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Old July 25th, 2014, 04:02 AM   #1
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shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

I am editing a wedding now where I had to deal with some extreme differences in light contrast, there was one beam of sunlight coming through a window that was shining like a spotlight on the lectern where the priest was standing, to make matters much worse, it was a partially cloudy day and the sun would disappear and appear constantly, at first I tried to compensate by adjusting exposure but quickly found out this was impossible to do so I just underexposed my unmanned camera a bit and left it at that so I could adjust in post where necessary.

I was lucky the rest of the family and friends used the lectern on the left side of the altar where I didn't have this problem, on such a occasion a 20 stop DR camera would come in handy :)

On the pictures below you can see how it looked when there was no sun and when there was, I think the priest choose that spot for a reason, as if God was shining a light on him :)
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shooting extreme highlight differences in a church-no-sun.jpg   shooting extreme highlight differences in a church-sun.jpg  

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Old July 25th, 2014, 06:45 AM   #2
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

Hi Noa

I have see an example of that before too. The Divine Light shining on the priest! I wonder it they do that on purpose when they design the Church?

I did a Massadonian ceremony where the "altar" in is the middle of the Church and the sunlight at 3pm comes directly onto the altar while the rest of the Church is dark ..it's a nightmare to film.

Hmmm maybe for weddings we need to put something over the offending window or have an assistant with a long pole with a black card on it so they could discretely block the window when that area is used.

The only way to really overcome it is a really tight shot from one camera on that area and then make sure all the others exclude that area. Not easy!!!

Chris
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Old July 25th, 2014, 07:05 AM   #3
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

You got me beat, though we did have one tough room: 3 different light sources. Sunlight from the windows, but only from the groom's side. Tungsten lighting from overhead. Bright spotlights (also a different Kelvin temp) on the bride, groom, and priest, but only when they stood in the spot for vows.
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Old July 25th, 2014, 09:42 AM   #4
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

I would say what you've done is spot on for this situation. As a viewer you understand why he's over exposed. IF you were too adjust for him and the background was almost black then I think the average viewer would look at this and wonder why they can't see anything but the priest.
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Old July 25th, 2014, 10:14 AM   #5
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

TBH sometimes I think we look very hard into these issues, especially sun/clouds, whereas the couples & viewers just see "Oh look, the sun came out".

I have had issues with bright sun from bay style windows coming in, and an ugly orange tungsten light overhead. It was a small venue, so the sun was pretty overpowering & the light was ont 2 or 3 feet over the couples heads during the ceremony.
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Old July 25th, 2014, 05:10 PM   #6
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
The only way to really overcome it is a really tight shot from one camera on that area and then make sure all the others exclude that area. Not easy!
Actually I started off with a close up zoomed all the way in but the contrasts in the priests face looked real ugly, the sun was also playing tricks with me because the light intensity was constantly changing because of the passing clouds, I tried to adjust exposure manually but couldn't keep up and had to switch to auto but then eventually zoomed out all the way and just let him overexpose at those moments the sun would shine at it's fullest.
If all the family and friends would have used that lectern as well that would have been a small disaster because all readers in the entire ceremony would either over- or underexposed with nasty clipping of the highlights. It's the first time I have experienced it this bad.
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Old July 26th, 2014, 03:30 AM   #7
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

Moving the lectern and venue mic stand forward a metre or so could have got him out of the worst of it. It never occurred to me to do that until a priest offered to do so :- )

Otherwise you're pretty much stuffed. I have also had a modern Catholic church in which the large windows in the sloping roof allowed dazzling sunlight to beam straight onto the couple and priest during the vows. The area affected was too large for any repositioning of the three of them to make any difference. What a pain that was.

Pete
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Old July 26th, 2014, 04:41 AM   #8
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Re: shooting extreme highlight differences in a church

I have had to deal with some pretty challenging light situations before but the biggest limitation is how the camera handles the dynamic range, for a ceremony I use handicam's and while they produce a nice looking image they are not the best tools for handling such high contrast scenes, especially since they don't allow you to dial in less contrast through a preset. Maybe a couple of BMC pockets cams with their high DR would do the trick now that they are so cheap :)
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