Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome to 4 Minute Film School. I’m Ted of the A team and today I’m here with Carmichael. Carmichael is a shooter, editor, film maker with Corridor Digital. That’s a channel that has 4.5 million subscriptions on it. They are really good at shooting things cinematically and quickly on a budget. Today he’s here to teach us one of the topics that you guys asked in a question, “How do you shoot exterior daylight at different times of the day?”
Hard about shooting exteriors in daylight
Carmichael: When shooting with the sun you will be dealing with harsh shadows which generally can be a good look, but a big problem is most digital sensors can’t handle that dynamic range, and because of their compression they can’t even help you expose correctly. Second problem, you can’t control where the sun is always gonna be. Third, because it’s so bright, your gonna have to stop down and adjust your exposure. It’s forcing you to not be in control of the image. So let’s fix that.
Ted: So, three different times of day, what are they? And what are the challenges of shooting?
Carmichael: First time we’re going to be talking about is early day. We’re dealing with a directional hard light. Most digital cameras can’t handle that dynamic range. To fix that you need to cut the light. So great first step is just get a silk. Once you put the fusion right over it, it starts breaking the light sources around, which create more balances happening every spot. Right off the bat, your subject’s already gonna look way more beautiful. That’s only your first step, you haven’t added any focus to your image, so there’s nothing isolating this subject from that background. You can add an edge, you can add a fill, cause we already have the key.
How are you gonna add the two? We can use a bounce, or we can add a light. So, let’s just start with one of two basic bounces. Either a soft white or a hard shiny. If you use a normal white, your gonna have… generally a softer bounce. I generally will go for the fill because more times than not the silk or the sun isn’t giving me my eye light, and that eye light is super important. Now if you use a shiny rather than just a soft white, with a shiny reflector you can be further away and you can have a little bit more freedom on your angle of the bounce.
But if you don’t want to use a bounce you can use a light. With a light you are not reliant on the source of the sun. Lights have to be strong because you’re dealing with the sunlight already, so they have to compete with that. After Early morning you have late afternoon. Late afternoon is the same as early morning because of the direction of the sun. It’s the same angle, just on the other side.
Ted: In this case, just to make it a little different, before we [inaudible 00:02:41] some of the key… let’s say that because of the story or because of our location, we have to shoot in a place where the angle of the sun is coming from the back.
Carmichael: By doing this you’ll probably end up with a great edge light hitting them, but you can’t see their face. Have a bounce, whether its shiny or soft white, use that light to be your key. Fill that actor with light, then once that’s accomplished, shape it and move it around to be what you want for the story. Because LED lights aren’t strong enough yet, you’re probably gonna have to use that in your closer shots, because the light needs to be about three feet away. Wider shots, shiny reflective.
Ted: Yeah, absolutely. Next time of day , what are we dealing with?
Middle of the day
Carmichael: Middle of the day, essentially noon. Noon is different because the sun is mostly directly above. With it being directly above, I generally prefer one solution. Put a massive silk, probably about a five by two minimum, above your subjects. It makes it a softer looking character, but that’s all you have now.
Ted: We’re still missing that dimensional quality so how do we get that back?
Carmichael: Now you can use a bounce, I generally will say a white bounce. It’s not strong enough once the silk is there, because the silk is just raining light around your subject. Harsh shiny reflector will probably do your best. Or putting a light about three feet away. Now, look at your background. Look at your shadows that are naturally there. If your shadows are going from left to right, you don’t want your light to go right to left.
Ted: See where your trees are casting their shadows, and make sure that when you’re adding that dimension, it’s coming in the same direction. Alright, so there’s your episode of 4 Minute Film School with Carmichael on how to shoot at different times of day. We are also giving out a COB 120t to the best comment below. Carmichael wants you to ask him a question about this topic and we’re going to go through it and answer those.
Carmichael: Note: the 120t’s, they’re the best tungsten colored LED’s that Corridor Digital has ever used.
Ted: Well, there you have it. Those are his words not mine. Leave your comment below, ask Carmichael a question, keep watching and we’ll catch you guys next time.