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Creating natural-feeling sunset lit interior?


Oisin Hugh Edwin O'Connell
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Hello. 

Film student here, looking for some advice. 

I've got a scene coming up that I want to set at sunset, but not wanting to confine my shoot to an hour a day I'm hoping to replicate that time of day instead. There are two locations to be lit like this, both interiors with windows and white walls. The way I'm thinking of pulling this is by shooting a HMI (at least 1.8 K, but could go higher) and relying on bounce from the walls to give more interior light, then cheating in a silk or bounce for fill lights in tighter shots while using the "sunlight" as key light. also flagging and neg-fill where needed. Either gelling the HMI or grading for the sunset color.

Will that bounce be enough to fill the space and brighten up all the non-wide shots?

Does it sound like it'll be a convincing replacement?

Is grading the color in at all wise, or should I go to lengths to color the light on-set? 

Any help and advice is much appreciated!

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22 minutes ago, David Mullen ASC said:

You should color the light. The look of sunset is the combination of very warm sunlight and cool shadows, it just isn’t orange overall.

Are there any examples you have from jobs you could post with some explanation? It would probably help a lot of us. It's hard to wrap my head around cool shadows when there's such a strong warm source that could potentially create bounce in a similar tone.

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1 minute ago, David Mullen ASC said:

The bounce of course would be the same color but any ambience coming from skylight or light from windows not being hit by the sun would be much cooler.

I'm just trying to get the scientific understanding now. Is it to be assumed that the sunlight coming in from the other side is bouncing off the blue sky? or grass? Or is there math to light losing its saturation the more it's bounced?

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Skylight is cooler than direct sunlight — you can see that with your own eyes. The sky is blue. You mean you’ve never noticed the colder shadows near sunset on a clear day? 

The French Plantation dinner scene in Apocalypse Now Redux is an example, people not being hit by the direct setting sun or its bounce back / reflection at them are lit with a whiter light.

9B3A8ADB-F69D-4895-8C18-8D37AE81A162.jpeg

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You have to imagine sitting in a real room as the sun is setting and then going into twilight to understand the colors of the sun and the sky and how that transforms the room. The sun gets more orange but weaker as it sets so the ambience from the blue sky gets stronger in relation.

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Thanks for the examples.

1 hour ago, David Mullen ASC said:

You mean you’ve never noticed the colder shadows near sunset on a clear day?

There's a lot of stuff with light physics I try to be mindful of in my day-to-day life because I know it will assist in the realism of my visuals. Sometimes the most common everyday things are the hardest to vividly notice because we're so used to them.
I suppose having the eye to break it down as it happens in real life is one of the crucial talents that makes a successful DP.

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Leonardo Da Vinci observed this and wrote: "The shadows of bodies generated by the redness of the sun near the horizon are always blue: and this is because of the11th [proposition of the book on light and shadow], where it is said: the surface of any opaque object partakes the color of its object. Therefore, since the white-ness of the wall is deprived of any color at all, it is tinged with the color of its objects, which are, in this instance, the sun and the sky, because the sun reddens toward evening and the sky appears blue; and where on this wall the shadow does not see the sun, it will be seen by the sky, because of the 8th [proposition of the book] on shadows, which says: no luminous body ever sees the shadows that it generates; therefore, the derivative shadow will project on the white wall with a blue color, because of the above-mentioned 11th [proposition], and the shadow seen by the redness of the sun will partake its red color."

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On 4/29/2019 at 7:57 PM, Oisin Hugh Edwin O'Connell said:

Hello. 

Film student here, looking for some advice. 

I've got a scene coming up that I want to set at sunset, but not wanting to confine my shoot to an hour a day I'm hoping to replicate that time of day instead. There are two locations to be lit like this, both interiors with windows and white walls. The way I'm thinking of pulling this is by shooting a HMI (at least 1.8 K, but could go higher) and relying on bounce from the walls to give more interior light, then cheating in a silk or bounce for fill lights in tighter shots while using the "sunlight" as key light. also flagging and neg-fill where needed. Either gelling the HMI or grading for the sunset color.

Will that bounce be enough to fill the space and brighten up all the non-wide shots?

Does it sound like it'll be a convincing replacement?

Is grading the color in at all wise, or should I go to lengths to color the light on-set? 

Any help and advice is much appreciated!

 

In my experience, you're on the right track. Personally, I would opt for a tungsten fixture and change your white balance to about 4000K in camera to achieve this look, but if you're stuck with the HMI then you might try some minus green (aka magenta) gel as well as the CTO. Sunlight tends to shift towards this end of the spectrum as it is nearing the horizon.

I would keep a pizza box or beadboard on hand for tight shots. 

21 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

The bounce of course would be the same color but any ambience coming from skylight or light from windows not being hit by the sun would be much cooler.

One of my favorite ways to replicate this is a little 1 stop Cyan (Rosco #4330) on a soft fixture bounced into a ceiling or other white surface (beadboard, silk, muslin, etc.) to bring up the room just a touch and add those blue-ish tones.

 

Good luck with the project and be sure to post screens!

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Okay, done a few tests. This first one is a blonde (not a HMI, sadly) pointed inside the studio door. A bounceboard is rigged up to the left of shot, getting some light to the left of the face, with an Aladdin LED panel balanced to 6000K bounced into the ceiling behind the camera. The image has been graded a little, but the blue tones were visible before I started that process. Mostly curves really. 

Blonde blue bounce 1_1.1.1.jpg

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This next one is pretty much the same setup, but with a FrenL, gelled with CTO and magenta to the right outside the door. Ambient bounce was pretty prevalent, I didn't use a blue bounce this time though as I felt it got a bit too obvious against the less powerful FrenL, but I'm probably imagining that. Do also wish I'd gotten some better angles of this setup, namely a higher-key one, but time was sadly short. But it's looking promising! I'm thinking that on the day, weather will be either daylight or overcast when I'm putting that HMI in though the window, so I'll have colder ambient light but I might still need to have something extra on set rather than grade it and have to desaturate shadows and have it feel a bit plastic. I think. 

FrenL magenta JPG.jpg

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