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Re: Advise for buying scrims for outdoor midday shooting

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Nino Giannotti
Re: Advise for buying scrims for outdoor midday shooting
on Aug 21, 2004 at 1:42:40 pm

Don, take a look at the front page of my web site there’s a shot of my standard outdoor set-up and you can see the distance between camera-subject-black net. I have to do this a few times a week and one time or another I was faced with most of the problems with outdoor set-ups, believe me there are many.
Most important in the shot you can see the difference that the black net will make on the background.

After relocating to Florida from the NE seven years ago I had to reeducate myself on the skills of handling the sun. There’s no haze in the air down here, the sun is much brighter and harsher. There’s also a lot of wind to deal with, the first time that I put up my Westcott Scrim Jim it folded at the joints. Now I use mainly Matthews and the Scrim Jim is only for the background net. Actually I use the Matthews hardware and fabrics but I made the main frame out of 1” aluminum square tubing, mainly to cut down the weight. Also Matthews do not (or did not back then) make 4x4, so I made the frame with their hardware and adapted it to the Scrim Jim fabrics. I have 4x4, 6x6, 8x8 and 12x12, but the 6x6 gets uses the most followed by the 8x8. Depending on the time of day and the effect that I’m looking for, I will use one or two layers of ¼ stop silk, never more than ½ stop. I use heavy stands with lots of weights on he bottom, I will also tie a safety line into the ground if I’m allowed do so, or tie it to anything that’s heavy or stationary. If I have a choice of background I will backlight my subject with the overhead above and behind the talent and with the stands just outside the picture. The sunlight will be redirected on the subject with reflector(s). If windy the reflected light might not be steady, in this case I will use HMIs. Like John said, by backlighting the subject you will also by facing a background that’s also in the shade, easier to control and end up with a better shot, unfortunately many times we don’t have a choice. To cut down the background brightness I use a 6x6 Scrim Jim double black net, or for larger people or someone who can’t stand still I will use an 8x8 Matthews. The double net will not give you a moire effect. Keep in mind that many of these set ups are live, we don’t have the luxury of “take two” and must anticipate and prevent any potential problem.
The reason that water gets really hot in the background is because it reflects the bright sky, often this can be greatly reduced by using a polarized filter.

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