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Lighting a movie theater


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#1 Val Williams

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 01:18 PM

Dear All,

I am working on a student project that involves lighting the interior of a movie theater. The idea is to place the camera in the back row on a wide lens so that we see the backs of heads and the film being shown. During the scene, the final credits roll and the house lights subsequently come on. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or suggestions in terms of lighting it. I know getting exposure will be a problem. I am considering using a fast stock like Kodak 7279 or 7218 (500T) and pushing one stop. I have a small lighting package at my disposal with small fixtures, the largest being a 1K. I guess the lighting will need to be on a dimmer system. Thanks in advance.
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#2 David Silverstein

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 02:43 PM

Im not an expert but I would suggest using the smallest amount of light needed to get exposure so it doesnt look like its artificially lit and gives a realism feel to it like a movie theatre is.
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 04:14 PM

yeah, when I think of being in a movie theater, I dont see much of anything. if you set your 1k up far away with maybe 1/2 CTB and just aim for a soft, faint line around the contours of a persons face it will sell the shot. will the projector be running? does footage from that need to be in camera? if it does then the brightness of the projector will dictate your apeture and in turn will determine what level of light you need. If it tuns out the projector is too bright for the lights you have, you can put a glass ND in front of the projector to get the lights closer to in ratio.

As for the switch, you can either do it with a dimmer or if you want to go cheap, take a power strip and plug all the lights from one 'light scene' into it and plug all the lights from the next 'light scene' and plug it into another. this will make it easy to switch one off as the other switches on. The natural thermal inertia of the fillament in the bulb gives a nice ramping or dimming effect when you make the switch.

If you rate your film for one stop over you should be ok as long as you have 2-3K of power. remember if you use more than 2k to get the rest from a seperate circut (read as another theater or from the hallway) to avoid blowing fuses. I dont know if you have any monstor stands, but watch out for sprinkler heads EVERY time you set a light. A mistake like that will ruin your day.

and dont be afraid of dark. let the whole scene go dark and choose what gets light.
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#4 Bob Hayes

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 08:54 PM

I?d be concerned about sync problems with the projector. It is probably running crystal sync at 24 fps but it may be out of sync with your camera resulting in half frame images.
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