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How to use reflective materials


How to use reflective materials

Reflectors are essential if the sun is to be used as the main light source.When using the sun as a background light source,it is important to use soft reflectors or the'soft'side of hard reflectors to avoid them appearing as an overly strong point light source in daylight.Position the actors in the sun so that the sun's rays come down from their 10:30am position.Place the reflectors at an angle 4:30 in front of the actors,high enough to reflect the sunlight into their eyes and not so strong as to make them feel dizzy.If a softer white light is required,use a soft white reflector.If a little flash is required,use a silver reflector.If you want to add some warmth to the actor's face or body,use a gold diffused reflector.To give all of the above a softer effect,the following combinations of reflectors can be used,white/gold,white/silver,silver/black and silver/gold.

When a surface has a colour,the reason is that it reflects the colour into the human eye.Understanding the properties of colour will allow you to be more effective in creating the effect you want in your scene creation process.Using this idea,you can use blue reflectors to make actors look cooler,or red reflectors to make them look warm and welcoming.

If sunlight is required but the actors are in shadow due to the scene or background,there is no need to lift out a huge HMI lamp or drag out 500 feet of powerful cable-a hard silver or gold reflector can be used to bounce light into the scene to achieve the desired effect.In general,a hard reflector should not be used as a primary or scene light source.

Using hard reflectors

When using a hard reflector,it is equivalent to creating a sun-like light source in the near vicinity and looking at that reflector is the same as looking directly at the sun!Use a hard reflector to reflect the sun's rays onto a soft reflector,which is then used to reflect the sunlight back onto the actor.The sun's beams are straight,so if you use a reflector to reflect them,they will bounce right off at opposite angles.

If the sunlight hits the reflector at an angle of 45 degrees,it will leave the reflector at an angle of 135 degrees.This rule is very effective when trying to illuminate a shady patch in a park or a shady spot in the city.The only time to use a hard reflector directly on a subject is when the reflector is very far away from the subject or when the daylight should be very weak due to the weather.

There is one more thing to note when using daylight-it is constantly moving.In fact,if you are recording for more than a few minutes,you should have your reflector position adjusted.Make sure that you take this into account when setting up your reflector and conceiving your script.Early morning and late evening will provide your best natural light,but a properly arranged gold reflector can effectively extend this time,provided you keep an eye on the angle of the reflector and adjust it in the order of the changing sun.

Using reflectors indoors

Some people think that reflectors are only necessary when using daylight as a light source outdoors.But in fact,reflectors are also very useful for indoor work.If you are shooting in a well-lit office,use a hard reflector to reflect the sunlight coming in through the window onto a soft reflector.The light cast in through the window immediately creates a very good background light source for you.Of course,you need to add some intensity filters to the window so that the light is not overpowering.Sometimes working with actors in difficult locations can make it difficult to find a suitable light source.Remember that a hard reflector can'replicate'your main light source.Aim a hard reflector at the main light source and bounce its light onto a soft reflector and then onto your actor.Just move the angle and you've solved the problem!The reflector does not require any energy power and can be moved around at will.

And of course,don't forget the biggest indoor reflector of all,the ceiling.By placing a light source under the ceiling you can create a really excellent background environment for the actors.Remember to make sure that the ceiling is white.Again,remember that the colour of an object's surface comes from the colour of the light it reflects.

Using reflectors outdoors

If you are using the sun as your main light source,reflectors are essential.When using the sun as a background light source,you must use soft reflectors or the'soft'side of hard reflectors to avoid them appearing as an overpowering point light source in daylight.Position the actors in the sun so that the sun's rays come down from their 10:30am position.Place the reflector at an angle 4:30 in front of the actors,high enough to reflect the sunlight into their eyes and not so strong as to make them feel dizzy.If you need a softer white light,use a soft white reflector.If you need a little sparkle,use a silver reflector.If you wish to add a certain warmth to the actor's face or body,use a gold diffused reflector.To give all of the above a softer effect you can use the following combinations of reflectors,white/gold,white/silver,silver/black and silver/gold.

When a surface has a colour,the reason is that it reflects the colour into your eye.Using this idea,you can use blue reflectors to make your actors look cooler,or red reflectors to make them look warm.Understanding the properties of colour will allow you to be more effective in creating the effects you want in your scenes.

If you need to use sunlight but your actors need to be in shadow for a scene or background,don't panic.There is no need to lift out a huge HMI light or drag out 500 feet of powerful cable;use a silver or gold hard reflector to bounce light into the scene to achieve the effect you need.In general,you should not use a hard reflector as a primary light source or as a scene light source.

When using a hard reflector you are creating a sun-like light source close by,and looking at that reflector is the same as looking directly at the sun!Use a hard reflector to reflect the sun's rays onto a soft reflector,which is then used to reflect the sunlight back onto the actor again.The sun's beams are straight,so if you use a reflector on them,they will bounce straight off at opposite angles.

If the sunlight hits the reflector at an angle of 45 degrees,it will leave the reflector at an angle of 135 degrees.This rule is very effective when you want to illuminate a patch of shade in a park or a shady spot in the city.The only time you should use a hard reflector directly on a subject is when the reflector is very far away from the subject or when the daylight should be very weak due to the weather.

There is one more thing you should be aware of when using daylight-it is constantly moving.In fact,if you are recording for more than a few minutes,you should have your reflector position adjusted.Make sure that you take this into account when setting up your reflector and conceiving your script.Early morning and late evening will provide you with the ideal natural light source,but a properly arranged gold reflector can effectively extend this time,provided you keep an eye on the angle of the reflector and adjust it in the order of the changing sun.