Tips and Equipment

POSTDATED - 26/04/12

Today I had my meeting with the photography tutor who explained some of the basics about having a keylight to simulate the main light source (in this case the direction of the sunlight) and a fill light to simulate environmental reflection. He also provided me with a few bits of equipment which are used to soften, scatter or otherwise adjust the lighting to get a better match. They were;

Polystyrene boards - these are used to reflect lights so that light hitting the puppet is softer, as pointing the lights directly at the subject tends to be to hard, creating harder shadows. It is also used to add subtle fill where the addition of another light would be too strong.

Trace - An opaque sheet made from flame-retardant material used to scatter and soften the light and clipped on to the spotlight barndoors.

Spun - Similar to trace, but made from a different material to give a different scattering effect.

Matte Black Cinefoil - This is aluminium foil, coated in black oxide layer by an anodising process, which can be clipped to the spotlight barndoors to control more accurately where the light lands than just using the barndoors themselves. Also, if necessary, it can be wrapped around the lens of the camera to create a makeshift (and more adjustable) lens hood to eliminate glare and lens flares.

Gels - These are transparent sheets made from polyester which are clipped to the spotlight barndoors to change the colour of light the spotlight puts out.

After fiddling around with these bits I managed to arrange a set up that more accurately simulated the lighting of the original footage. From here getting everything perfect so that the wolf would sit naturally in the composited scenes is the skill that I would get better at with practice.

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