On a pick-up shoot a couple of months back I found myself in the position of needing to mould the natural light without any equipment whatsoever. The sun was shining brightly with no clouds in sight, and we needed to shoot a close-up that would match an existing overcast wide shot. Fortunately there was a B&M just around the corner. Unfortunately no-one took any pictures of the ridiculous set-up that ensued, hence the comedy illustration.
Here’s how to do it:
- Get yourself round to B&M. (Other depressing discount stores are available.)
- Purchase a white bedsheet (£3.99) and a roll of foil (79p).
- The sheet is going to be your “silk”. First of all, cut the elastic corners to make it easier to wrangle.
- Assign Unfortunate Crewmember #1 to hold up the sheet so that it casts a shadow on the talent. It will soften the direct sunlight falling on the them, but there will probably still be darker shadows on their face than you want, so…
- Unroll a couple of feet of the foil. This is going to be your bounce card.
- Assign Unfortunate Crewmember #2 to stand on the shade side of the talent and use the foil to reflect some direct sunlight into that side their face.
- Hope that this is not the day the photographer from the local paper visits the set.
Even if you’re not matching to overcast shots, this softening of harsh sunlight is usually desirable to some degree when shooting CUs. Click here for more on moulding natural light.