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Re: Lighting for outdoor shoot

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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting for outdoor shoot
on Jul 9, 2010 at 2:02:39 am

As a veteran of more than a few "magic hour" golf course shoots over my career (notice I'm in Scottsdale, AZ?) allow me to chime in here.

Yeah, the light is lovely just after dawn. But out here in the southwest, the lovely light of "magic hour" actually lasts about 20-30 minutes if you're lucky. And during that entire stretch of time, you'll constantly be adjusting your iris as the overall light level changes.

The most instructive part of your photo is the band of green in the center of the shot's vertical dimension. It's telling you that the sun is so low that it's lighting the mountain but NOT lighting the foreground green - that's taking light only from the reflected light of the mountain background and the water.

That band of far off trees is going to EXPLODE with light soon. So anything shot wide will NOT match after the sun infects the background.

Put a talent on that green and even before the background goes to hell, the rising sun will likely hit the talent in the face and even a tight CU exposure will go bad.

You can shoot this kind of stuff, but you have to be very careful about the direction the tee (and therefore talent) faces, the trees and shrubbery near and far, and the backgrounds.

The ONLY way to really extend the time in a scene like this is to fly diffusion between the sun and the talent, bring in the HMI's to kick the subject up to match the background and keep a LOT of water on hand so everyone doesn't pass out from sunstroke.

It's that or accept that over a two to three morning shoot, you're likely to get coverage for about 5 minutes of on-screen content if you have both a first and second unit running. (one on the tee to cover the tee shots, and the other on the fairway or green, to cover where those shots land.

Like I said, here in the southwest relatively close to the equator, magic hour is typically measured in minutes.

If you're going ahead with this, drop me a line via email. I'd be happy to talk you through some of my hard won experience of shooting EFP setups on golf courses.

Good luck.

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