Quick Tips on Filming During Midday without Diffusion
If you’re filming in the middle of the day under direct sunlight, a sunlight diffuser is often the go-to to reduce the impact on your shot. But, when budget is low or equipment is lacking, what do you do? We’re showing you how you can use the nature around you to create DIY diffusion on a budget with these quick tips on filming midday without diffusion.
The bright light of midday sun can reduce any visible detail from your film production if you don’t take steps to diffuse and use the light to your advantage. But, a homemade sunlight diffuser may not be on the equipment list if you find yourself already outside taking the shot. Fortunately, you can use nature to your advantage when filming outside during midday by letting the existing elements work for you. Consider the following tips on filming without diffusion to create perfect shots, even at the high point of the day.
Use Shadows from Existing Structures to Your Filming Advantage
Shadows are feathered and soft during the morning and evening hours, but under midday sun they are sharp and well-defined. This isn’t ideal for all types of filming, but sharp shadows can create dramatic contrast to mood and character setting in certain situations.
Instead of diffusing the sunlight, use the shadows and contrast that is already coming from the placement of existing structures such as tall fences, buildings, gates or thin structures in the area to your advantage. Interior areas will also have a fair share of shadowing shapes during the midday sun. Consider train stations, libraries and other buildings with open-tops or glass roof designs to get the most out of the midday light and shadowing effect that it creates.
Diffuse Sunlight with Tree Leaves
The foliage that exists outside can set the stage for some natural sunlight diffusion without the need for added equipment. In fact, filming under foliage produces a natural effect that allows the light to create cutting patterns of light through the shadows.
Under the midday sun, the leaves produce a natural sun diffuser. Leaves prevent the sun from beating down too hard on the subject while allowing light to trickle through the foliage producing light spots across the talent. Natural sunlight diffusion like this won’t work for every scene, but can be used to add aesthetic appeal to some sets and best of all–it’s free.
Pro Tip: Expose bright parts of the face to prevent the actor from having hot spots from the lighting.
Film in Alleys, Narrow City Streets & Other Tightly Packed Areas
Although the midday sun is likely beating down on a wide open area such as a country meadow or sandy beach, there’s likely a lot of natural diffusion taking place in packed areas such as alleyways, city streets, or country lanes that are lined by trees on either side. In these areas, the sun may sit behind a tree, a skyscraper, or a rural wall for just long enough that it casts shadows that can build on the dramatic appeal of the scene.
These same locations may seem flat and uninspiring on an overcast day or later in the day when the sun is not at a vantage point, but midday–ambient lighting fills the location in all the right ways. Results here should be similar to those that would be produced with a reflector.
Pro Tip: Aim to shoot away from the areas where direct sunlight is pouring in to prevent visible hotspots from occurring in the background of your shaded talent.
We hope you like these quick tips on filming during midday without diffusion. Remember, you can use the natural sunlight diffusion that exists around you to get the most out of your filming location and scheduled time–even if it is in the middle of the day.