Still on location… Not too many CG characters in this movie, but scripts can change… And after a few discussions with the director and producer, a new shot concerning CG critters set in moody lighting was added. All the other shots involved props, so matching the lighting would be easy. But with this new shot, I would definitely need a shading sphere*. Shooting starts in a couple of days. What to do?
Simple. Get a cheap, round light fixture (4.50 $). I prefer neutral grey than pure white; grey primer will do just fine (4 $). Because it needs a lot of coats and I did not want to go back in forth from the studio shops, I made my own paint shop in my hotel bathroom…. Don’t tell the hotel managers.
The trick is to spray enough coats of paint to get a nice even look, while keeping the paint fumes out of the hotel corridor. I found it safer to do it at night. And voilà! A nice grey shading sphere for under 10 bucks!
* For the non VFX-savvy folks reading this, a shading sphere is just a flat colored sphere that is used to capture the lighting, shadows and some color bleeding on a movie set. You move it around in spaces where CG characters will be inserted later as the camera is filming, so it gives you a visual cue to start building your CG environment. In the same fashion, white spheres are also used, as well as chrome balls for highlights.