June 25, 2014

Learn How to Use Reflectors to Double-Bounce Natural Light into Your Scene

Double ReflectorAs indie filmmakers, we're used to working in tight spaces -- bathrooms, cars, your own studio apartment, so we know that, sometimes, the locations we need for our scenes just aren't conducive for simple lighting setups. Luckily, The Slanted Lens recently pulled off a little bit of cinematography acrobatics for a shoot they did inside a cave at the L.A. Zoo, and they've shared a tutorial to teach us how to use two reflectors to double-bounce natural light around a corner.

In many cases lighting is pretty straight forward, but challenging lighting situations do tend to pop up every now and again, and knowing how to approach them beforehand can save you and your project a lot of time and money. And though you may not be filming scenes inside a cave any time soon, the concept of bouncing light is still a key cinematographic move -- certainly one worth learning and practicing.

The lighting setup for The Slanted Lens' shoot is made up mostly of reflectors that bounce the natural light from the outside of the cave inside. They use a LitePanel and a light/reflector combo for fill lights, but what they do with two reflectors to double-bounce the natural light outside the cave is pretty awesome. By bouncing the light off of the hard side of one reflector and then off the soft side of the other they're able to create a great key light from natural sunlight that  illuminates the inside of a cave!

Here's the lighting setup used in The Slanted Lens' shoot.

TSL light bounce

Now, check out the tutorial to find out more about the tools used, as well as the concept of double-bouncing light.

You're probably not going to have to shoot in this exact same situation, but you could come up against an obstacle like the one in the tutorial -- requiring you to double-bounce (or Indiana Jones-style bounce) light from a source that can't reach your subject.

Link: Using Double Reflectors to Light a Cave -- The Slanted Lens

[via Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

12 Comments

Love it. Really liked him pushing white balance in-camera to get that blue light.

June 25, 2014 at 9:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ballsy offsetting the white-balance haha. But maybe using the correct WB for flexibility and grading it in post would've taken up too much time?

June 26, 2014 at 9:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Very cool. Thanks for the trick!!

June 25, 2014 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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AJ*

Love that the shoot was for a female travel urinal:
http://www.amazon.com/Jobar-International-Ez-Travel-Urinal/dp/B004ANM6C8

June 25, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Don

Careful, that's exactly how they killed Lord of Darkness in Legend.

June 25, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Doug

MORE EDUCATION LESS SELLING OF PRODUCTS ADVERTISING PLEASE.

June 26, 2014 at 12:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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pablo

Playing with ever changing sunlight is never save idea. Moreover it requires a lot more planning and rises time constraints problems. It is better to through additional 180$ and get 6k parlight for the ambient bounce.

June 27, 2014 at 2:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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einar

Getting light on her in the hall could have been easily achieved by using a Lowel Blender or a simple Kino. Then again, my methodology is more in line with Deakins and Zsigmond. Whatever floats your boat.

June 27, 2014 at 8:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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guythatknowslight

I think you're missing the point. This is a tutorial about using bounce, not about using lights.

June 27, 2014 at 8:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Good point about it being a tutorial. Even though, the set-up was used in an ad. My point is that it's not very practical.

June 29, 2014 at 8:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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guythatknowslight

Ha ha! Zsigmond is known for using natural light and *not* using lights. That's pretty bold comparing am yourself to then and calling yourself the guy that knows light when you are claiming they use lights a certain way and would never use light this way.

Deakins bounces natural light all the time.

June 30, 2014 at 3:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

I'm so grateful for this interesting tutorial .

June 27, 2014 at 10:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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