Thread: Reducing car headlight strength.

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  1. #1 Reducing car headlight strength. 
    Senior Member Aaron Green's Avatar
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    I'm shooting a night exterior with the Gemini near a cornfield. The shot will feature a wide of a parked car, off the side of the road. The headlights will be on to act as a backlight for the actor who is walking in front of the car.
    My question is: to balance exposure for such a dark setting - is there a way to ND the headlights of the car?
    Aaron Green - Chicago, IL
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Mike Altino's Avatar
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    A couple small pieces of window tint from a local auto store could work in a pinch. You can cut to size and apply, then just peel off when finished.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Aaron Green's Avatar
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    Thanks Mike!
    Aaron Green - Chicago, IL
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  4. #4  
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    we do it all the time with nd gels. Then you know how many stops and can add and remove as needed.
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  5. #5  
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    ND gel and some snot tape is the usual way to do this.

    If it's a car used a lot, I've had custom HARD ND ACRYLIC headlight covers made so you can just fit them as required and it's a bit faster to change over.

    JB
    John Brawley
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Patrick Tresch's Avatar
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    I’ve also used some 228 brushed silk so the beam is a bit wider and less hot. Better for the actors height.
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  7. #7  
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    As long as the headlights are not too badly clipped, I'll rouinely grab a key on the headlights in final color and knock them down a little bit so they're not too "dazzling" and attention-grabbing. There are creatives who want the headlights leaned towards yellow, but I'm generally inclined to go for a modern pure-white look. It's amazing how much detail a light bulb can retain if the material is exposed well.

    I would still try to augment the actors' lighting with fill and a little backlight (and an eyelight) if possible, if you can sneak them in. Those are very tough to fake in post.
    marc wielage, csi • colorist/post consultant • daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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