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Photon Management
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Old April 14th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Purcellville, VA
Posts: 49
Organza for window nets

John Jackman's excellent book (Lighting for digital Video and Television) talks about using black organza (net) to balance exterior brightness with indoor scenes. I have some interviews planned, some of which would benefit from this light-balancing technique. My intended light kit will be small Lowel's--Tota, Omni, Pro, i.e., not tremendous lux-power, attempting to maintain ambient light appearance. Yes, I do know that by cutting light through windows, I'll be reducing amibent levels as well. As a still photographer, I did a fair amount of interior architectural work, but could balance light using strobes, by adjusting the shutter speed .

Looking on the Web for organza, the price range is enormous, from $150 for a 6x6 double net unframed to about $14/yd for silk organza, to under $3 for, I assume, synthetic organza. $3 sounds great to me, call it $6 to make a double net.

Leaving moire' pattern problems aside in doubling, anyone have experience with the less expensive fabrics for covering windows--how much they cut the light, problems, durability, techniques? If there is full sun outside, we're talking major luminance differences.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,376
Don't have specific experience with organza.

Instead, I've used the gel products - which are also expensive and frequently difficult to manage. However, they also offer conversion from 5600 to 3200 color temperature, allowing you to then use tungsten lighting for the interior without further color correction.

Of course if you were using daylight-temp indoor sources that would be different... but the small lowel lights you've described lose a lot if you try to correct them to daylight with 3/4 CTB.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Posts: 1,538
While it's quite possible to scrim a background with a black net and gaffers do it all around the world every day - there are some issues to consider.

One is that outdoor shooting often implies bright sunlight so that you'll typically have a very small aperture working - which comes with an increased depth of field in your shots.

I've seen even pro crews get this wrong and instead of the net/organza being a subtle diffused effect, it suddenly screams (How do you like this net I'm shooting through!)

I remember a pro football interview I watched where not only was the net itself visible, so were the seams where panels of the net were sewn together. It wasn't pretty.

If you're gonna use it this way, it's best if you can get more space between the camera, the subject and the net - use an ND filter - or work out some other way to increase your aperture size so that you can limit your depth of field and help the net disappear.

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