Shooting The Moon
Published : 4th June 2005
I would appreciate advice on the best way for a moon shot.
The scene is the character will be looking up and we cut to a moon. I will be using 500T Vision2. Would spot metering be helpful? I was thinking to just shoot wide open and then push one stop.
Would this be sufficient? My concern is with a clear night sky, what is the most pleasing color of the sky to see on film? Because obviously the sky would be all black. Would this be okay or should I tweak in telecine to add a hint of gray.
The producer suggested using 800T, but there is obviously enough light emanating from the moon. And wouldn't pushing 500T V2 be even better than using the 800 stock especially since the film will be shot entirely on the V2 stock.
Thanks for the help.
San Francisco, CA
>The producer suggested using 800T, but there is obviously enough >light emanating from the moon.
Don't use the 800, stick w/ '218. Spot read the moon and if anything overexpose a little. Clouds going buy look very nice (especially night time-lapse) You could use an 85 filter to warm it up (but lose some stop)I suppose or just color correct during transfer. If you get a really long lens be careful w/ vibration, and it will be a slower lens too so keep it in mind. It's overcast right now so I can't take a reading...
Have fun and good luck,
San Francisco, CA
R. Ocampo asked :
> I would appreciate advice on the best way for a moon shot.
Don't be fooled by the darkness of the night. The moon is quite efficiently 'reflecting' the sun and is actually quite bright. I've generally found myself shooting the moon at anywhere from a t5.6 to a t11 depending on atmosphere, film stock, etc. in order to see decent texture on the moon's surface.
If for instance you have a fairly clear night and you shoot wide open (at say a 2.2) you will have a big white disk in the sky with no texture. Of course, 5218 has ridiculous latitude so you may be able to pull it back in during telecine, but definitely spot meter if you can.
You'll be surprised.
Good luck, and have FUN!
Roderick E. Stevens wrote :
>The moon is quite efficiently 'reflecting' the sun and is actually quite >bright. I've generally found myself shooting the moon at anywhere from >a t5.6 to a t11
With 18 stock, a clear night and a near full moon I'd say t11~16 if you want the features of the moon.
I shot a time-lapse of the eclipse (last November ?) on 7274, I think I was at about 5.6/8 split (there was some mild cloudy haze) when it was full. (200mm Leica lens on a Bolex, worked nicely)
Yes spot meter, that big round piece of inflex-fill can be bright....
>The scene is the character will be looking up and we cut to a moon. I >was thinking to just shoot wide open and then push one stop.
I did a shot similar to this on a horror film. Close up on the actor and then shift focus to the full moon. The director came up with this on the moment. "I want the moon, Ed." We had to bring the actor's face up to a T8.
We also had to set the actor on top of a tall step ladder. Then we had to keep shifting the camera- the moon wouldn't stay still. This quick little grab shot took an hour. Years later the gaffer still says to me, "I want
the moon, Ed."
Edwin Myers, Atlanta Dp
If you are trying to capture detail on the moon's surface, think of it as a big 18% gray rock up in the sky, reflecting full sunlight. In other words, use the same exposure you would use on a sunlit day.
Here is some information about astrophotography:
EI Customer Technical Services
Eastman Kodak Company
>My concern is with a clear night sky, what is the most pleasing color of >the sky to see on film?
7218 will be perfect. A black sky is perfectly okay. Depending on the look your going after shooting after sunset or prior to sunrise will give you a pretty dark blue cast to the sky. Spot metering the moon will be fine.
Bracketing your exposure can't hurt if you have the film. Error on the side of over-exposure. What focal length lens will you be using? For a full frame full moon you are going to need at least 400mm plus for 16mm. The moon is a moving target so frame it and pay attention to how it will slip through the frame before you roll your camera.
I miss my old astrophotography days.
Another tip, if possible establish the shot with a wider shot showing the moon, sky, landmark or trees. I tried this on video and the blue sky looked like the setup was screwed up on the camera. The wider shot previous to the close-up made more sense of the close-up in a technical way.
New Orleans, La
>I was thinking to just shoot wide open and then push one stop.
>Would this be sufficient? My concern is with a clear night sky, what is >the most pleasing color of the sky to see on film?
The moon is just a bit over 1/2 degree in size when viewed from earth.
Spot meters are typically 1 degree, so half their reading will be of the moon, and half of the sky around it. The moon reflects somewhere between 9 and 12% of the sunlight that strikes it, the variance due to the shadows cast by the texture of the moon's surface when the moon is not full.
Thank you John...
Very helpful information and for the links.
Also...thanks to Edwin Myers, Sam Wells, Mark Smith and to everyone who have given their advice regarding the above. They are useful and are all being considered for my upcoming DP project.
San Francisco, CA