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Any tips/books/tutorials about shooting in exterior with natural light?


Mi Ki
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Cheaper than that, poly beadboard bounce from HomeDee 4x8' sheet about $10, foamcore sheets from an office supply, $4. King size white cotton or muslin sheet to moderate the overhead light.

 

As everyone has stated, you will want some kind of diffusion to combat the hard sunlight. I agree with JD about the muslin. That's a worthwhile investment as it will pay dividends in the long run. I've been using Backdrop Express and their prices are really rather reasonable for quality products.

 

And always...

 

  • ...be aware of your surroundings: your equipment is vulnerable to all of the elements (heat, cold, rain, sand, wind,etc.)
  • ...be ready with plenty of ND filters whether you are shooting on film or digital
  • ...be mindful of battery power especially if you are shooting in cold temperatures with no place to recharge them
  • ...take incident & reflected readings as you can get spots of sunlight popping up sporadically

 

An extra tip: when shooting foliage, you would benefit from overcast weather. You effectively wind up shooting under a large soft source, bringing out a lot of deep greens.

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Do you own that particular brand?

 

A good pop-up photography reflector can be very handy, invest in a good one and you'll only have to buy one.

 

Agreed. I have two and they are both terrific. One is a 32" Litedisc from Photoflex.com (silver/white) and the other is a 32" from Studiohut (silver/gold.) Good stuff.

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Two things that come to mind. Reading the above posts just remember that all these things act as SAILS when there is any wind at all!!! Without the proper stands or bodies to wrangle all this stuff it can get messy. I was on a small crew shoot and was psyched that I had an 8x8 to diffuse the sun for some nice CU's but the thing was an absolute beast to keep from blowing away. Also I think Litediscs work better for photography work because they'll very easily get blown or shifted and therefore the light will shift on the subject and very obviously look like a litedisc. A properly supported (at least two points of contact) piece of foam core or shiny should have a more consistent quality of light.

 

These are ideal but not cheap, just an inspiration for you really.

http://www.filmandvideolighting.com/ma24alharewy.html

 

Lastly have one 12 inch mirror with a cartellini and a c-stand. You can put that anywhere you want behind the subject and redirect the sun to hit the back of their head and get a gorgeous backlight. I had a gaffer 200 ft from my talent (who was sitting at a bench) really carefully tweaking a the mirror on the stand until it was hitting the perfect location then he locked it off and we rolled. It needed to be adjust as the sun moved but totally made the whole shot. Obviously this would be too bright to point AT someone unless you put it through some very heavy diffusion.

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Everyone here has given you some good stuff. On Project Runway Allstars we always bring two flexi-fills. You can get inexpensive versions on the internet for as low as $10. White showcards are also very useful. Use what is there, the wall of a white building perhaps? I successfully used that once. I used that as an example in the chapter in my book on lighting exteriors with and without lights. You won't find a book dedicated to only that, but you will find chapters on it in most film lighting books.

 

http://www.lightingforcinematography.com/book/

Edited by David Landau
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