How did you light these shots to "blowing out" the windows and keep the interior dark.? (9 replies and 11 comments)
I am practicing a lot and learning so much thanks to your website. Thank you so much.
I have this question How did you light these shots ?
Also I would like to ask you What's your approach for an interior daylight when you want to "blowing out" the windows and keep all the interior dark without letting the light disperse all over the room.
From What I learnt I need to use a heavy diffusion right at the window so it become the source of light to make the fall-off faster. But there's anything else to do to don't let the light disperse all over the room and keep it dark with the windows "blowing out"
And this is one.
If you use a heavy diffusion on the window you will really bring the light into the room as this will become a 360º source almost in the room. Both images you post were sets but only the shot from 'Jesse James...' had diffusion on the window and this was light. That shot was lit by bounce sources 15' away from the windows but large enough that they wrapped light into the room from every possible angle. For 'Sicario', we had a translight outside the window but the dust on the window as well as the shear curtain gave the feeling that it was 'blown out', although in some angles the exterior is clearly visible.
Thank you Roger.
Yes The look I want to practice here in my house is the one from Jesse James.
So you recommend to lit with the bounce a put it far from the window + a light diffusion like 251 ?
Also because I will do it in location and unfortunately I have white walls do you recommend me to put all around off camera Negative Fill right?
Here is another still from the look I want to practice. This case from the movie The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo.
Exposure plays into this, as well as camera angle relative to the light (shooting in a backlit or sidelit angle to the window). Look at the shot you posted if it had been exposed brighter:
This is great, thanks David.
Thank you so much 🙂
I was watching a Mercedes Benz commercial today and they had also these kind of shots I'm trying to practice. I'm still struggling with it.
I am thinking to rent some gear to practice it.
Bouncing the light and putting a light diffusion in the window to don't spill the light all over the room + proper exposure I should be able to get it right ?
do you think should I put Negative fill all around the walls off camera too?
Thank you so much Best Regards
If you are monitoring with the correct viewing LUT, you should be able to see if you need negative fill or not, in fact, you should be able to see with your own eyes if it is necessary. The fall-off into the shadows is a combination of both the display gamma (display contrast) and the exposure level of the shadows (lighting contrast).
In most of your examples, the camera is pointed into the light source -- I think you'll find that in this scenario, if you set your exposure just to hold some detail in the bright curtain sheers, the room is going to fall off quite a bit. You can test this with your own still camera.
I can't really do much without access to the original log imagine , but you can image how much more shadow detail there would be if they had used a lower-contrast color-correction. So besides exposure, lighting contrast, there is also the viewing contrast to factor in -- if you start with a standard display gamma close to Rec.709, you can light to the contrast level you want, using negative fill if needed.
"can imagine" not "can image" -- my ability to edit posts has disappeared again...
So sorry about that, have reported it to Robert. This must be really frustrating for you.
Your edit issue it seems has been referred back to James, awaiting outcome.
Thank you so much David. Yes I was trying to experiment in my apartment and I was viewing with the LUT Rec 709 but to get as dark is it is in the image I really need to underexpose the window a lot so the window. so the levels from the window are really low comparing to the images I posted. If I expose the window to the levels just before clipping like in the images It gets all to bright inside.
I think the problem it is because I can only practice with the ambient sky light coming from outside the window that doesn't have any direction at all and the only diffusion I have is a heavy diffusion similar to a 216.
For that reason I am thinking to rent some gear for one day. or there is any way I can experiment without it for the meanwhile to try out?
To be able to bring up the levels from the window but at the same time have some direction in the light without affecting the shadows.
What's your recommendation?
I was thinking to bounce a light from outside the window + putting a light diffusion on the window to still have some direction in the light.
Thank you for your help.
Renting for just one day is not really the answer! Getting to know your equipment takes a long time - and if you are a bit slow on the uptake like me, make that a few months!
A DSLR that will spit out log as well as 709 etc. may be the cheaper answer.
For effective diffusion over a window, a sheet of clear plastic should do the job. The thicker the plastic, the greater is the diffusion. Cutting up sheets of Lee Filters 410 Opal Frost is waaay too expensive!
Polytunnel Clear plastic sheeting is cheap and comes on a role, will last a life time.
Can also be used to cover your equipment on those rainy days. Various densities too. Gardeners swear by it, their cucumbers Win awards!
Seems odd that you can't silhouette a room by exposing for the windows. Maybe you have other windows and an all-white room?
Most of the time, it's the opposite problem - curtain sheers want to clip so quickly when light hits them that if you expose to hold detail, the room gets very dark.
Hello David, I don't have any other window but the room is quiet small and all white walls. I can silhouette it but I need to expose the window at key. I was comparing with the false color I have My shot and the shot of Roger and other cinematographer who got this look and they have the window in higher levels and still keeping moody and dark inside the room.
I guess it is because I was trying out with the ambient sky light, the sun It was behind the house. This morning I tested it again with the sun coming through the window, I taped my diffusion on it and it was better. So I guess the problem is that I need some more light hitting the window to have some direction in the light and not only ambient light and also my white walls and small room are playing against too.
Let me know if I am right with my conclusions.
Best Regards and thank you for your advices.
Yes, if you add artificial light to the window sheers, they are always closer than skylight or sunlight so the light has a faster fall-off rate.
But the issue isn't how dark the white walls are but how dark a body framed with the windows behind them are, it's always hard to get white walls to fall off even in an underexposed shot, which is one reason to paint the walls darker.