Sunbeams in a barn with real sunlight? (2 replies)

6 months ago
George 6 months ago

Dear all,

in a few weeks I will shoot a commercial with one mini scene taking place in an old wooden barn. Of course (...) everyone would love to see those typical sunbeams shining through the wood..

Today I scouted the location and the actual sun would look perfect for the eye between 6 and 8 pm. It would be possible to shoot the scene in that period of time, it's also a very short and simple scene, so we wouldn't need more time than 2 hours to actually shoot it.

So now I am thinking if I should try to go with the real sunlight or to completely keep the sun away and light it artificially with strong HMI units, which would be a huge effort. Although we're not going for a high key look (actually it could get pretty dark), I am still a bit concerned about the very harsh sunlight beams in the dark barn in terms of contrast. The barn is also not too big, so there's not a lot of space to brighten up from the inside, but I guess that one 12x12 butterfly with a lamp could fit in.

So my question is if anyone of you has had a similar experience or has any advice for me wether I should light it completely or go with the actual perfect shaped real sunlight?! I would have to rent the big units anyways, in case it's an overcast day, but let's just think it will be a sunny day. =)

Thank you a lot for sharing your advice!



6 months ago
daver 6 months ago

I say use that natural light to your advantage, and use a bit of haze to bring up atmosphere and pronounce the beams a bit more, if thats what you're going for.

If you're afraid of it being too dark, and want to keep a smaller footprint inside, maybe try bringing in a frame or bounce cards to bounce some of that sunlight around to bring the ambient light up some more.


Roger Deakins
6 months ago
Roger Deakins 6 months ago

Using 18K Par lamps might take some rigging but you might save a lot of worry.

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