Nagging window reflection problem

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. What's the best way to take out or reduce the reflection of a large window
    outside so it doesn't act as a mirror? Removing the glass isn't an option.
    We tried netting, but that wasn't enough.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 6, 2008
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  2. I should also specify that we tried using a circular polarizer, which
    wasn't enough.

    More about the set-up: two actors sitting on a cafe terrace under an
    awning. There is a large window behind them. It reflects cars passing in
    the street, and in very bright sunlight the cars shine more brightly than
    the (shaded) actors.

    We also thought about lighting the inside of the cafe (on the other side
    of the window) more brightly, but again we end up highlighting objects
    other than the actors.

    My next steps would be a bamboo blind (which would look a little weird
    hanging *outside* the window) or lightly frosted adhesive plastic sheets
    like the kind people apply in their bathroom windows (which could require
    washing afterward to remove glue residue).

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 6, 2008
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  3. We don't need to see through the window at all - as long as it still
    looks like a window. The window is about 7' x 9' (HxW).

    I looked for sunblock windowscreen at Home Depot in the garden centre, no
    one knew what I was talking about. I've seen it used on patios and
    trellis, is that the one you mean? I know it's great as a ND filter, I've
    just never had to use one until now. But it'd definitely be a good
    addition to my gear.

    I also like Bill Fright's suggestion about DOF.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 6, 2008
  4. Open the window? Now why didn't I think of that! ;-)

    All kidding aside, we've already considered the obvious, including
    selecting a different location. Short of praying for clouds there isn't
    much we can do, so the next step would be to somehow alter the reflective
    surface of the glass.

    And definitely keep the filter, every little bit helps.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 6, 2008
  5. Jacques E. Bouchard

    Bill Fright Guest

    Do you want to see any reflection at all? If not you can do what I've
    done before... Apply dulling spray directly to the glass. Mask the sills
    so you only get the stuff on the glass. This is best done at night with
    a lot of light to ensure you're getting a very even coat. If you've done
    it right the glass will appear frosted.

    Beyond that I'd get some depth of field happening so the window is soft
    in the background. Or like someone else mentioned use different time of
    day or location.
    Bill Fright, Sep 6, 2008
  6. Jacques E. Bouchard

    Bill Fright Guest

    hehehe we typed that at the same time!
    Bill Fright, Sep 6, 2008
  7. I've thought of that. Might be tricky to apply evenly though, so if I'm
    going to wash afterwards I might just go with the adhesive film.
    We tried that. It reduced the reflection but not entirely.
    Now that's a good idea. Not really doable in our case (it'd have to be an
    18-wheeler) but I like how your brain works. ;-)

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 6, 2008
  8. Sure it is: "How can I reduce the reflective property of glass". Simple
    questions only become complicated when you insist on addressing the
    motives of the poster rather than the question itself.

    If this truly is a cognitive problem, just say so and I'll explain more
    A lonely struggle, I'm sure. Others seemed to grasp the problem and
    offered helpful advice - something that still eludes you.
    I didn't actually say either that I wouldn't think you fit to take baby
    pictures at Sears, but that's fairly obvious.

    Given the level of your other answers, I could quite foresee finally
    doing this:


    Good riddance. The signal-to-noise ratio just improved greatly.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 7, 2008
  9. Don't include Spex in this "we", Richard. Everyone was helpful, except
    for this one usenet kook who found in the medium a way to vent his
    frustrations in a way he would never dare in real-life situations.
    Yes and everyone else's contribution was welcome.

    Do what YOU want, Richard. I'm not asking you to take sides. But I'm sure
    the rest of the group would rather speak for themselves rather than
    delegate you to do it for them.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Sep 7, 2008
  10. Jacques E. Bouchard

    David McCall Guest

    I don't know your exact situation but I would use a large scrim to block
    the reflections. 12' square scrims (butterflies) are pretty common at the
    shops that rent equipment to professional film and video companies,
    but I think I've seen them listed as big as 20' x 40' (approximately as
    long as a semi). You would place this between the road and the cafe.
    One thing to consider is that a big piece of fabric like this will be very
    susceptible to wind. You need a crew to rig it and keep an eye on it.
    You will also need to tie it down. Theatrical rental companies rent scrims
    for use on a stage, but rigging them outdoors would be difficult at best
    because they aren't designed to be used in this manner. The scrims
    used for film and TV work have grommets all of the way around and are
    tied to a frame.

    Another approach would be to rent enough HMI lighting to bring the
    level under the canopy to the level on the street.

    David McCall, Sep 10, 2008
  11. Jacques E. Bouchard

    gpsman Guest

    You need to dull the cars, sounds like to me.

    Maybe a light coat of wax, unrubbed off... partially rubbed off...?
    You only need to do the parts that are screwing up the shot.

    I'm trying to think of what else might work that would be cheap, easy,
    won't attack the paint... drawing a blank.

    The only other thing I can think of is hanging sheer material between
    the cars and the window... but I don't know how much control you have
    of the environment.
    gpsman, Sep 11, 2008
  12. Jacques E. Bouchard

    Smarty Guest

    One of the studios I worked in years ago used this Krylon Dulling Spray very
    successfully on windows, mirrors, anything which was too reflective......

    It might solve your problem.

    Smarty, Sep 12, 2008
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