How do you handle BAD backlighting?? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 7th, 2012, 02:59 AM   #1
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Hi Guys

My wedding on Thursday was an outdoor one on lawn going down to a large expanse of water...not only was the water creating severe backlighting but as the sun dropped it created more and more reflection on the water making the backlighting almost impossible to shoot into. The couple were adamant that they wanted to stand between two trees and backs to the water ...no compromises... I even tried a cam at a quite narrow angle but the glare from the water was more than fierce...I actually had a GoPro on a stand way back from the wedding and watching the footage you could see the exposure blow out as the afternoon progressed.

Now what would you do in this situation....I would have loved to turn everyone around and the shoot would have been awesome but Mr Stubborn Groom wouldn't budge an inch!! All I could do is expose for faces and of course this effectively blows out 75% of the picture. In my experience the only way to minimise this would have been fill the face with just their faces on one camera and shoot with the other camera away from the intense glare. Big closeups don't really look that good and you miss the dress, bouquet etc etc. Luckily I only get these once or twice every couple of years BUT they do happen!!!

Are there any other bright solutions?????

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Aberdeen Scotland
Posts: 593
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

I know this might sound a cheeky answer but would a Canon with Magic Lantern and the HDR work for this situation.
Donald McPherson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 06:27 AM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Thanks Donald

Actually something like a Canon 5DII has a way better dynamic range than any video camera so it would probably do a better job!! Cheeky ??? Ummm yes cos I don't have a 5D but still useful to know!!!

It was just the wrong time of the day..most of the times couples realise the issues and make compromises so that get really good video..the groom sadly was a "know it all" He insisted on the speeches being shot virtually in the dark as my lighting would spoil the mood. He;s gonna get very noisy video as the venue was really dark!!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 06:37 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Chris,
Based on what you described, there is nothing more you could have done. Edit, burn, deliver and be done with it.
Since Mr. Know it all didn't want to do anything to help improve the quality of his video (and I'll bet the still photog had a bit of a problem as well) it's his problem. Give 'em what you got and move along little doggy!

O|O
\--/
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 08:36 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Thanks Don

Exactly what I have done..prep for the next one already!! I worded my post poorly!! I didn't really want technical solutions actually but more how to tell the couple " You want me to shoot straight into the sun on the water..are you out of your mind???" BUT I need to do it tactfully!!! It's tough when they have this obsession about where they want to stand.... in fact even the co-ordinator said to them "You should go much further back"
It was the first time I haven't been able to rely on my GoPro Hero2 footage either!! That's always way back behind the guests and about 15' up in the air and even that footage got wacked!!!

Is the great era of Don Bloom Weddings almost over now??? You said you were quitting this year..as at 2012 I don't do all nighters any more (getting too old to stay up till 1am) so my packages usually now end after the bridal waltz and a short amount of dancing..then I'm off to bed.

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 12:10 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

I would have tried to shoot far left or right of center, figuring the angle of incidence=angle of reflection. Shooting from a low angle might also help. Basically, walk around with the camera to see where you have the least amount of glare while still getting a decent shot. HDR on the DSLR's is not good in this situation (at least with the Magic Lantern Hack). You're shooting two exposures per second, flicker on the screen is terrible, buffer can easily overflow and you're at higher risk of overheating. I wouldn't risk it on a wedding.

Sounds like a bit of a nightmare scenario for you and the photographer. Bummer.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 04:57 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Opps. Kind of misread your post. Yep gotta shot from far to 1side. Not ideal but the only way I know to cover extreme backlight.
Looks like this will be my last year doing weddings. The thrill is gone.
I've got a few things I've been working on for next year, in the corp feils so we'll see how that goes.
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2012, 07:31 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Hi Oren

This actually was ground sloping towards the water so the only camera position that would have worked would have been from a sky hook!! Not really much any angle could have done as the reflection was either side too!!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 01:40 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 8,421
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Hi Chris, in situations such as this, I would normally be very nice, but straighforward by telling the customer something to the effect: "Just so you know, shooting from this angle into the bright light behind you will create issues for your video. Your video will look probably look pretty bad from this angle; there's just nothing to be done. Now if you want to move things around, that would solve the problem. But it is up to you. What do you want to do?" and then I'd be done with it. I give it to the customer straight, and I let them make the decision, knowing I've explained it clearly to them.
Jeff Harper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 02:31 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Hey Jeff

Exactly what I did..he was a know it all and insisted on being between two large trees with the water in the background and the sun blasting an unbearable glare off the water. I normal situations I would have simply turned the wedding around so they were still between their beloved two trees BUT with the light behind the camera. Sometimes you cannot get thru to stubborn people who refuse to deviate from their so-called ideal layout!!

After the reception I knew that he was a "do it my way" guy when he insisted on no lighting at all for the speeches..after warning him his video was going to look really crappy, he actually looked into the LCD at the noisy low light image and said "that's fine"

Luckily most of our clients are reasonable and flexible ..thank goodness!!

BTW: Happy Easter to everyone here!!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 06:20 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Byron Bay, Australia
Posts: 1,142
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Thanks Donald

Actually something like a Canon 5DII has a way better dynamic range than any video camera so it would probably do a better job!! Cheeky ??? Ummm yes cos I don't have a 5D but still useful to know!!!

Chris
This is one of the reasons I shoot with a DSLR for weddings now - it lets you deal with tricky lighting situations so much better. One indoor venue I shoot regularly has an entire wall made of glass behind the couple, and a lake outside, so backlighting and glare is terrible. A DSLR makes is much more bearable.

Apart from the better dynamic range, the lenses and sensor seem to handle blown out areas much better. With my old Sony HDV cameras (FX7 & Z1p) there was a severe 'bleeding effect' where with heavy backlighting, rather than giving you a clearly defined silhouette, the overblown areas would 'leak' onto the subject. You couldn't just 'expose for the faces' because when adjusting exposure it would jump from being too dark, to being washed out, with no middle ground where the subject was exposed and the background blown out. I'm not sure if it was the coatings on the lens or the smaller scale of the sensor making light spill more visible or something, but it was hideous. With DSLR's however, it lets you save the situation, keeping your subject well exposed and clearly defined even in severe backlighting.

I know this doesn't really help you Chris, and I know that you are quite happy with your Panasonics and don't want to go the DSLR route, but just thought I'd share my expereinces for anyone else who stumbles across this thread.
John Wiley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 09:05 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Thanks John

It is well known that a decent Full sensor DSLR has a huge dynamic range...however these situations are quite rare and often the couple understand the issue and will simply change position. We have the Swan Bell Tower in perth which has walls on three sides and a glass panel facing the river..at the right time of the day it's also a nightmare to expose to!! I wonder if a DSLR would have helped my situation?? The LCD with area target brightness on (similar to the moveable target on a still camera's spot exposure) gave me a mere 4% on the grooms outfit ..that's how bad the glare was, as and you say your edge definition just disappears totally!!! I do quite a few beach weddings and I can expose on the bride's face and still get a nice image of the water behind but this background needed sunglasses just to look at it!!

As Don says, edit burn and move on!! The wedding the week before was absolutely perfect so the benchmark for this one was high anyway!! It was more a stubborn groom attitude that spoilt it than working it less than ideal conditions that could have been avoided!!

Hope you are enjoying Easter!!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 10:00 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Posts: 1,675
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

A polarizer will give you a little bit of control over water glare as well. I never shoot outside in the daytime without one on my camera, the skies will be richer in color as will the leaves on the trees and the grass.

These things are tiny little miracles of photonic physics.

The other alternative would be to be REALLY stubborn and change the angle even though the subject thought they knew what they wanted. You can still include the 2 trees and the water, but by changing the angle, you can shift the sun out of the background.

Adding light to the foreground with a reflector would help as well.
__________________
Web Youtube Facebook
Cole McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 588
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Hey Chris. I agree with Don. (Actually I find myself agreeing with Don quite a bit)

I don't go to many rehearsals, but when it's a location I'm not familair with, or a tight or potentially nasty lighting situation - then I do.

I had a similar situation recently where the indoor option was either a lovely medieval fireplace, or in front of big glass windows with a view of mountains. Mr Tosspot wanted the windows of course.

With the bride present, I asked both of them to stand in each position, filmed them and showed them the basic exposure on the camera lcd.

Then left it up to them to decide. All the pressure was off me because I'd covered myself and given a fairly clear demonstration of what they could expect me to deliver under the conditions.

They decided on the fireplace.

When I turned up the next day... Tosspot had changed it to the window view.

As I was mic'ing him up he said "I'm sure you'll be able to work your magic for us."

I just smiled at him and thought of the big fat cheque in my pocket.
John Knight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2012, 04:59 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,064
Re: How do you handle BAD backlighting??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole McDonald View Post
Adding light to the foreground with a reflector would help as well.
Think this, together with a polarizer, would be the only option to get good exposure, it's the same technique that's used alot in photography when shooting subjects in direct (back)sunlight.

If you return that harsh backlight back to the subject you are filming you can close down you iris more and by that getting a more balanced exposure.
Noa Put is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:35 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network