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Lighting A Storefront

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Steve Wiggins
Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 3:26:44 pm

We are planning to shoot a scene on a city sidewalk in front of an Ice Cream Shoppe (see photo). The windows are way too reflective. How would one block/mitigate the reflection with a limited (read: almost non-existent) grip budget?


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 4:22:35 pm

First off, put the key lights on the roof, approximating the effect of the source being the spill from the store interior and/or from street lights.

Fill lighting from the floor (street) must be played like a pool shot; use a black flag (or improvised gobo) to block the reflection to the camera angle.

None of this really costs anything, so it would pretty simple to implement considering the limitations you recite.

JS



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Steve Wiggins
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 5:18:52 pm

I was thinking about a flag, but it would have to be huge. I'd need some riggers and don't have a budget for the additional manpower. May have to go to the Client and squeeze some more money.


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Ralph Chaney
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 5:07:55 pm

Possibilities...

Shoot when the store is in direct sunlight and the street and/or opposite storefronts are in shade.
Reduce the reflectivity of the glass.
Make the interior of the store brighter than the reflections, essentially removing them.
Shoot at night.
Change what you think your storyline or shot requirements are.

-RC


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Steve Wiggins
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 5:16:28 pm

I'm probably going to run with your last suggestion, but before I do that I want to look at some alternatives. Have you ever used a dulling spray on big plate glass windows? I was thinking about that, but I don't want it to look unnatural. Thanks for your thoughts.


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Ralph Chaney
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 6:40:24 pm

I've not "dulled" a large surface. Evenness is the challenge. For evenness a super mild film of some kind... or even that "black mist" cloth might work. Not experienced with either, sorry.

-> Ralph


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 28, 2010 at 5:45:44 pm

The above suggestions....

PLUS... use of a polarizing filter might help battle the reflections to some degree (either a screw-on rotating pol filter... or one you can put in your matte box, if it has a rotating stage).

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Dennis Size
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 29, 2010 at 4:22:46 am

Shoot your scene at night.

DS



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Michael Easparam
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 29, 2010 at 11:11:52 pm

If you want everything to look natural, you should work with the reflections. Experiment with the angles required to shoot what you need without seeing the camera setup.

The hardest part of this will be keeping onlookers from stopping and staring at your setup, causing them to be seen in the reflections.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 30, 2010 at 1:42:18 pm

I was wondering why only Todd said "polarizer on the lens". Cheapest yet most effective method of all of these, IMO.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 30, 2010 at 1:44:01 pm

The other trick would be to set up a large sheet of black cloth on stands, just out of shot, and have the windows reflect the black, instead of shiny objects. This is a trick used often in audio recording studio shoots.


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:04:43 pm

Probably twenty years ago, I needed black infinity behind something. I went to my local fabric store and began browsing, and since I looked just a bit out of place there, one of the nice elderly women who ran the place came over and asked what I needed help with.

I ended up with some leftover black "robe velour" they had sitting on one of the tables. A chunk about 8 x 12 feet. Still have it, and I used it on a shoot earlier this month.

Total expense? $5.00 plus local sales tax.

Might be the best fiver I've ever spent on anything in terms of longevity and return.


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:32:20 pm

One more suggestion...

It might seem radical, but it's the way to 100% positively absolutely eliminate any reflections.... period...

I've been on a few sets where reflections would have caused big problems and it was important to have a crystal clear view on both sides of the glass (one was a big similar window, one was a car windshield, and one was the side windows on a city bus).

They eliminated the problem by eliminating the source... and just pulled the glass.

It might be both a bit radical and outside your budget (and time constraints) to have a glass company standing by to both pull the window and then reinstall it (not hard, but you have the knowledge of how to do it and the right tools)... but it's the one surefire way to kill all the reflections. Although without any reflect it might look a bit unnatural.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Michael Easparam
Re: Lighting A Storefront
on Sep 1, 2010 at 1:30:18 am

A polarizer is most effective with direct sun, at a 90 degree angle. Off angle, indirect, or overcast make it less and less effective. Based on my experience, it probably would not do much in this case.

However, as this is the simplest way, a quick trip over to the site in question with a polarizer would answer that question.


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