Cinematography Solutions: How to Light Day Exteriors

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Cinematography Solutions: How to Light Day Exteriors

Searching online for high quality education can be a daunting task. This Day Exterior Playbook was created by Shane Hurlbut, ASC to demystify the art of using natural and artificial light in day environments. Topics include: Extending your dawn and dusk, creating longer sunsets, using natural bounce light, finding locations that light themselves, location scouting and what to look for, planning your shoot around the path of the sun, using reflector and mirror boards to redirect the sun, using light and color meters to help balance sunlight and shadow, matching artificial light with natural sunlight, how to shape daylight with the use of negative fill, and secret techniques to filter and transform your day exterior work.

This style of curriculum is equivalent to taking a master class in cinematography. Shane reveals his playbook that has taken him over 25 years to perfect in the art of lighting and balancing day exterior work. Using his proven methodology, this interactive and fun style of learning gives you the necessary tools to increase your speed, expand your skillset, and help gain confidence while shooting outside.

Table of Contents

Lighting Theory
Lighting Theory 203 – The Natural Look of Crazy/Beautiful
Lighting Theory 204 – Extending Dawn in Drumline
Lighting Theory 205 – Sunset for Hours on Into the Blue

Necessary Tools for Day Exteriors
Lighting Techniques 202 – How to Light Day Exteriors

Pre-Production Scouting Day Exteriors
Lighting Techniques 401 – Finding Locations for Day Exteriors and Interiors That Light Themselves
Lighting Techniques 402 – Lighting Day Exteriors: The Location Scout

Essentials of Lighting Day Exteriors
Lighting Techniques 501 – Lighting Day Exteriors: Shooting Your Wide Shots and Walk and Talks When the Sun Is Low
Lighting Techniques 502 – Lighting Day Exteriors: Shaping Natural Daylight Through the Use of Negative Fill
Lighting Techniques 503 – Lighting Day Exteriors: When the Sun Is Too High in the Sky, How You Shape and Use Natural Light to Change the Direction of the Sun on a Close Up
Lighting Techniques 504 – Lighting Day Exteriors: When The Sunlight Is Too High, How You Shape and Light a Close Up with Artificial Light
Lighting Techniques 505 – Day Exteriors: How to Balance Sun and Shade with Natural Light for Interviews

5 Comments
  1. Ahmed E 2 years ago

    Questions about using a color meter to measure the sun’s K° throughout the day: If you’re shooting Pro Res 4444XQ on an Alexa and you keep it at 5600°K (Daylight Standard White Balance), would it be possible to match these different shots in post or does it create artifacts.

    Thank you,
    Ahmed El Lozy

    • Author
      Shane 1 year ago

      That should work out perfectly

      • Ahmed E 9 months ago

        Great. Thank you Shane.

  2. Ahmed E 9 months ago

    Hello Shane, thank you for this post.
    If I may say so, you went for a very flattering look in the girls’ close-ups. Would there be a situation where you would let the harsh shadows from direct sunlight play on their faces?

    • Author
      Shane 9 months ago

      Sure, I think the story will tell you what you need to do in those situations. It is easy to just let the raw light hit a face and call it good. But it is another to understand how to light it so that is flattering and still matches the tone and mood of the scene and does not look like she is lit.

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