Its a beautiful sunny day, you’re shooting indoors looking out to a sliding glass door or window and its brighter outside than on your set. Your talent is moving so HDR is not an option. You really don’t want a silhouette, if you expose for the talent then your sliding glass door or window blows out with light, what do you do? Allow me to share with you about Black Scrim material. You can purchase it as a open ended flag with various sizes as shown here at B&H, or just the fabric, stretching it over a 18×18 frame as seen here from NCIS:For this shot the action was in the main entry way looking out. The outside ambient light was knocked down 2-stops with the Black Scrim material. Here’s another setup looking outwards:When I took this shot I was up close to the door way, you can sort of see the black netting. When you’re shooting your talent in the middle of the room, you will never see the Black Scrim. Here’s another photo of the setup outside:This is a great shot showing you how much the light gets reduced from the Black Scrim. You can see the difference between the Black Scrim and the open street. Notice the wood painted like the cement sidewalk so that you don’t see the metal frame below. I love working and learning from the best!
I don’t think many of you will be using the Black Scrim material at the caliber that many TV shows do, but for shooting some portraits or head shots the framed Black Scrims are perfect. I have a few sizes. I use the 18×24 Double Black Scrim. They are colored coded for their density, red for 1.2 stops and green for .6 stops. The reason the frame has an open end is so that you can feather the light on or off of the talent and not have to deal with a shadow from the frame. Here are some photos from my studio using a Scrim:
Mike is best known for his work on countless popular shows that are household names: CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, JAG, Boston Legal, Pretty Little Liars to name a few. His current projects are NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Mike is a Trainer for KelbyOne, and Los Angeles Center of Photography. Mike is also a member of the International Cinematographers Guild.
You can view Mike’s work at 4stills.com, and follow him on Facebook at 4Stills.