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Night and Subway Lighing


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#1 Raymond O'Neil

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 07:08 PM

I would like to film a night scene in a New York city alley - using Super 8 camera. There are city lights that project pool type light and then after the sidewalk there is basically nothing... a cityscape/city view. So, I guess I am lucky in a way since there are existing lights, but I was wondering if I should be aware of anything... like

1. flickering, or special "rings" that such lights would produce during filming. I don't intend to point the camera directly at the lights, but I am planning long shots which will include the lights in the frame.
2. Should I maybe use some kind of filter?
3. I am planning to use either Kodak Vision 200T or 500T films. Would that work? Would I need filters? What would other options for crisp night shooting?

I would like to shoot another scene in the subway. I heard that there are special lights in subways. How would that affect shooting? Should I use specific film stock? How does subway lighting affect flim stock?

Thank you very much in advance,

RJ
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#2 timHealy

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 09:30 PM

I would like to film a night scene in a New York city alley - using Super 8 camera. There are city lights that project pool type light and then after the sidewalk there is basically nothing... a cityscape/city view. So, I guess I am lucky in a way since there are existing lights, but I was wondering if I should be aware of anything... like

1. flickering, or special "rings" that such lights would produce during filming. I don't intend to point the camera directly at the lights, but I am planning long shots which will include the lights in the frame.
2. Should I maybe use some kind of filter?
3. I am planning to use either Kodak Vision 200T or 500T films. Would that work? Would I need filters? What would other options for crisp night shooting?

I would like to shoot another scene in the subway. I heard that there are special lights in subways. How would that affect shooting? Should I use specific film stock? How does subway lighting affect flim stock?

Thank you very much in advance,

RJ



If I can address your issue about shooting on the NYC subway system.

It can be a pain in the ass. For film shoots you most likely need a permit from the MTA people. The same people that the TWU is stiking against. So many people want to shoot films in the city subway they have a few people to work with film shoots and the woman who is the head of the department can be difficult. Unless you are shooting The Sopranos or another Spider Man movie.

You could try to shoot without one, and you may get kicked out and then again you may get away with it. If you try to do it without a permit, shoot at night, keep it small, and shoot at a remote station or on a line that you could try and do it incognito and probably handheld.

I did something small in 16mm under the auspices of a 3D class I took a few years ago and it was a pain to arrange and deal with the MTA.

Now they do have differnent rules for video! You could try to talk to them and tell them it is a video shoot. And I would guess no one will ask to see the tape. They also may have more security issues since Sept 11 and the London train bombings.

As far as the lighting down there, I just shot whatever it was and had it timed out in the transfer. I wasn't using any additional lighting so I didn't even figure it out, but if you want to you could use a colortemp meter and add the correct green to your additional lights to match and time it out. They are either warm whites or cool whites and may be high output so you couldn't just bring in your own bulbs.

If your shoot gets to be big and you want to add lights, electricity become an issue to solve. The only reel options are a run from a generator on the street if you are a platform, and on the train cars: put-puts if ventilation is OK, car batteries and inverters, or battery operated lights.

I hope some of this helps

Best

Tim
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#3 Raymond O'Neil

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 09:46 PM

Hi Tim, thanks a lot for your input. I am planning - as you said - to keep it small and incognito. I am not planning to go through MTA, since I don't have much time, nor is the subway scene long.

I am not planning to use any additional lights as well. But my questions was: With existing subway lights would a film produce somekind of flicker or unnatural tones. In other words how would those lights affect the film? As far as I know the lights used in subway are different from household lights and behave differently when filmed.

I appreciate your comment on warth and coolness of lights. I will definately keep it mind.

Thank you
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 11:31 AM

Hey RJ,

You could shoot in a well lite area and probably be fine. Occasionally, an old flourescent, usually magentic, will flicker, but personally I have no way of telling. Perhaps if anyone has advice on that one... some tool or something.

I caught an old flickering fluorescent once when a producer saw it on video tap. I could not see it through the viewfinder. We did one take for safety with it off and sure enough it had been flickering on the dailies. But the other fluorescent fixture were all fine.

If no one has a tool to recommend, I would say just go for it.

The one thing you will have to address would be color. Are you transferring to tape or just finishing on film? Either way you should bring a color temp meter and see what the K and green is. You can correct for these via filters on the camera. If you are going to video you could get away with not using any correction on the camera during shooting but it would be helpful to the colorist if you did. If you are finishing on film then I would say you MUST use correction filters on the camera to get the look you desire.

Also one word of advice. If you are small and shooting without a permit and get caught, play dumb and profess ignorance!. It is always easier to apologized for something later. Practice these lines "Permit? We need a permit. Oh I'm sorry we didn't know! this is just a school project" And keep your student ID's on you so you could prove your that your just a dumbass college student. I would also stay away fron the PATH subway sytem. I think their security is a little tighter than the MTA.

Best of luck. Let us know how it goes. I have a friend that shot two scenes for his film without a permit, and with a handheld 35mm camera a few years ago with three actors a sound guy and available light and he pulled it off. So it can be done.

Tim
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#5 Raymond O'Neil

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 04:48 PM

Tim, thanks a lot. I really appreciate your help. weill keep you posted.
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