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Re: Advise for buying scrims for outdoor midday shooting

COW Forums : Lighting Design Pros

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john sharafRe: Advise for buying scrims for outdoor midday shooting
by on Aug 17, 2004 at 10:08:33 pm

Don,

Controling the sun on day exteriors is not impossible, but it does take equipment in a large scale, and hanging overheads requires some additional consideration for safety.

If your subject is a single person in one place (no movement) then a 48x48" frame will be sufficient, but the bigger the device the more control you'll have and the more options.

In addition to silks of various thickness, there are single (1/2 stop) and double (full stop)nets to reduce the light and grifflins and other reflective materials (silver and gold) to bounce the light. For the most part the first objective is to cut the harshness of the direct overhead lighting. This is often accomplished with the slightest silk, maybe a 1/4 stop. This essentially "takes the curse off" the hard shaddows and begins to wrap the diffussed light around the subject(s). The thicker the silk the more wrap and less "curse". At some point however if there is bright light on the background, with this method you've cut the foreground so much it's now too dark. This is where your reflector, grifflin or HMI light comes in.

If you can stage your shot so that you're looking into the shade, then you can use the nets to control the bright backlight on your subject and your frame with a grifflin to reflect the sun into their face as a key or fill. This is a very pleasent look!

The thing to remember is that these large frames are like sails and even with large stands (medium and hi rollers) and sandbags (even 35 lb. "ball-busters") there is always the chance they will fly away causing injury or worse. It's always a good idea to have polant of strong rope available to tie them down to immovable objects (like trees, cars, buildings, etc.) and/or a strong grip or two to stand on them during the shot and then tip them up out of the wind when you're not rolling. It's amazing how the wind always picks up when you rig a large overhead!

There are many available commercial frame sets in 4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 12x12 and 20x20' sizes. A good choice is a 12x12' in 6' breakdown. This will fit in a car and allows the use as either one 12x12 or two 6x6 frames as long as you have enough connecters and the proper sized "rags".

When traveling to foreign locations, or even to distant domestic ones, it's often a good idea to make inquiry of local grip companies where you can rent such gear. It make a lot more sence than shipping hundreds of pounds of steel and sand! Another prerequisite to the use of such gear is an up to date liability policy. No joke!



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