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What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?

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ryan elder
What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 15, 2018 at 4:22:25 am

I have a scene shoot in 3 days and I was able to get pretty much all the desired equipment accept for ND filters, and it's an outdoor shoot and I'm worried that it will be overexposed without them. The DP was able to get all the equipment but the stores do not have filters available in his lens sizes and I don't want to push back the upcoming shoot dates. I don't want to shoot at a high shutter speed as it will have the wrong look with that.

Even with the lowest ISO and most closed aperture, the sky still looks blown out if it is going to be a sunny day. So what do you think I should do if no ND filters are available?


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Mark Suszko
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 15, 2018 at 8:00:17 pm

Light the talent with HMI's or additional sunlight bounce, to reduce the contrast ratio and allow you to bring the sky back down.

Or, optimize exposure for the scene and people, and let the sky blow out ...and replace it in post. That happens a lot more often than people realize.

Adding shutter can work like adding ND... up to a point, then you get motion artifacts.

Substitutes or quasi-substitutes for ND filters include ND gels, scrims, and black panty hose stretched over the lens or better, the back of the lens.


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:14:55 pm

Okay thanks, but we are just shooting outside, and I wasn't able to get all the equipment I wanted. I don't have a bounce, or ND gels or anything that can help compensate.

As for letting the sky blow out, and replacing it in post, what I do about people's skin being too bright though?


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:15:29 pm

Especially since once the skin is overexposed to a certain level, it can't be brought back down after.


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Todd Terry
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 15, 2018 at 10:34:50 pm

This is a non-problem with an easy solution. You can certainly, of course, get ND (or any other filters) in any size imaginable delivered by the next morning to just about any location in the world from the usual vendors... B&H Photo, Adorama, Filmtools... any of the usual pro cine sources.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 16, 2018 at 2:25:10 pm

Bounce cards are cheap: a roll of aluminum foil attached to foam core boards from the dollar store. Or just the white foam core itself, at shorter distances. Or a mirror. Or a sheet of rigid, foil-faced insulation foam from a home improvement center, that's 20 bucks. You can't say you can't afford bounce cards; that's too easy.

You can moderate the light on the talent by flying some white cloth overhead... if you can't afford real diffusion fabric, there's a look-alike material sold in the gardening section of home-improvement stores by the 50-yard roll, much cheaper. Or go to a sewing store or even Walmart and get some white organza, maybe a dollar a yard.... Make a rudimentary frame from plastic pipe or wood strips and attach it to some stands, or to two stepladders, whatever's handy... to make a shady spot with diffused light for the talent to stand in. You could hang netting off the back of the overhead scrim to bring the background down a stop or two. Again, sourcing the cloth from the same places.

Use your creativity when you don't have money.

Expose for the person and their skin to look correct, and let the sky blow out if you have to. Then replace it later. A very blown-out sky lets you get help from a luma key to replace the sky. Better yet, adjust your framing and camera angles to avoid the sky in the first place.


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Blaise Douros
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 16, 2018 at 4:47:49 pm

I'm starting to wonder if this guy is just trolling.


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Todd Terry
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 16, 2018 at 6:00:13 pm

Yeah beginning to think the same.

This ND story makes no sense to me. Filters are readily available. And if they are a must-have, why try to figure out a way to half-ass it without them?

Maybe it's not important, after all it's only the film's principal photography.

T2

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



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Blaise Douros
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 16, 2018 at 6:34:13 pm

I mean, in what universe can you not just go online and buy the dang ND filters you need? Perhaps, like Ulysses Everett McGill in "O Brother, Where Art Thou," he finds himself in the position of "Well ain't this place just a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!"


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Todd Terry
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 16, 2018 at 7:15:48 pm

I fully understand, because I, myself, am a Dapper Dan man.

T2

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



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Gary Huff
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Sep 11, 2018 at 3:52:35 am

He typically posts under the username "ironypony" on a lot of other forums since 2013. He has been recently been asking basically the same questions and having the same responses on another forum recently as well (I suspect he's banned at the others). Given that he has been at these detailed questions for five years, it's curious that his YouTube channel is mostly filled with copyright infringing clips of other movies, with two original clips that seem to be sourced from the same project.


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 16, 2018 at 10:11:31 pm

Okay thanks, but what if in two days the sun is so bright, that I can't expose for the skin to be correct? This happened on a shoot before where I had no ND filters and the sun was so bright that I couldn't get the exposure down enough for the skin to be correct, and it was still overexposed, even at the camera's lowest setting, without an ND filter.

What then?

As far as getting fabric to hang over the actor goes, that only works if the actor is standing still. This scene involves the actor having to do a lot walking and running, so he will run past the fabric in no time though. So I am not sure if it will work though.


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Todd Terry
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 17, 2018 at 1:42:19 am

This is one of the biggest non-problems I've read in this forum.

The problem: Have no ND filters
The solution: Get ND filters

As I've said before, every cine equipment vendor in the world sells them, and they can all deliver next day.

And you don't have to buy $300 glass filters. In particular Lee makes very inexpensive 4x4 gel and polyester filters that are perfectly serviceable... and if you don't have a matte box, they even come with a free plastic holder that has this rubber band thing that will let you attach it to any lens, regardless of the barrel size.

If you need ND filters there really are no other solutions that work as well or exactly the same. For example, silks overhead cut light but also diffuse it (and you didn't ask about diffusing, so assuming you want hard light). Pantyhose on the rear of a lens will cut light a tiny bit, but adds a ProMist look. The solution is using the correct filter.

So... get them. It's easy.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 17, 2018 at 7:42:30 pm

Maybe a dumb question, since I can't see a script or storyboard, but, can you shoot the scenes closer to early morning or late afternoon, and not high noon?

And is this a student film?


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 17, 2018 at 10:45:35 pm

It's just a short film that some other actors I know wanted me to direct, and I wanted more projects to do. Since everyone is volunteering, I didn't want everyone to have to get up so early on their day off, but I suppose I could have.

However, when the sun rises, you only have like an hour of shoot time before it changes. I tried the whole shooting during dawn or dusk before, and you only have like an hour. If I want to shoot a scene that might take 8 hours, I then have to be reduced to one, that really limits my shoot time.


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 17, 2018 at 10:46:26 pm

Unless maybe I am looking at it the wrong way, and you can shoot an entire scene in one hour, depending on how quickly everyone works?


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 18, 2018 at 4:26:01 am

As for rental stores that can ship anywhere within 24 hours, where are these places? I cannot find a store that has ND filters of any lens size that can ship that fast, for an okay price that meets the budget.


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Todd Terry
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:24:43 am

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/102426-REG

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/102526-REG

For use in a standard 4x4 matte box but both also come with a free plastic filter adapter that lets you attach a 4x4 to the front of any size lens barrel without using a matte box.

Dirt cheap and exactly what you've been asking for.

T2

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



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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:31:09 am

Okay thanks, but B & H told me before that they just sold products and they do not rent out though.


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Todd Terry
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:50:06 am

Then BUY them from B&H, for crissake. They are dirt cheap.

Or buy from Adorama or Filmtools or any of the other scads of vendors.

I wasn't suggesting you rent filters from B&H, they are a retailer, not a rental house.

T2

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



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Mark Suszko
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 18, 2018 at 6:31:54 pm

Ryan, I sense this is the time to re-evaluate expectations. Look at guys like Roberto Rodriguez and even earlier, Roger Corman. They had very low budgets, but modified their projects to fit what they had available to work with, or looked at existing resources like locations in creative ways. You don't have the money to imitate a project with a big budget? Or *any* budget? Fine, don't. This is the ground floor, where you're at, and that's okay to admit. Own it. But then, don't go crying: "I can't do this, I can't do that." Find what you *can* do.

A story I love to tell is about the Three Stooges and their producer. The studio told the Stooges that to save money, they were to use the standing sets left over from other Columbia studio productions, after the movie they were made for was done shooting. So, a big-budget "A" picture builds a set of a railroad train, platform, and multiple cars? Write your next short to use that existing set, before it gets torn down.

Roger Corman famously made (most of) the original "Little Shop Of Horrors" over a weekend, basically on a dare, when a contact at the studio told him there was a standing set available for 2 days on a weekend. He made that set stand in for at least three locations, shooting while the re-painted walls were still wet.

Think like those guys: raise funds for the essentials, then improvise the rest.

Remember too that you need not shoot your movie in story order; that's hardly ever done. Shoot what's easy to shoot NOW, then plan out the harder stuff later.

I think one thing that would really help and inspire you is to go to the Film Riot Youtube channel and just watch every video they've ever done, just binge the entire channel, beginning to end. That guy's material was meant for people exactly like you. He'll show you ways to achieve impressive looks and effects on almost zero dollars, he'll show you shooting, lighting, and audio techniques. He'll show you editing and camera direction. The things you need. Absorb his teachings, then analyze your project in terms of what you now know. You may have to modify or scrap it. These are all things that everyone in this business goes thru, the only difference is the scale of it.

So don't quit. Follow your vision where it leads, but to follow it, you need a base of practical skills and knowledge to work from; trying to learn it as you go is going to be very frustrating, not just for you, but for everyone you're working with. Start smaller, shoot small, low-stakes scenes, work you way up to bigger action as you gain experience.


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 18, 2018 at 10:05:21 pm

Okay thanks, but I was told before that my footage looked too overexposed, so how do you get the viewer to think that overexposed footage without ND filters is okay? How do you get the viewer to think that the low budget is okay, rather than seeing it as an error?


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 19, 2018 at 10:00:26 am

I've also watched all the film riot episodes pretty much but I feel that my questions are not quite covered by them, as I ask to compare one thing to another a lot, and they do not do a lot of comparisons, when discussing things.

I've also tried a lot of his methods but they didn't work for me. For example, I built the DIY steadicam, but it kept falling apart. I built the DIY boompole, but it kept making too much noise when shifting it from actor to actor. So some of his stuff has helped, but others has not and I found it all to be hit or miss, which is not a bad thing, as I don't think all of it will work for me.

Also you say not to shoot in story order, but who says I was shooting in story order?


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 19, 2018 at 10:02:52 am

Plus I've already shot low stakes scenes for other short films, and I feel like it's time to move up. When I ask questions like what piece of equipment is better for this and what not, that is me asking for moving up. I've been shooting low stakes scenes for years now, and have already went to film school, so I feel that it's time to move on to projects stories that have higher stakes.


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Mark Suszko
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Aug 21, 2018 at 2:27:43 pm

I know I'm going to regret this, but which film school was that? Because a lot of your questions should have been addressed back there already.


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Gary Huff
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Sep 11, 2018 at 3:49:57 am

[Mark Suszko] "I know I'm going to regret this, but which film school was that? Because a lot of your questions should have been addressed back there already."

In another forum, Ryan Elder (aka ironpony) claims he goes to the Recording Arts Institute of Saskatoon.


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ryan elder
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Sep 11, 2018 at 5:14:34 am

Well what we learned in school we learned on more expensive and luxurious equipment where I was trying to hope to find solutions that might not cost too much money in comparison.


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Gary Huff
Re: What can I do about this ND filter problem for a scene shoot?
on Sep 11, 2018 at 11:23:53 am

[ryan elder] "Well what we learned in school we learned on more expensive and luxurious equipment where I was trying to hope to find solutions that might not cost too much money in comparison."

You don't even have the fundamentals down yet, so you're getting way too ahead of yourself.


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