I've a question about shooting a commercial at Dusk. Do you bring lights and pre-light it expecting to run out of light and having it end up being night, or accept that you've got a very short window of shootable light, and you may not get the take the director needs, and force production to schedule a second day.
I guess this really goes to how much risk as a D.P. you can take on a commercial. I recently shot a spec spot, and it came out great, and beautiful, ended up a stop and a half under by the last take, but it transferred beautifully (share credit with Tim Bond, the colourist here and throw some to Kodak's '45). However had it been a paying job, would it have been appropriate to risk it? What with the costs of having to do it again?
Looking for some input. I know that some members have some interesting stories about having to wait for the right light.
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.
Shooting at dusk is one of those situations where having a
camera operator really helps.
As a DOP (not operating) you can work very fast with your gaffer to get as much coverage as possible before the light goes.
Always remember wide shots then closer stuff with land or seascape behind then last shots can be close-ups looking up into the sky which stays brighter longer than thought. I would concur on the lighting package and having ND's and colors ready by each lamp, without it your window is very very tight.
I tend to require at least six scrims for each lamp, plus frames, plus CTB and CTO orange of all grades. the moment an electrician or grips is running to the truck for something you've lost the shot. Also light for five minutes ahead. Remember when the DOP says he is ready production has AT LEAST a five minute lag before action is called . Think ahead is the rule. shoot till its so dark you cant see anything. Warn the producers you are going to the limit and publicize the fact that you are taking risks and IRT may not work. Telecine will help a great deal. oh and enjoy the buzz
Mike Southon BSC
Mike Southon BSC wrote :>I tend to require at least six scrims for each lamp, plus frames, plus CTB >and CTO orange of all grades.
I have often lit with maxi's and Dino’s through big
diffusion frames for MV's and commercials at dusk and sunset.
The tungsten source exaggerates the blue of dusk and the use
of these type of sources allow me to just turn bulbs off as
the light drops.
On "Far and Away" Mikael Solomon (sp?) did the magic
hour thing by coming back to the same place at the same time
each evening to pick up where they left off the day before
(the duel sequence). It was like having an extra long magic
hour-course it must of been expensive. It was my swan song
as an A.C.
David Campbell wrote :>he ended with a Panavision 50mm T/1 prime the widest aperture lens
I would have to ask if the producers are experienced and know the risks. So many things can ultimately delay you and prevent you from getting what you want.
The other issue is this: Will you be satisfied? Where I work, we've had to wait for the light many times. The only problem is that you get one shot at it and if you don't get it, the backlash from the producers is sometimes quite unpleasant. The crew wasn't fast enough, the AD scheduled to many shots, the director was unclear about what he wanted etc, etc.
If you have a good gig going and can afford the lighting, take it with you and be ready. Get your big wide shots as the light is perfect and any close ups can be matched with your lighting package. If the production needs to save money by losing the package and the techs that go with it, insist on a cover day in case something goes wrong.
Maybe I've become paranoid in recent years, but the finger of blame gets pointed way to often in the DP's or Gaffer's direction when it doesn't look right or doesn't get done.
Cover your ass!
"...a question about shooting
This one situation can really tax the most experienced DP. On big shows
they call it 'panic vision'.
Andrew Gordon's advice to get the wide shots first is good. To fake dusk for medium and close ups you need a few big silks and heavy bouncers. A small hard light can be sun.
Edwin Myers, Atlanta dp
Steven Gladstone wrote :>I've a question about shooting a commercial at Dusk...