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Simulating fiery hell reflection & Green Screen


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#1 Shawn Murphy

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 03:07 AM

I need to light an elevator scene (a real elevator, not a set with removable walls, using the DVX100A).

The setup is that the elevator goes to hell, so I have two main shots I'm trying to figure out how to light:

1. The POV of the fiery depths of hell looking into the elevator, want to see the flame/color/flicker reflected on the actor in the elevator: Initially I thought flicker boxes on two 1K tungstens gelled with red/orange/yellow would do the trick, but not having ever used flicker boxes before I found out that the ones I could afford (Walter Graff makes them), are only rated to handle 100 watt lights (perhaps fine for a small campfire or candle simulation). Now I'm wondering if two 1Ks are even sufficient, using strips of gels tacked to a frame and manually moving/shaking to simulate the flicker of the flames (or a small fan blowing the strips of gel). Eventually I'll try to run a test but if anyone has had any experience recreating this type of reflection (hell flames or intense flames from a burning building), your ideas are appreciated. The DVX is fairly light sensitive so maybe the two 1Ks are enough?


2. The POV of the man inside the elevator looking out into the hell/flame scenery, which will be done via Green Screen/CGI FX. So, as I perceive it my challenges is twofold: One, I need to evenly light the green screen (which I'll read up on and know there is a ton of info about), but I would imagine that I need also consider the fact that the actor will also need to be lit as if standing in a fiery environment to some degree otherwise the composite won't feel believable? (that sounds impossible to light the actor in a fire/flame/flicker motivated way and to affect the green screen lighting). So, is the actors flame/color/flicker something I should ask about being done in post or is there a way to do this that I'm overlooking.

Thanks in advance for any tips or ideas.

~Shawn

Edited by Shawn Murphy, 28 January 2006 - 03:10 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 11:51 AM

When looking at the actor, is this a head-to-toe shot? A medium close-up?

Normally one would use flicker boxes, the type that can take 650w or 1K's, but they are not absolutely necessary. I've gotten very believable flicker effects just by shining the light through a very thin diffusion frame (like Opal), gelled-orange, and randomly waving my hands & fingers in front of the light to cause the dancing flicker effect, or waving a magazine or piece of cardboard in front of the light (you don't want to block the light completely ever, so you want something smaller than the light to wave.) You can even put two lights through the diffusion and wave your hands in front of one and have someone on a dimmer raising and lowering the intensity of the other. Lots of methods.

For the reverse looking at the greenscreen, first of all you want a large enough greenscreen to be able to back it as far away as possible so that when you light it, it doesn't bounce a lot of green back onto the actor. This will make it easier to also light the actor separately. Yes, you'd probably want to rim/edge/backlight them from below with flickering orange light, then fill with whatever source would have been behind his back in the real location.
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#3 Robert Hughes

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 01:20 PM

A variation on David's fire trick is a box fan with several strips of reflective mylar attached to the exhaust of the fan, placed on supports over the floor so the air blows vertically upward. You may have seen similar setups in artificial fireplaces, which shine orange and red lamps on strips of paper that are blown by a fan (maybe this is the flicker box you refer to). Or perhaps shine spotlights at flexible plastic mirrors and have grips flex the mirrors randomly.

Also (given permission of the local fire marshall) you can run a natural gas flame strip between the camera and the talent; this setup gives you the additional heated-air effect.

Edited by Robert Hughes, 28 January 2006 - 01:22 PM.

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#4 Shawn Murphy

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 09:46 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll explore all of the ideas and options you guys suggested and see what looks the best.

Regarding the framing of the shot: I don't have the shot list/location yet, though if the location is a standard (see: smaller) elevator hallway, then I imagine that I won't be able to get much wider than a medium shot, and a closer shot would reveal more detail... (my DVX setup does not include a wide adapter or one of the 35mm adapters).

Regarding the flicker boxes that can handle 650-1K, are there commercial products you recommend as I did a fair amount of searching but couldn't seem to find anything. I see reference to a Lowell 1K Flicker Box at rental houses but nothing on the Lowell site.


Regarding Green Screen: If I'm in a smaller hallway this could be quite challenging to light both.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 10:50 PM

Flicker boxes:
http://www.gamonline...aster/index.php
http://www.magicgadgets.com/
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#6 Shawn Murphy

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 12:07 PM

Thank you.
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