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tough lighting requirement, I'm stumped


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#1 fredsmith

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:04 PM

How can I get as much indirect lighting as possible in an 8X8 room?
I need to be able to do a close up on an actors eye and not see any light source or anything in the room reflected in the actors eyes.


I've tried covering the room with flat white cloth but that shows in the eyes.
I've tried covering the room with flat black cloth. That doesn't reflect in the eyes, at least it's not noticeable, but that sucks up too much light.


Currently I'm using 8 55 watt fluorescent lights (= 250 watts incandescent). Fluorescent is preferred to keep the room cool.

I've only seen what I need accomplished in the movie THX 1138.
There it was done in a large room with recessed lighting pointing at a domed ceiling.
I'm stuck with the 8X8 room, however.


Any ideas will be appreciated.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:37 PM

Something HAS to be reflected in the eyes -- they are like a fish-eye lens or a chrome Christmas tree ornament, you know what I mean? If there's any light on the face, it will be reflected in the eyes too.

So I assume that the only thing acceptable to be reflected in the eyes - since something has to be there unless this is a blacked-out stage -- is the room itself, no lighting.

So then the question is: what's lighting the room? Practical lamps? Window light? Could these be reflected in the eyes?

The other question is: if you light a room brightly enough so that the face is only lit by the light bouncing off of surfaces in the room, no sources... then how are you going to hide the reflection of the camera? Cut a hole in a wall? Film through an open door that is dark in the next room?

At some point, you may be better off just using a light on the face and digitally erasing the reflection of it in post. Because something has to be lighting the face and that will be reflected in the eyes. They are like mirrors. So if you don't want to see MOVIE lights, you need to light the space with practical illumination (windows and lamps). Now you may get away with an overhead softlight rig because its reflection may just get cut off by the brow and upper eyelids, but of course, that means the light itself is shadowed off of the eyes, so you'd have to expose more for the ambient bounce back off the floor & furniture.
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 07:07 AM

You could try blacklighting. No, not the UV-type light. I read about this trick years ago in an article about shooting shooting diamonds and other very reflective material. What you do is that you bounce light into black foil or other shiny-ish black forms onto the subject. This requires a lot (a lot!) more light, but might work.
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#4 Don Bachmeier

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 09:20 AM

Perhaps a large piece of foamcore with a small hole for the lens and worked in very close. Take care to light it very evenly. Dealing with the lens flare is something else. I'd be interested to hear what you finally did.
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#5 Mario C. Jackson

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 09:27 AM

Perhaps what you could do is shoot a light through a door from the outside and just you a bounce rig to bounce it into the room. Then you could use flags to get rid of unwanted spill. The biggest thing would just be camera placement. Figuring out were to put your camera in a way that it still tells the story.
Hope this helps
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#6 fredsmith

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 10:22 AM

Wow! Great forum.

I'll try "blacklighting". After trying aluminum foil I thought anything shinny would have hot spots.
It makes sense that black wouldn't.
Using flat black basically worked but I couldn't get enough exposure even with 15 frames a second.

David
Digitally erasing the reflection in post?
I didn't think of that and I might need to do that although I don't want to go to the expense if I don't have to. (even if it's just my time with a NLE)
You're right, the camera does show in the pupils but that happens to fit the story so I don't need to put it in shadow (another great idea).
I think I understand about the Christmas tree ornament. Really, I'm not trying to hide the light source, I'm trying to make it so uniform over the eye that it
isn't noticeable. I'm trying to get the "true" color of the iris or at least a sense of it.
I realize that in a sense we don't see an object itself we the light it reflects.

I should mention the camera has to be three feet from the actors and I can't have any shadows on the face.
So if I used a single direct light I would have to put it close to the actor to avoid shadow from the camera.
I think the actor would go nuts after awhile and it will be many hours of shooting like this.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 11:06 AM

Well, a hard light would bring out the eye's color better plus create a smaller reflection in the eye, but if this was a side light, it would require fill light, which is a secondary reflection.

Question again is if this is a day or night interior?

Some people light an eyeball with a Chimera softlight and will put black tape across the Chimera to make it look like a pattern of window panes.

If this is a night interior and you really want to only have natural things reflected in the eye, put the person right next to a table lamp with a bright bulb inside of it, at a side angle, to create a side key -- the eyeball will just reflect the real table lamp & nightstand under it. Then for fill, move some piece of light-toned furniture to the opposite side of the face, or a use a wall, and light that brightly, the light being behind the subjects head, so that was is reflected in the eye is a bright piece of furniture or wall for the fill.
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#8 Dino Giammattei

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 05:07 PM

I've done quite a few medical procedures, and all the still shots are done with a surgical ring-light.
These things have the curious effect of not having a hot spot.
Because the center is dark, you can hide the circular reflection in the whites of the eyes
Maybe I'm crazy, but would it be possible to rig an enormous ring-light or reflector?
Hide the draped off camera in the dark center, or light it to intentionally show.

dean
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#9 Jack Barker

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:13 PM

Well of course, it's difficult to envisage exactly what you are shooting, but you might want to think about bouncing out of an umbrella mounted vertically (say, right over, or a little behind the camera). Mount it high, but as though it were raining, then correct it to bounce onto the talent's face. Even in a small room, you could put a couple of these up and they are quite cheap.
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#10 Sebastian Matthias

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:54 AM

Hey Fred !
If it´s really only the close-up of the actors eye, do You really have to stay in that 8x8 room??????
You should be able to film it somewhere else,where You can move further away and use a longer lens.
This way You wont have the lens reflecting in the iris.

cheers

Sebastian
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