enough punch to squeeze almost everything into serviceable place on the waveform, but required plenty of tweaking along the way to accommodate changing light as well as various moving/non moving talent, which ranged from mostly stationary, to jumping up and down, to all over the place. I would have liked a chunk more setup time to really squeeze the most out of the setup/gear, but that is par for the course.

Suffice it to say the challenge of creating a wide enough field of light with minimal diffusion was the greatest battle. As the days got late, the sun did make its appearance, which we all loved the look of except for the last shoot on day 1 where near the end it got a bit too "stylized", but still the client was pleased.

The client has done several shoots before, so it seems she has a good handle on budget vs tradeoffs, vs expectation, and all such things i conveyed to her along the way. Such as when finalizing the first setup she asked about the shadows; i advised i could reduce/remove them but at the expense of the window exposure. She of course chose windows over shadows. If it weren't for a pillar in the middle of the space, i could have pulled everything back and gotten the shadows all on the floor.

The attached grabs are from the GH4(the wide shot), and a quick dirty grade done in cameraraw.
Attached Thumbnails
need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows-vlcsnap-2015-04-24-12h51m11s200t3.jpg   need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows-vlcsnap-2015-04-24-12h52m29s200t3.jpg  

need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows-vlcsnap-2015-04-24-12h55m46s137t3.jpg   need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows-vlcsnap-2015-04-24-12h49m52s105t3_1.jpg  

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