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Racing the Sun

Yesterday I shot a scene that involved two people on a balcony which faced west. Our start time was 5pm. We also needed a shot of person #2 entering the room behind the balcony, with person #1, already sitting outside and in direct sunlight, in the foreground of the same shot.
Initially my instinct was to cut down the direct sun by putting a flag over person #1 and bounce more light into the dark room behind him for person #2's entry, to equalize the two, and I fought to keep #1 sitting the whole time (we weren't equipped to fly a large silk or flag up over the second floor, but I could flag him in close-ups).
That's what I did.
Then I was hoping to shoot a master shot from the reverse angle, looking west from inside the room, and had to push again for #2 to cross the camera's axis, because even I try to use proper screen grammar when I can. Then I found out that #2 had just received the lines that day, and a long-take master shot was simply not possible without frequent starts and stops.
By this time the sun had gone behind the adjacent hill, and it created a nice light, but as we all know, that light won't last for very long. We shot her lines in close-up, and then did a master shot which looked pretty darn good, and we will come back to #1's closeup next week.
I love shooting under twilight conditions, but every other aspect of the production process needs to be on point and meticulously planned when you do that, otherwise we find ourselves having to go back and finish up portions which we didn't get to. I am confident it's going to look great, and the performance we did get was incredible, but I could do without a backlog of scenes weighing me down.
-Chris

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