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Brett Graybill

Kelvin temp of the desert

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Hi everyone,

Very soon I'll be shooting a western short in the desert, mostly with HMI's, ultra bounce, and unbleached mus. My question to everyone is, will the warm color of the sand lower the overall color temperature of my daylight. I know we conventionally rate "daylight" between 5200k & 5600k. Right now I'm a thinking that the HMI's will appear too cool for day exteriors. Maybe the smartest thing to do is work with 4x4 mirrors and simplify things? Also, I'm contemplating using kerosene lamps and small tungsten units on flicker boxes for interiors. If anyone has experience shooting in the desert, specifically westerns, I would love to hear how they created their looks.



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The light in the desert is generally so intense that even large HMIs are of limited use. I'd advise you to get plenty of white bedsheets, beadboard and other bounce materials and work that way. Try to stage your action so that your actors are back or side lit, then use the bounces to fill in. There will be a lot of natural fill from the sand, so you'll often find yourself adding negative fill to try to shape the available light. Shoot as much as you can in the early morning and late afternoon, so that the sun is not directly overhead.

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