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Low Budget Shutters / Flash Effect


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#1 Barry Cheong

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 12:36 AM

Hi!

I'm prepping a low budget student short that shoots in early March. The scene is a press conference with media personnel snapping photographs, etc of the main character on a stage. I'm shooting Super16 on an SRII. I've been told that electronic flashes will not work because they are too fast. I was thinking I could put lights on a hand dimmer and get my electrics to flash it quick.. How fast/slow should it generally be? I was also thinking shutters. We have no money to rent proper film lighting shutters but I was thinking about those wood panneled shuttered doors you can get which has a lever to control it. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks very much!
Barry Cheong
Student: Humber College Toronto
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 07:41 AM

Hi!

I'm prepping a low budget student short that shoots in early March. The scene is a press conference with media personnel snapping photographs, etc of the main character on a stage. I'm shooting Super16 on an SRII. I've been told that electronic flashes will not work because they are too fast. I was thinking I could put lights on a hand dimmer and get my electrics to flash it quick.. How fast/slow should it generally be? I was also thinking shutters. We have no money to rent proper film lighting shutters but I was thinking about those wood panneled shuttered doors you can get which has a lever to control it. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks very much!
Barry Cheong
Student: Humber College Toronto


Hi,

Old fashoned flash bulbs are cheep and work very well. A search on E-Bay will give you plenty to choose from.

Stephen
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#3 Barry Cheong

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 04:03 PM

Thanks Stephen! I'll keep hunting through ebay. Are there any other methods just out of curiosity? I'm thinking I might need a lot which we don't have the budget for.

Thanks!
Barry
Student: Humber College Toronto

Edited by Barry Cheong, 15 January 2006 - 04:04 PM.

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#4 Jeff Tanner

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 05:25 PM

Barry,

Data Flashes would suit your needs perfectly. Try any special events lighting company that specializes in live rock-n-roll shows. Data Flashes are very cheap to rent (I get them for $20 each) and they can be sequenced together plus they have the ability to change the flash duration (up to 2 seconds I believe). They also are great for a poor man's lightning gag.

Regards,

Jeff
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#5 Travis Cline

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 08:51 PM

Barry

I think the flash bulbs generally look better as other have suggested, but I did a commercial recently where we just used little scoop lights you can buy at the hardware store and put Photofloods in them. The my best boy switched them on and off as needed. Another thing I've tried is flashing lights from off camera too. The problems come in getting enough light out of them to make them feel like a flash, which should be decently bright and overpowering your set lighting, at least for an instant, which could prove difficult on a student budget unless the lights are close to the subject. So, you may have to hide the lights behind actors/electricians if your subject is not close to camera. Anyway, good luck.

Travis

Edited by travisclinedp, 16 January 2006 - 08:54 PM.

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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 04:42 AM

Hi,

I don't know if this what you meant, but it's not that xenon strobe flashes are invisible on film - you just have a 50% chance of missing them.

People shootin press-pack scenes all the time with xenon strobes and just put up with occasionally missing one. You could rent any strobe unit you liked and add some extraneous flashes on the basis that you will miss roughly half of the real ones, but I don't think there's any reason to go to insane lengths. Any cheap strobe unit will work fine in a press pack situation.

Obviously, if you are shooting a scene where you have one camera and you must see the flash, you can either retake until the camera operator doens't see it in the viewfinder, or you can take one of the measures already mentioned.

Certainly I would do this rather than use an anachronistic magnesium flashbulb in a modern show.

Phil
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#7 Barry Cheong

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 12:07 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions! As a test I tried flashing a modern on-camera electronic flash with my DVX100A in 24PA mode at 1/50th of a shutter. For the 12 flashes I made I got 3 that gave me a good white burn-out. The rest of them you saw a partial flash or nothing at all. As suggested I'm just going to have plenty of them firing off at randomly from everywhere and I should catch something. I'm doing a test next week on the SRII.

Thanks again!
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