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#1 dbledwn11

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 08:41 PM

i just recently finished shooting a sequence for a 16mm exercise which took place in a pretty small room. the walls were painted a beige cream, not white at least, but still it looked bright-ish.

the lights we had provided just about enough light - we ended working as wide as we could go (f-1.8/2) - and I would of preferred to be working at something like f-4 instead. but to achieve this in the space we were working would of required moving the lights closer to the subject.

i didn't want to to do this since it seemed to me that it would look like a light was placed just out of frame.
now i was thinking that the solution is to use a more powerful light, but i'm not sure if this would just make the light appear more intense and still give the impression that there is an artifical light in the room being cast on the subject. have i got this right?

surely if you then try to compensate for a more powerful/intense light by moving it further back (if ideally you had more room) you're back to how it was before with a weaker light nearer the subject.

how would others deal with this situation?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 08:56 PM

In this day and age of high-speed stocks, it is much more possible to light an interior scene to levels which still seem realistic to the eye, but as soon as you want to work with slower film or deeper f-stops, you have to train your eyes to get used to lighting at a higher level overall. Remember that even though the light levels are higher, assuming you expose correctly, it won't look brighter on film.

But it does require two basic things if you want realism. One is that you don't overpower a practical that should naturally appear to be a certain brightness in the room. So if you increase the light levels of the key light, you should probably use practical lamps in the set that can take higher wattage bulbs so that they appear bright enough even after you've stopped down or switched to a slower-speed film. Second, the artificial light you add has the behave as a natural practical effect would, whether you are simulating an off-camera lamp or a window with soft daylight coming through, etc.

This tends to mean that your key should be soft enough to not look like a theatrical lamp just pointed at the actor, unless you are simulating hard track lighting or stage spotlights, etc. (or direct sun.) So you would probably bounce or diffuse the key light, and flag it down so that it didn't make the walls too bright, etc.

It takes real skill to light at high levels and still recreate natural effects. For me, it was good training to have started out shooting 40 ASA Kodachrome Super-8 and then 100 ASA 16mm color negative, because I had to learn to light for that lower sensitivity yet still try and make it look natural. You should try it: light a living room for a moody night interior twice, once for 500 ASA stock and once for 100 ASA stock, but keeping the f-stop the same for both versions. You'll learn a lot!
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#3 Justin Hayward

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 12:13 AM

It takes real skill to light at high levels and still recreate natural effects.


However, a good video image and properly set iris will help with this immensely.
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