Join Eduardo Angel for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting a building's facade, part of Corporate and Documentary Video Lighting.
- The building's exterior shot wasn't necessarily hard, but it was time consuming. I drove by the office building the previous day and tried to get a quick shot in the morning, but the light was super flat and boring, making the building look quite dull. The catch was that the magic light, that special time right before the sunset wouldn't happen until 5pm. With the interview starting at noon, and lasting just a few minutes, I had the entire afternoon to shoot the lobby and wait for the sun and hopefully some luck.
A very common mistake when shooting architecture is to try to squeeze as much information into a frame as possible. The main problem with this approach is that there is so much that the viewer doesn't know where to look. There isn't a center of attention. Another common mistake is to use the wrong lens. When it comes to shooting architecture, consider that usually the wider the lens, the better, but not all wide lenses are created equal, and most will add so much distortion and vignetting to the image that even an interesting building loses its appeal.
The third common mistake is not exploring different vantage points. A straight shot that includes only the most important elements and excludes unnecessary ones is often a good approach. If we have the luxury to shoot around sunrise or sunset, we add additional layers of depth, color, and texture to our images. To get rid of cars in front of the main entrance, I picked a small hill in front of the building. Even with my tripod fully extended, I wasn't getting as high as I was hoping, so I borrowed a ladder from the company's maintenance department.
I secured the ladder with a couple of sand bags, attached my slider to the ladder, framed the shot, practiced the movement, and simply waited until the sun dipped low enough to achieve the dramatic look I wanted, and I got my shot. Or did I? As I usually do, I decided to wait a bit longer, and suddenly some of the building's lights came on. The dramatic color of the sky in the background, the beautiful sunlight almost touching the horizon, and the building's lights were the stroke of luck I was hoping to get.
Funny, the harder I work, the luckier I get. I should say that the client was extremely pleased to see these images.
Each chapter begins with a strategy session, and includes tips for capitalizing on natural light, repositioning the camera, and getting the final shot. Eduardo closes the course with a wrap-up of the shoots and some final thoughts on shooting video for corporate clients.
- Choosing your location wisely
- Working with natural light
- Picking a camera position
- Lighting the scene