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Shaping Natural Light

If the goal is a natural looking scene, you might just need to shape what’s already there. Here’s how we made this image with available light.

There were just two components to this setup: diffusion and negative fill.

☑️ We diffused the sun with a 4x4 frame of voodoo cloth - that fabric is heavy duty and makes for some beautiful wrapping and creamy highlights.

☑️ Then we basically built a fort out of 4x4 floppies to add contrast to the subject.

☑️ The scrap duve on the floor did a ton to kill excess bounce. This might be one of my favorite tricks for adding contrast in a shot.

So, how do you know if using available light will pass the vibe check on your shoot?

🌞 Use the Sun Seeker app to track the movement of the sun for the duration of the scene. You may need to make small adjustments as it moves.

🌞 Check the local weather to make sure you’ll be clear from unwanted clouds and rain.

❌ I wouldn’t recommend going natty if you will be shooting for longer than an hour or need to match a look between scenes.

Anyone can have a van full of fancy gear but knowing when to pull out the right tools is key.

DP David Stewart @hiddenwoodsfilmco

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.

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