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Weekly Video Tip: Golden Hour Calculator

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By Stephen Schweickart

We keep telling you to shoot your exterior footage at “golden hour.” Golden hour this, golden hour that, shoot at golden hour or your footage will look bad! It won’t, but you can take advantage of the natural beauty of the sun’s light by shooting at specific times of day that yield the softest, and some might say best, quality of light. And the absolute easiest way to plan your shoots is to use the Golden Hour Calculator by Roger Moffatt.

The website takes all the guesswork out of it for you. You don’t need go to weather.com to look up the sunrise info, just go to golden-hour.com and all the work is done. The site will take a guess at your location, but if it’s not right, simply navigate around the map, or use the dropdown menu on the right to select the closest location to you and the information will adjust.

The graph at the bottom charts the sun’s movement across the sky, and therefore will show you exactly when golden hour is. Two yellow bars appear on the graph, which indicate the two golden hours you have to film on any given day. Simply mouse over either one to learn exactly when the sun is in the optimal position to get that beautiful light working for your photography or video.

Sure, finding the daily sunrise and sunset and adding or subtracting an hour might get you close, but what if you’re trying to plan a shoot that is months out? The Golden Hour Calculator has you covered. The squares at the bottom of the page indicate dates in calendar form. All you have to do is click the desired date and the graph adjusts and you’re free to schedule your shoots. It’s also really interesting to compare the lengths of a day as the seasons change, so don’t get distracted!

And for you iPhone users out there, there’s even an app you can pick up for $5 so you can have it on the go with you wherever you are. However, Android users must navigate to the site in their browser, but hey, it saves you the money and it works just fine.

The Golden Hour Calculator is the easiest way to set up shoots if you’re looking to get yourself some beautiful exterior or outdoor shots. But don’t take my word for it. Head over to golden-hour.com and check it out for yourself. It’s really simple, but may be one of the most useful tools you find.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s site at http://www.vscreen.com/.

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