Changeable weather equals changeable lighting equals an absolute headache for outdoor shooting. The weather in the UK has been slightly odd this past week. Today jumped between bright sunshine, grey cloudy skies and torrential downpours, often one after the other in no particular order within a matter of minutes. Now that might not be so bad in itself, but when you are shooting outdoors, especially video, as we were today, then it causes a whole heap of issues.
Firstly, a quick technical overview (apologies if it doesn’t mean much to you…but bare with me, we will get there). When you purchase high end lenses for your camera, one of the attractions is the shallow depth of field provided by low aperture. When we can move down to 1.8 f-stop the lens will naturally let in more light, and the bokeh that you can achieve at such settings is what gives your footage that film like quality.
On a sunny day low aperture settings can present a problem when filming video; bright light combined with opening your aperture to a wide setting such as 1.8 means more light gets onto the sensor and the picture is often blown out. This is where an ND filter comes in use, especially an adjustable one where you add some ‘sunglasses’ to your lens and bring the image to a useable state whilst retains the wide aperture. In this instance you have the best of both worlds!
If none of that made any sense to you, then all you need to know really is that the weather this weekend made filming extremely testing. As conditions changed literally from minute to minute, no two takes were the same, and the lenses, filters and camera settings required changed from shot to shot. Reviewing the footage, we were pretty pleased with the results, but I couldn’t help but think back to blog 4 Learning Zone vs Performance Zone….
If it wasn’t for the experiences of trial and error, of figuring out what works and what doesn’t, of researching why online and in books over the years, there is no way that this weekends shoot would have proven a success. Namely, it was our time in the learning zone over the years that enabled us to react almost instantaneously to circumstance, in this case changing lighting conditions, and allowed us to perform.
If you haven’t yet read our blog on the learning zone, the link is above. Getting the balance between learning and doing is so crucial, but what is clear is that if it wasn’t for our learning, then this weekends ‘doing’ would have been a disaster!
What is the best piece of learning that you have done that has come to the rescue when ‘it’s all gone wrong’!?!