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Solutions to reduce background Exposure...

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Chris Baldwin
Solutions to reduce background Exposure...
on Jun 3, 2005 at 9:35:06 pm

So a DP from out of town asked me to construct a 4' by 6' clear plastic sheet with a wooden frame and with ND 1.2 on it. The idea was to place this large piece of plastic behind an interview subject and to catch up four stops to the city scape background. We were on a open air patio with no windows to affix ND to. Long story short, you would need to be in a HVAC dust free room to affix ND to a static cling crazy piece of plastic 4' x 6'. It didn't work because we could get a clean application to the plastic that didn't cause a mosaic of focus through the plastic. I have no problem applying to glass windows but this just wouldn't work on the plastic.

My question is how do people do this? Is there a product or technique that can get you 4 stops of reduction of the background exposure, without lossing deep depth of field?

Yes we had a 1200 HMI and hit the subject pretty hard without a chimera, through a diffusion frame, and achieved a suitable image. But the DP wanted a good wide shot of the cityscape and we didn't have time to Green screen the subject.

So any thoughts?

Chris Baldwin
Shoulder High Productions
Media of the World; For the World!
http://www.shoulderhigh.com
newsletters@shoulderhigh.com


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Solutions to reduce background Exposure...
on Jun 3, 2005 at 10:07:18 pm

Time of day. Shoot at Magic Hour and you can make your key a little softer as well.

I would suggest a big black net, perhaps a 12' x 12', but your requirement for deep depth of field, makes that impossible.

If you can't lower the level of the background, you've got to raise the foreground level; that means a big HMI, say a 12 or 18 K.

Good shooting!

Leo
Director/Cinematographer
Southeast USA





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Bob Cole
Re: Solutions to reduce background Exposure...
on Jun 3, 2005 at 10:34:50 pm

Leo, when you use a net this way to reduce background luminance, do you have to be careful not to have any light from the key falling on it, or does that really matter?

There is a cheap-cheap solution used in booths at ballgames. When the producer wants to shoot the announcer in the booth, while showing the field in the background, they just tape up some dark screen material in the window. It seems to do the job.

-- Bob


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Solutions to reduce background Exposure...
on Jun 3, 2005 at 10:44:34 pm

Hi Bob,
Yes, you've got to cut the key light off the net.

I like the ND gel idea; since there is no window behind the subject, maybe a large piece of glass would work.

Best regards,
Leo
Director/Cinematographer
Southeast USA


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James Mulryan
Re: Solutions to reduce background Exposure...
on Jun 6, 2005 at 3:52:58 pm

Plexi ND?
Reflections can be a problem.
I really like the softening effect of using a net -- as long as you can get your subject away from it, keep light off of it, use a longer lens, and use a lot of nd on the lens to reduce depth of field thus hiding the net.


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Solutions to reduce background Exposure...
on Jun 6, 2005 at 3:59:39 pm

The net won't work because his DP is demanding wide depth of field.

Personally, I detest such shots where the background is in sharp focus, but perhaps there is some reason for it that trumps cinematic beauty.

Good shooting!

Leo
Director/Cinematographer
Southeast USA


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