Cinematography : Outdoor lighting by Ben Chillum Sebastian

Ben Chillum Sebastian

Outdoor lighting

Hello Dp's I am planing a new short film.It will be mainly on outdoors.The most scenes will be shooting on magic hour..I know the time is limited. What all steps shall I prepare for the magic hour shooting and how can I create the same ambiance (lighting) artificially ;(My subject is moving)...I was wondering is there any Golden diffusor Kit Please Thanks

M L.

Magic hour doesn't last an hour even. It's pretty short. When planning a magic hour shoot, it's important to break that script down into master wide shots that require that you see the sky during the scene and the closeup shots that don't show the sky necessarily and can be done later on either after the sun has risen or before it's gone down. That is, if you're shooting standard coverage. If it's a oner, walk and talk situation, make sure the director has rehearsed it with the actors well in advance cause time is critical. In any case, I'd recommend you schedule a day where you hope to get the wide magic hour sky with the actors and see if you can in fact, place them slightly below the horizon angle so the sky can be replaced or enhanced digitally in post. Some houses like Crazy Horse can do this to great effect no matter the angle but it all depends on your post capabilities. If it's an ultra low budget film, compensating the angle will cover you and make it easier to create a great looking magic hour on a tight budget. Because you can't actually plan to have a colorful, beautiful magic hour naturally. The magic hour sunset can sometimes look bland if it's cloudy or it can be garish and super hot if it's totally clear. So picking angles on the day that allow for easy manipulation in post can really help. Or you can get lucky and have a great looking sky on the day. Just don't bank on that.

Ben Chillum Sebastian

The cam that I picked for this scene is Black magic...I was planning to shoot in Raw-Format...Well that's not a problem right?? If shooting in wide what all things we want to take care of?? ..I heard that in wide shot if cam handheld it can be too jerky right? In wide shoot we should consider very huge Bouncers and Reflectors if needed right?? Thank you very much for your reply.. Peace

Erik A. Jacobson

Remember that the closer your shoot date is June 20, the longer your sunrise and sunset magic hours will last.

Pup Che

Magic hour is waaaayyy overrated. Some directors and DP try to shoot then for purely snobbish reasons. It is just soft muddy light... No definition no sharpness, not interesting... But the way to recreate it it to cut the direct sunlight everywhere the camera is pointing. It will still look better than the magic hour thou... because of the higher light level.... So a bit of haze or diffusion filter with heavy ND might do the trick... I am willing to bet you a quarter that when the color correction time come you will be boosting the contrast like crazy trying to compensate for the annoying magic hour light...

Erik A. Jacobson

Most DPs make the choice on whether or not to shoot at magic hour based on the story and desired effect, not to stroke their egos. The Revenant, which was awarded Best Picture, was shot in its entirety at magic hour.

Andrew Sobkovich

For magic hour we are looking at the colour, the sun angle, the colour of the sky, and the quality of the light. It is beautiful, we love it which is why we shoot it. Wonderful romantic light that glows on the screen. What’s not to like? Snobbish? If liking something beautiful and being able to incorporate that beauty to further the story is snobbish, then I will gladly plead guilty. Magic hour is the period between daylight and twilight. With a range of the sun position from 5˚-6˚ above the horizon to a few degrees below the horizon depending upon what it looks like. That the sun is either above or below the horizon during magic hour means there are 2 distinct looks, one with sunlight one without. Depending upon the amount and type of dust in the atmosphere the sunlight travels through, there will be a pronounced red/orange colouration. The clouds are usually amazing looking. The low angle of the sun makes for wonderful light on landscapes, architecture and especially people imbuing them with a golden hue quite gorgeous as a backlight. After the sun is below the horizon the light starts to get bluer and softer very quickly. The sky in the direction of sunset takes on an orange to blue gradation. Any clouds may still be lit with the sun, so reddish orange edges set off against a darkening sky. All in all quite beautiful. Sunrise is the same as sunset, perhaps not quite as red since some of the dust in the air will have settled overnight. But the duration and transitions will be there. Pup if you found magic hour soft and muddy obviously you are speaking about after the sun is below the horizon since sunlight is hard light. There is a limited amount of light and it is quickly fading. If it was “muddy” then it was not exposed properly. Correct tools, correct usage, knowledge and ability make that a non-issue.

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