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Advice on shooting in high ambient environments

Matt Rozier

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Hi I've a shoot coming up in an environment with a high ambient level - indirect sunlight in a large white room- lots of windows - lots of daylight - but nothing too direct (windows are north facing etc) so handy in a lot of ways. However, I'm just wondering what you guys may suggest for sculpting the light a little more? HMIs are out of the client budget so I'm thinking of sculpting with the natural light as much as possible using reflectors, diffusion and negative fill. I've got a couple of kino style fixtures, but the fall off on these won't help me much in the wides and mids I imagine though I may get some use out of them in CUs. My other fixtures, LEDs won't have the power. I've a tungsten 650 fresnel but I'm not sure about introducing a hard tungsten light into the mix unless perhaps a backlight if I ctb this baby up will it still have the necessary power to be useful? Any other suggestions?

It's not a problem having all the ambient as it's a fairly upbeat talking heads style shoot, but I just wanted to have a little more control over the environment, and it's always handy hearing what others would do - great way to learn :). Knocking out the ambient to have complete control over the light levels - as I know that sunlight temps and levels will be constantly changing won't be something we'll do too much of though I've done it a lot in the past. Changing light levels won't be much of an issue as although the shoot is full day the interviews are short and don't need to look the same.

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I think your idea of using negative fill is a great starting point. That method is always handy when you want to create some contrast in a CU outside (or very bright interior). As far as the backlight with a 650, if its mostly CU's of talking heads you may be able to get the light close enough that it will create a nice backlight. You could always half the CTB and let it be a little warmer like sunlight, letting you get more strength out of the unit. If within budget you could bump up to a 1k fresnal or 1k molepar, I've used those in the past with full CTB and have still gotten a nice punch.



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