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In camera fx


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#1 Anthony Powell

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 07:09 AM

Does anyone have any ideas on a situation I have been confronted with on a film that is due to be shot on Super 16mm with a Bolex EBM?

Their is a scene where a beam of light is to shine through a crack in a wall and transfix an old man who is caught in it's beam. The effect that the director wants to achieve from either a neutral angle, or from the side, is that the beam of light should appear to have an almost 'material' quality to it, and that instead of just instantly enveloping the old man who is in it's path (as say a torch would when switched on and pointed at something), it should appear to advance slowly towards him.
Been scratching my head about this for some weeks so any help / insight would be greatly appreciated. Must stress though, that this effect must be achieved IN CAMERA if possible.
Thanks...
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 11:25 AM

Well, if it has to shine through a crack in the wall, it can't really move unless you want the effect of a passing light.

But in terms of the beam itself, the #1 thing is that there has to be an even amount of haze (smoke) in the air.

Now to get a sharp beam, you need a projected light source, either a strong light very far away from the crack (to become a sharper source), or an elliposiodal lamp (like a stage Leko or Source 4, if they are bright enough for you), or something like a MoleBeam or Xenon.

The advantage of a tungsten lamp like a Leko or Source-4 is that you can put it on a dimmer if you want the beam to fade up.
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#3 Boris Belay

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 01:41 PM

Since the beam of light will be mostly visible (materialized) while eing diffracted through smoke or steam, the effect you are describing (if I understand it weel) could be achieved by the displacement of the smoke/steam. Maybe you can rig up something that will create this 'screen' in an expanding motion toward your character, so that the light-beam will seem to inch toward him. Obviously, though, you can't have the character in the shot before the light has reached him, since he would be illuminated all along. But that's easily taken care of by closing in on the light as it 'approaches'.
It's not so much an "in-camera effect' as 'on-the-set optics' ...
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