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January 26, 2012 / GreenMan

How to Kill Harsh Sunlight

Make the sun work for you!

The sun can be a great natural key light, but can also blow out your footage and ruin your day in post production trying to fix the hot spots on your subjects. And let’s face it, you have enough stress putting together your photo or video projects. Don’t add to it! Instead, take some tips from the pros over at

If you’ve got a 5 in 1 Reflector, you’re one step ahead of the competition. If you don’t, have no fear my friends. You can use a bedsheet. No really, you can. (Learn something new everyday, right?)The goal is to diffuse the sunlight just enough to get rid of hot spots on your subject’s face but still keep enough light to make the footage usable.

With a 5 in 1 reflector and a C-stand (or two standard light stands), you can create a nice diffused spot for your actor to stand. Using the diffusion side of the reflector, simply clamp it to the light stands and raise it above your actors head until it is directly between the sun and your subject. You will immediately begin to see the difference in your shot. *Quick tip – be sure to properly frame your actor(s) so that they stay completely in the diffused light. If they’re face is diffused but the rest of the body isn’t, it will be very distracting in your final shot, and there’s no real way to correct it in post.

But what happens when you have multiple subjects or need a wider area? This is where the bedsheet comes into play. You will want a white, relatively thin sheet. The easiest way is to get a hold of two backdrop stands and attach the sheet to both ends, creating a sort of tent or canopy over your subjects. Keep in mind that the sun is constantly moving so you may need to angle the sheet by raising or lowering a backdrop stand on one side. The larger the sheet, the more area you will have to work with. *Quick tip – be wary of wind. Keep the sheet as low to your subjects as you can, without it dropping into frame. Using sand bags on the stands and extra clamps on the sheet may help it not to move around or fly away in the wind.

See this in action! Click here to watch a short video showing all the tips I just mentioned above. TubeTape shows you, in detail, how they get the professional look even in harsh afternoon sunlight.

Go get diffused!


P.S. Don’t miss out on any tutorial videos from TubeTape. Subscribe to their channel now!


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