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#1 Joe Baron

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 02:40 AM

I'm shooting in a fairly large room in a church basement (let's say 30' x 60') and the ceiling is only about 10' high. The director wants the scene to have a somewhat warm and welcoming feel, which pretty much rules out the existing cold, flat fluorescent lighting. I'm not sure whether to light it mainly from above with a bunch of smaller controlled lights (like china balls, I suppose) or to attack it from the side with more powerful soft lights as far back as possible to cut down the fall off.

I'd like to set it up in such a way that I can shoot at least 180 degrees without changing setups.

Any suggestions? What other options might I have?

Thanks.

btw, it'll be on 16mm with a 320T stock if that makes any difference.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 02:55 AM

Well, start out asking where the light would naturally come from. If you want to light from the sides, are there floor lamps or wall sconces or other practicals to motivate the light?

You could reglobe the overhead flos with tungsten-balanced tubes, maybe Kino 29's for more warmth, and only turn on a few to create a few pools of overhead softlight and then light the other areas from the sides more. But consider dressing in some practicals to motivate side-lighting.
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#3 Joe Baron

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 10:16 AM

The room is pretty bare as is, although it's not a bad idea to dress it with a few practicals to motivate some side lighting. I've also considered changing a few of the existing bulbs as you mentionned, although they're quite sparse so that alone probably wouldn't be enough. I suppose a combination of the two might work.
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#4 Tom Bays

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 10:46 AM

The room is pretty bare as is, although it's not a bad idea to dress it with a few practicals to motivate some side lighting. I've also considered changing a few of the existing bulbs as you mentionned, although they're quite sparse so that alone probably wouldn't be enough. I suppose a combination of the two might work.



Do the ceilings let you use Scissor clamps?
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#5 Joe Baron

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 11:21 AM

Do the ceilings let you use Scissor clamps?


They do. Any suggestions? Is it common to light such a scene with a series of smaller lights (flagged and diffused, I suppose) or maybe a few kinos?
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#6 Tom Bays

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 03:20 PM

Excuse the question: Is it a group of kids playing pool...is it a board meeting...is it a drug deal?

Are you going to keep shots close or do you want to show how big the room is?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 07:15 PM

They do. Any suggestions? Is it common to light such a scene with a series of smaller lights


Sure, if you're simulating overhead track lighting, which would be spotty.

Kinos would simulate overhead flo tubes (well, they ARE flo tubes...)
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 10:21 PM

I have found great success bouncing lowell tota lights off the roof. If there the room has a suspended grid system you dont even need much rigging. They have clips that clip to the roof, run cables under the grid and point the tota at the roof (make sure to use a grip head on these to lower the totas, stock they would sit about 2" from paper tiles...yeah unless you like fire. also with the grip heads you have the option to soften or harden the light by adjusting how far away the lights are.)

If there is a portion of the ceiling you need to see, remove the lights in that part of the roof and angle the lights so the hot point lands just a few feet short of the frameline. Then skirt the frameline so the roof isnt too hot. The idea is sorta like billiards. Aim to bounce them back into the right portion and naturally the light will fill the area, there wont be any shadows (practically speaking of course) and the light will be very soft. Then add maybe a bit of backlighting as needed/practicle.

This will bring the light to about the same color as those tiles. if this is not the color you are looking for, cover or replace the tiles with white paper or foamcore.
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#9 Joe Baron

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:24 PM

Excuse the question: Is it a group of kids playing pool...is it a board meeting...is it a drug deal?

Are you going to keep shots close or do you want to show how big the room is?


It's a church singles night - single people mingle and shmooze in a church basement. For the most part, I'll be framing things medium/close, but I'd like to get one or two wider shots to establish the space.

Thanks so far for all the comments, I appreciate the help. I haven't shot much in a while and I've never been terribly comfortable shooting in large indoor locations, so any help is quite welcome.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:41 PM

First rule is to make things easier by getting the large space to light itself to some degree, hence why adding practicals that look correct for the scene (not out of place) helps. Then you mainly have to worry about tweaking for the closer shots. A big soft light coming from one side isn't necessarily a bad idea as long as you have the off-camera space to back it off so that the people on one side of the frame don't look super-bright compared to the middle of the room. But the big soft light look may end up making the scene look like daylight because it seems like only a big row of windows can create that look. However, for closer shots and the foreground, a soft side key may just feel like an off-camera practical.

You may go with small overhead spots pointed down and just softening them for closer shots, like switching to a Chinese Lantern when you get tighter and have room for one above the frame.

I've even dressed bare Kino tubes on far background walls, along the top of chalkboard or under cabinets, etc. to suggest fluorescent strip lighting. I've even taped them to columns vertically to suggest some sort of architectural lighting. As long as they are in the background, people won't scruntize them too much.

You also don't always have to light the whole space. People could have turned on a few lights where they are standing / sitting and the background can be very dark & sketchy.
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#11 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 02:00 PM

Hello Joe,
I guess in the General shot the ceilling will be in the frame?
If yes, then u can cooperate with the Art director and use anything that will fit in the shot aeshetically, or maybe patent some of this lights.
Dimitris Koukas
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#12 Greg Gross

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 03:19 PM

Place gold reflector material on walls not seen in frame. This will reflect warm light.
Also possibly on floor at certain locations in the room. If this will work for you in your
situation, it is cost effective. I guess 10' may not be to great for reflecting light from
ceiling or floor though. Maybe you'll find it worth trying.

Greg Gross
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#13 Tom Bays

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:02 AM

It's a church singles night - single people mingle and shmooze in a church basement. For the most part, I'll be framing things medium/close, but I'd like to get one or two wider shots to establish the space.

Thanks so far for all the comments, I appreciate the help. I haven't shot much in a while and I've never been terribly comfortable shooting in large indoor locations, so any help is quite welcome.



Use people in the wide shot to cover up much of the frame. Maybe have a few people talking close to the camera with enough space to show how large the room is. Make it more subtle than just a big wide shot.
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