Taking advantage of natural light is a very powerful tool for cinematographers. Not only can harnessing the sun’s light be an inexpensive option to save money on equipment but the bright natural look from the sun’s light can be difficult to replicate. Knowing how to use the natural light properly can make all the difference when it comes to your final product. Here’s a few quick tips!
Know the Environment
If you’re filming at home, for example, ask yourself questions like do I prefer using a practical light, or should I open a window for a more natural look? How will the light shift over the course of the day?
Filming in a studio will pose similar questions. As the sun changes positions throughout the day, catching the sun at just the right point can allow for some very harsh contrast, and stylistic flare.
All three of District 28’s studios feature large windows with a blinds system that helps our clients shape the light to their needs.
Understand how the weather will affect you
More light doesn’t always mean a better image. Especially when it’s coming from the sun. Bright sunny days can create harsh lighting scenarios that are often unappealing, and leave you with a blown out image. Taking advantage of a cloudy day, with some overcast is often the best scenario for shooting with natural light. clouds can act as a great filter from the sun, and is Earth’s natural diffusion.
Use reflectors and diffusers
No clouds? No problem. If the sun is too strong and your light is too harsh for the look you’re trying to achieve, consider a diffuser. Diffusers helps spread out, and soften the light creating a more flattering look. Additionally, reflectors can work to bounce light onto another area within your frame, or be used as a fill light