What do you do if there is an object in your frame that is too spicy, but you want to keep the same quality of light and exposure throughout? Use a net!
Nets are some of the most underrated pieces of light shaping equipment on the grip truck, imo. Nets are tools that allow you to alter the exposure of specific areas of your composition. And unlike slowing light with diffusion, they won’t change the quality of light.
They come in different shapes and sizes, but my favorites are the open-ended frames. Three sides are metal and one side is just a thin piece of wire - perfect for feathering an almost invisible gradient.
Nets also come in two flavors: Code Red and traditional MTN Dew, aka green 😋. Red (known as a double) will knock off one stop of light, while the green (a single) will take it down half a stop.
There are countless instances where you may use nets to balance the exposure in your image. In this case, we had some talent in the bg closer to the key light source than our lead. We stacked a double and a single net to knock off 1.5 stops and keep them from being a blazing overexposed distraction. Sort of ironic, given the bg talent’s sweet dance moves.
This setup was pretty straight forward for an office building with drop ceilings and overhead light. We started by using scrap duve to black out a lot of the overhead lights on the fill side and in front so they wouldn’t flatten out the lead subject. We keyed with an 8x8 book light through bleached muslin and a 50 degree control grid. Better believe we used the Chicago Style Hotdog™️ to wrap the key and add eye light. A Litemat Plus 2L as a hair light. Diffused the windows with 1/4 grid cloth to allow some soft ambient light in to fill the space.
Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with a grip truck based in Lafayette, Colorado serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain region at large.