Lighting at night

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    • #36822

      We are shooting a 1 hour film in the woods with a Canon GL2, about 30% of it at night. About half of that around a campfire.

      Any specific lighting techniques I should read about?

      Back lighting with blue gel to mimic moonlight?

      What about the fire light on the actors?



    • #163542


      Backlighting with blue gel sounds interesting. Experiment. Would help if you had a battery powered miniDV VCR so you could see what you are doing on the spot. (Spare your public the Blair Witch shake effect; thats not experimentation; thats another word.)

      Consider zooming into the flame and using this material for credits or layering effects. The dramatic light and flickering shadow cast by campfires is a compelling image, something you can have fun with; such as going slo-mo with the flame and normal with the dialogue.

      Car headlights can be another offbeat light source.

      You may have an issue with campfire pops. Be prepared to do some replacement dialogue later, away from the camp fire.

      While a protection filter could produce some flare (uncontrollable reflection within your lens), I would recommend its use in this environment due to smoke and stuff in the air from the campfire.

      SD (standard def) video is still challenged by scenes with a zillion bits of detail, such as 1000 faces in a gym or a mid-day wide shot in the (of the) woods. The film equivalent is a blowup where the grain is overwhelming. A high ratio of medium close-up and extreme close-up shots can compensate for this problem. Also, deliberately way overexposed shots of the sunlit woods, with your characters overexposed but closer to normal exposure in the foreground, might be interesting if your film falls into the experimental category; aka, make backlighting your friend.

      REGARDS TOM 8)

    • #163543

      Many thanks Tom. I guess experimentation is the key. Kudos!

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