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pushparaj santhosh

Lighting daylight exteriors

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Hi all 

we are planning to shoot a low budget flick predominantly on outdoors. I just want to know what are the different approaches to lighting daylight exteriors? Is 4K PAR has enough brightness capacity to light talents on daylight exteriors or do we want lights of higher capacity? How do you match shots as the sunlight drops in intensity? Thanks 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, pushparaj santhosh said:

we are planning to shoot a low budget flick predominantly on outdoors. I just want to know what are the different approaches to lighting daylight exteriors? Is 4K PAR has enough brightness capacity to light talents on daylight exteriors or do we want lights of higher capacity? How do you match shots as the sunlight drops in intensity? Thanks 

The problem shooting daylight exteriors is that the sun moves throughout the day, so lights are needed to maintain continuity between shots filmed at different times of day. If you plan your shots properly, you don't need as big and HMI as you may think to maintain continuity.  With proper planning you can get way with nothing more than a 4kw par and 1.2kw Par - which you can run on a modified Honda EU7000 generator with a Transformer/Distro that provides a single 60A/120V circuit. 

The approach that I find works best is to wait to shoot the establishing master shot until the sun is in a backlight position.  Up to  that point shoot the close coverage under a large silk (12x or 20x.) Shooting the close coverage under a silk offers a number of advantages.  The silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops so now you can use a smaller HMI to create consistent modeling in all the close-ups.  Shooting into talents' down side under a silk, I find that a 4K par through a diffusion frame is a sufficient key source for a good size shot. You need the diffusion because a bare par will be too harsh.  When shooting  close coverage under the silk, nets behind our talent will control the background from blowing out.

The advantages to waiting to shoot the wide master until the sun has moved around to a back light position are many. One, the background is also back-lit so the discrepancy in exposure between the background and our talent under the silk is not that great and so you can open up to gain exposure of our talent in the foreground without burning out the background.  Two, your background looks better because it is not flatly lit, but has some contrast. And three, with the sun in a backlight position, the shadows of the silk frame and stands are thrown forward, which enables you to frame wide without picking up the shadow of the hardware.

Finally, since the silk takes the direction out of the sun and knocks down its' level by two and one half stops a 4k HMI par has enough output to create the look and feel of natural sunlight. For more detailed information on powering 4k HMIs on portable gas generators, I would suggest you read an article I wrote on the use of portable generators in motion picture production.

Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston

Edited by Guy Holt
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