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Lighting a countryside night exterior (2 replies and 2 comments)

Jacobpeel
2 weeks ago
Jacobpeel 2 weeks ago

Hello, I think this platform is forum is just so invaluable. I've really enjoyed reading a lot of the questions and replies.

I have a film coming up, the majority of the film is on an English countryside moor in darkness looking out at the warm street lights from a near town.

I'm not sure the nature of the location really justifies uplighting trees in the distance or close practicals by the characters to give them a side light.

Like I said in the title, its a vast scape so backlighting them as well as the background become difficult and we don't have the budget for a crane with a frame attached.

I was thinking of using a large soft source close to the subjects as a soft moonlight fill on the faces in the foreground. Then have the middle ground in darkness and then have the far off city lights to outline them as well as just biting the bullet and uplighting the trees anyway as if there were low down walking lamps in the wooded path?

Does anyone have any ideas about getting around limited budget and finding another way instead of a high up large soft-source whilst still illuminating the vast area and then also creating a justified light source on the faces, natural to the surroundings of a moor.

Thank you in advance!

Jacob

Roger Deakins
2 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 2 weeks ago

That is a tricky one. I guess no one has any ideas!

It is hard to suggest something not knowing the location and exactly how much ambient light there will be from the city lights. And the speed of your camera! You might think of placing some lamps below the horizon line as you look toward the city. A line of lamps aimed into the sky, and at an angle as close to the camera as possible, may create some ambience in the air if there is some moisture or dust around. I wouldn't attempt to add smoke as that would be so hard to control in an open environment so it would be a matter of luck if the atmosphere cooperated on the night.

Jacobpeel
2 weeks ago

Hi Roger, thank you very much for your time and your response. I appreciate it very much!

We are using a prime kit continuous at T1.5 so its definitely fast enough glass.

Thank you for you advice about catching the particles in the air shooting upwards, I saw you used that in No Country For Old Men. If only we had stadium lights for ambient moonlight fill too haha!

What do you think would be your ideal approach to adding moonlight on the face. A drama, china ball, bounce. Any particular lamp?

Thank you for your time and insight again Roger, enjoy your evening!

Roger Deakins
2 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 2 weeks ago

If you are saying that there is only ambient 'moonlight' rather than a point source, which you would not be able to replicate over a large area without some equivalent to 'stadium lighting', I would tend towards a large soft source. For me a china ball would be too directional however near or far it is from the subject. I would tend toward a 12' or 20' bounce (or a diffusion) and place it relatively close to the subject, while cutting it from spilling into the mid ground.

Jacobpeel
2 weeks ago

Thank you Roger, I appreciate your time!

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