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Robbie Carman: So Rich, we've talked about using lens hoods that come with lenses, we've talked about using a matte box, and both these options work pretty well, but there's a practical technique that gaffers and DPs have been comfortable with for seemingly ever. What is that? Richard Harrington: Flagging the shot. Basically putting something between the lens and the offending light source. Robbie Carman: Okay. So we have a lot of different ways of doing this though, don't we? We have you know pretty simple straightforward ways or we could build very complex systems. Richard Harrington: Yeah, I think you know you've actually got a flag here. Robbie Carman: Yeah. Richard Harrington: And it's just a piece of fabric in a frame.
Robbie Carman: Yep. Richard Harrington: Now this is a professional one and this could be attached to a C-stand. There's a little thing there that you can attach to the knuckle and it'll hold that, you can position it or you can have an assistant hold it up, but really if you were in a pinch, you could just get a piece of foam core from an art store and use that as a reflector or to bounce light and block it-- Robbie Carman: And we can position these all over. You notice that if I put it kind of right here, I'm blocking you off a little bit. Richard Harrington: That's my light, man. (laughs) Robbie Carman: Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize. Exactly, so it can be used for stylistic reasons obviously-- Richard Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: To sort of shape the light in the scene, but on a practical point-- the question for--that we're talk about now is that we can use it so we can avoid lens flares as well.
Richard Harrington: Yeah, and that works really well, but you typically are going to have to have some grip equipment, either a grip, a person to hold it for you or a stand and you set it up and put a sandbag on it, so it doesn't flip over. Robbie Carman: And right, and this is relatively small one. When I stand and talk about complex systems, and we both have been on sets where we have sort of huge canopies of flags over a scene to protect it, but we can go sort of on the micro level as well, and you've got another one right here. Richard Harrington: Yeah, in this case this is normally called a FlashBender and it attaches to your camera flash and this allows when you bend this to angle the flash, and this is just sort of used to shape where the light bounces or to create a scoop.
Robbie Carman: Now of course, in video work, we're not using strobes or a flash or still flashes like that really. Richard Harrington: Correct! So I had this in my bag one day and I just had a nasty flare. I couldn't get rid of it. I was out on my own and I'm like, well what do I have, what do I have--was like, wait a minute, and I just figured out, oh, this has got a piece of elastic and I just wrapped it around the lens, just put it on in there, and-- Robbie Carman: So now you're kind of getting the benefits of a flag, say on a matte box, but in a much more pliable and probably cheaper solution. Richard Harrington: Yeah, and my flag is bigger than your flag.
So it allows me to go ahead and bend that into place. I could shape from the side, if it was coming from the side. You can turn that over to the side, just rotating it. Robbie Carman: Yep. Richard Harrington: And that allows you to really bounce the light. Now you got to be careful, obviously, if this is too close to the lens and you're really wide, you might see it. Robbie Carman: You might get some vignettes. You can see in there, yeah, sure! Richard Harrington: But this is a bendable system, so nothing keeps you from pulling that back a little bit and scooping it, and just getting that out of the shot, so it's protected. Robbie Carman: Yeah, that's very cool! Richard Harrington: So very simple things, this is only about 50/60 bucks for one of these, and you know, it's easy, it lays flat. You can keep it in your bag and pull it out.
And the nice thing about it is it works both for still shooting and video shooting, which is nice. You know, you're going to get that double value. So in either case here, you can go as low-tech as a piece of black foam core from an art store. Robbie Carman: Something sort of in the middle like a more professional type flag like this. Richard Harrington: Yeah, using with a stand or an assistant. Or get a device like one of these FlashBenders that could be attached to a lens and then bent in to shape to block the light. In any case, you are just taking greater control and putting something between the lens and the offending light source. Robbie Carman: Yep.
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