Lighting

Posted on by
Back to Lighting...

Black Bounce (4 replies)

Joel_Kinast
1 month ago
Joel_Kinast 1 month ago

Hello Roger,

I recently worked with a gaffer, who bounced a couple of 18ks into the black side of an ultrabounce. The quality of the light is hard to describe. It‘s quite contrasty but still soft (I think we bounced into two 12x20‘s next to each other, maybe 15meters away from the object). The dark parts were darker, the colours even seemed to shift a bit (although black shouldn‘t reflect other colours).

Have you done something like that as well or is there an application you could imagine? Which technique would cause a similar effect without this ridiculous power consumption?

Kind regards and thank you a lot for this website!

Joël

Krishan
1 month ago
Krishan 1 month ago

I've heard of this in passing, most recently Robert McLachlan ASC, CSC talked about using that technique outside of a window on an interior of Game of Thrones, but I've never actually understood the effect it has.

What you're describing sounds like the gaffer used stretched, reflective fabric as a mirror, so the light wasn't scattering to create a soft look. That could make sense if the location prevented you from placing the lights high enough and far enough back to get that kind of beam spread?

The only situation that I've been in where that technique sort of worked was when it was used with the bounce in-frame to capture just the reflective sheen of the material while the black of the fabric absorbed most of the light. It's not worth the power consumption in my opinion. I wouldn't waste the time, space, or energy on set trying to get that effect when I can probably emulate it in post

dmullenasc
1 month ago
dmullenasc 1 month ago

If it works, then it works... but you have to ask yourself if there is a more efficient way of getting the same effect.  
Think about the science behind this for a moment -- what sort of light is hitting the subject after it is bounced off a semi-matte black surface?  It would be whatever photons -- and wavelengths -- aren't absorbed by the black. Probably you'd see a mild shift to the red because of the increase in infrared relative to visible light, plus whatever dyes make up the black often have some red in them (gray muslin bounces often seem a bit magenta to me for the same reason).  Plus very weak, dim light on skin tone tends to look reddish because skin is warm so underexposed it looks even redder.  
In terms of softness, it should be no different than if you used the white side as long as the reflective quality was the same, the softness determined by the size of the bounce, how much you filled the bounce surface with light to take full advantage of the size, and whether there was a hotter reflected spot in the center -- the difference just being that you get a lot less output from using black as a bounce surface.
One thing I have done when using bounces outside in sunlight is to sometimes cover the white surface with a net to reduce the brightness of the bounce but keep the softness, because sometimes you just get too much bounce light from sunlight hitting a white surface. You just don't want to overdue the darkening from a net because at some point, the ambient daylight fill would be just as bright, so why bother with setting up the bounce?

Joel_Kinast
1 month ago
Joel_Kinast 1 month ago

Thank you Krishan and David, yes the increase of infrared wavelengths plus the dyes of the ultrabounce may result in a slight red shift, that makes a lot of sense. I think the main motivation was to get rid of an overall spill both the lamps and the ambient light. We shot at dusk, probably smaller units against the white side would work kind of similar. Nothing you can't adjust in post.

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

I used a black bounce once as I wanted some light off a reflector that wouldn't itself be seen as a reflection in some glass that was in shot. I think it worked but I also think it was quite insane.

Back to Lighting...