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Top 5 Tips For Filming Outside

One way to stay COVID Compliant is to move your indoor video shoots to outside. While there are a lot of advantages, filming outdoors can be a little tricky. Here are our top 5 tips for shooting video outside.


1: Pick a Cloudy Day

It might sound counterintuitive, but cloudy days are the BEST days to be filming outside. The clouds act as a natural diffuser, scatter the sunlight. That means no harsh shadows and no hard light. I once had a client refer to it as "Model Lighting" because everything comes out with that beautiful soft glow you see on models in a magazine.

2: Film with the Sun Behind the Camera

This sounds obvious, but it happens all the time. I'll get footage from a client, and the entire subject is backlit because they put the sun behind the subject. The quick and easy way to figure out where to position the camera is to look for shadows. The camera shadow should be falling in front of the camera (not on the Subject, of course), with the Subject's shadow falling behind them.

3: Utilize Golden Hour

Golden Hour is one hour before sunset (or one hour after sunrise, but really who is awake that early to film?). Also known as Magic Hour, the beautiful golden sun creates the perfect lighting for your video. The problem is you only have an hour - give or take depending on the time of year. So make sure whatever shots you need during Golden Hour are set up well in advance so you can take full advantage of your limited time.

4: Avoid Spotty Lighting

Avoiding direct sunlight is a good idea, but be mindful when filming under trees. Leaves tend to create a spotted light pattern, leaving part of your subject dark and the other part overexposed. Place your subject in full-coverage shade.

5: Use an ND Filter

A Neutral Density Filter (or ND for short) is a filter that you place on your lens (some cameras have this built-in like the Canon C100). Essentially, it's like sunglasses for your camera. The filter limits the amount of light entering the camera without changing the color of your shot. This is perfect for sunny days. ND filters allow you to keep your aperture more open, creating a shallow depth of focus, without blowing out your highlights. ND filters come in different sizes and different strengths (or Stops). Check the size of the lens before purchasing your filter to make sure it fits.


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