Sun Balls on Stage
We have built wheat fields and sun
balls on stage for shots that were not practical to shoot in the field.
A shot required a kid on a bench
sitting with a fake giraffe. On a 40-foot stage we made a 4 foot hole for a
sun ball in a larger paper sky. The orange-red sun, behind the sky, was painted
darker at the bottom as a sunset sun looks. The sun was exposed 3+ stops over
neutral gray. We painted red clouds in the sky (one to two stops over gray)
and built foreground gray rows of hills (about neutral gray). The shot looked
like an 800 mm shot, but really about 35mm. The camera side of kid and giraffe
were exposed 3 stops under neutral gray and just read some detail. We exposed
for neutral gray. Of course all reading were reflected with a spot meter.
For a wheat field we stuck a lot
of wheat stalks in styrofoam. Painted a sunset sky and waved the foreground
wheat with an effects fan. The wheat was back lit brighter than it would be
in the reality of weaker sunset sunlight.
These kind of shots need a lot of
"eyeballing" and a film test the day before final shooting. Make some changes
of lighting balance and keep good notes. We didn't have video then, but a video
test (not video assist) would tell a lot if the difference between video and
exposure latitude (negative contrast range) is understood. Film has more negative
contrast range. See Zone
System Definitions and Zone
System for Motion Picture Photography.
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.