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Is there a solution to black out windows but still leave room to place lights outside of the window?

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For an interior scene with windows in shot, I am wanting to black out the daylight coming through the window and then light from outside through diffusion so that the lighting from the window is consistent and controlled throughout the whole shooting day. Is there a common method of doing this?

perhaps using a black tent/gazebo outside the window and then placing lights inside the gazebo or blocking out daylight with 12x12 black solids? 


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14 hours ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Yes exactly, it's common to tent windows when shooting day for night interiors.

Thanks! is there a specific technique/procedure for this or is it just as simple as buying a tent/canopy that fits the dimensions of the window?

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45 minutes ago, imran qureshi said:

Thanks! is there a specific technique/procedure for this or is it just as simple as buying a tent/canopy that fits the dimensions of the window?

It kinda depends on how much space you have to work with, but I’ve seen it done with solids and floppies, large ultrabounce rags with the black side in, pop-up tents, etc. Maybe someone who works in grip dept can provide more specifics.

Ideally, you don’t want to use up all of your c-stands and floppies for this sort of thing, so I would think that large rags on the truck and combo stands that aren’t being used would be more ideal. Also, in case it rains it would be better to use something waterproof like ultrabounce or grifflon rather than a true solid or duvytene. 

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Dealt with this a lot, typically where I start is with a solid on a frame, whether that be 8x8 or 12x12 (make sure to get window measurements to determine this). I'll place this frame at about a 45 degree angle and shimmy it up as close as possible to the exterior of the building, leaving space for lighting. Then, I'll essentially create a giant floppy, by getting more solids of the appropriate size and simply tying one end to the edges of the existing frame and letting it drape down. Makes it easier than setting a million floppies.

Big note, ANY little leak or gap in the blackout will show very easily. Gotta be pretty dilligent to cover it up tightly. Tape is always your friend in securing the edges of the rags to the exterior of the building.

In terms of seeing out this window, I would suggest having either curtains or blinds atop the window to bring the attention away from the blackout and potentially hide any details seen in the rags outside. Also helps to flag off any spill from your heads outside to keep it off your blackout canopy. 

Now, it sounds like you may be adding diffusion onto the windows, which would probably be my next suggestion. Something like opal or Hampshire frost would be nice and light to stay illuminated, but completely blur anything on the other side of the window. 

If you are simply recreating daylight and need the all day consistency, if you've got diffusion on the windows you probably don't need to go so crazy on the blackout, probably just the one solid above the window to kill most the daylight. Maybe just note there will be a shift in your fill levels with the small amount of ambience coming in.

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  • 1 month later...

To add to what Jacob and Satsuki have said, have a roll of duvetyne on your grip truck and spring clips to patch any odd gaps you might have. Bigger is always better for the tent assuming you have the personpower and budget. If you can add some greenery outside it helps to sell the illusion. If you're carrying speedrail for car rigs, it can also come in handy for tenting.

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