10 Tips To Lighting Day Exteriors

(Cinematic Lighting Lesson 13)

Summary: Shooting outside involves a few different techniques and things to keep in mind, since one of your main light sources–the sun–is very bright and constantly on the move. In this video Ryan shows you ten tricks for lighting day exteriors that help you really control the sun and advance your shots from good to great.

Length: 7:04 minutes

Video Lesson

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Transcript

Introduction

Now that you know the five strategies to shooting a day exterior, you’re going to run into some unique challenges when you’re out on set. So in this video I’ll give you ten tips to over come any issue that you may run into when shooting your day exterior. Then I’ll wrap it up by giving you some affordable do it yourself solutions that you can use on any production.

TIP #1: BLOCKING RELATIVE TO THE SUN

Use Sun as Backlight or Three Quarters Light (LC113)

Shooting in direct sun is harsh and unflattering to your talent. It’s even less flattering when you use it as a front light. So my first tip is to always use the sun as either a backlight or a three-quarters front light. Blocking the scene so that the sun falls in these positions not only makes the location look better, but your talent too, especially if you are not diffusing the light with some kind of silk.

Use Bead Board as Fill (LC113)

Another benefit of placing the light in this position, is that you can use a bead board as your fill to bounce the light back into the shot, balancing out your exposure. It’s quick and simple.

TIP #2: AVERAGING BETWEEN THE SUN AND CLOUDS

With Inconsistent Cloud Cover, Use A Silk (LC113)

If you’re shooting on a day with inconsistent cloud cover, where the sun comes in and out all day, your best bet is to…

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Lighting Diagrams

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Tools We Used

7 replies
    • Ryan E. Walters
      Ryan E. Walters says:

      Great question. 🙂 No the reflectors do not have to be rectangular. They can be any shape. You could even make them star shaped.

      Rectangular shapes tend to be the easiest to manufacture, and they also tend to be more stable and easier to grip with clamps and stands.

      The other thing to keep in mind with reflectors is that what ever shape they are will be reflected in the eyes of the talent. So a rectangular reflector gives a rectangular eye light. Some people don’t like that look and prefer other shapes. But that’s all personal preference.

      Happy shooting!

      Reply
  1. carlosqv1
    carlosqv1 says:

    I really appreciate the efforts of you, I have increased my skills and I saw new possibilities to create the images that I want to create, I made the right decision to enter indie cinema academy, thank you!

    Reply
  2. Rich49er
    Rich49er says:

    I have been watching the FIA World Rally Championships for some time. I have noticed their footage is very strong in colour and detail. I am wondering how they go about it. They clearly do not light as it isn’t practical. Nor use flags. So they must get the image right in camera. As it is a live broadcast it is unlikely they grade their shots either. Presumably, they have some kind of in camera control. Even the headlights on night stages look well exposed, though occasionally the highlights do wash out on the headlights depending on the position of the cars. Any comments or tips would be appreciated. How are they setting up their cameras? Shoulder or tripod mounted and they shoot from helicopters.

    Reply
    • Tim
      Tim says:

      Broadcast companies invest millions of dollars into the cameras, broadcast trucks, equipment, and software so that have complete control over the image.

      There are a few things going on: they are most likely using high quality lenses to keep everything sharp even at high focal lengths. They have very sophisticated stabilization equipment so blur from the camera movement is minimized.

      Another big thing to note is that even though it is a live broadcast, it doesn’t mean they aren’t altering and augmenting the colors. A lot of this is done before broadcast starts, when they create the LUT (look up table) they will use for the image. If for some reason something happens during the live event that alters the color, they can adjust the output to correct it.

      Depending on the live event, they will use both tripod and shoulder mounted cameras. Arena sports (American football, Association football/soccer, baseball, etc) can depend on tripods since they have established positions at high vantage points. Yet they still utilize shoulder mounted cameras for close in action shots.

      Reply

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