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faking a subway train going past a window


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#1 ChrisG111

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:01 PM

Hi there. This is my first post so I hope it'll be fruitful.

I am a cinematographer on an undergraduate thesis film. We are working with 16mm Kodak Vision2 7217 200t film for the entire project. The director has requested that we push 2 stops to increase the contrast (with the exception of one scene).

So, my question... we have built a bedroom. We need to make it look as if a subway train is passing by the window (blinds are closed, or if possible, only slightly open). We have tried using a pinwheel device that we fabricated, as well as several other objects to spin in front of a light. I am pretty sure we can use a single 2K.

Any thoughts on how to do this? Ideally, it would look like squarelike windows of light passing by the window which would splash light onto the adjacent wall in the room. This takes place at night, and immediately following will be some kind of morning setup (probably another 2k with warmer gels that we can just switch on when the time is right).

Yikes, sorry for the length. Any little tidbit of info would be appreciated. Thanks!

-chris
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 06:07 PM

Hi,

If you really want to do explicit squares of light, then the only real way would be to video project it. This could get expensive, considering you're on ISO200 stock and you'll need a lot of output from the projector.

I suspect the best way to do this would be to get some intelligent lighting, and program it to whip across the window. You'll need several units and they are not usually flicker free, but they're bright, usually daylight balanced, and will do moving light effects like this very nicely.

Phil
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 06:15 PM

There's always two different effects that you can do -- one involves a panned light so that the window pattern stays in the same place. A light bounced off of a spinning mirror would do a similar effect. Now when you see a train go by, if the light is spilling out from the train windows, then the row of windows creates, for a moment, the effect of a static light but flickering due to the passing window frames of the train.

The other effect is of a light sweeping past the window, causing the window pattern to travel across the walls. To do that, the light itself has to physically move, or you need a series of lights in a row in a chaser pattern. I've done it in the past by just having someone handhold a bright light and swing it in a wide arc outside of the window, then pan it into the ground to get back to the beginning, but that's tiring. You can get a couple of people holding lights to run past the window and then circle back around to start again, but you'd want to watch your cables to keep them from getting tangled.
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#4 fstop

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:11 PM

Rent Brief Encounter.

Zoetrope spinning around a focused, big source. Completely unbeatable/unequalled.
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#5 Shawn Murphy

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 09:32 PM

Check this thread too: "Train effect lighting-film noir effect, Lighting effect caused by passing train"

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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:30 PM

Hey Chris,

The veiwer will accept alot for a little. If the blinds are closed enough, then a cut-out wheel spinning in front of the light will do the job. When you lay in the SFX for the train, that will be the primary information for the veiwer. The light flicker will be the proximity verification.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:19 PM

A good example of the moving light effect causing the window patterns to slide across the walls, is in "Blood Simple" during a lovemaking scene in a hotel room near the beginning.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 05:22 PM

Hi,

The other thing you might conceivably try is arranging a whole load of lights in a semicircle and chase through them quickly. You'd get a pseudo-moving-source effect and I think the viewer would forgive the staccato nature of it as part of the whole flickery-train-passing phenomenon. Also probably best done using discharge lamps with fast shutters, as you don't want filament lag blowing the trick.

Phil
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:07 PM

Hi there. This is my first post so I hope it'll be fruitful.

I am a cinematographer on an undergraduate thesis film. We are working with 16mm Kodak Vision2 7217 200t film for the entire project. The director has requested that we push 2 stops to increase the contrast (with the exception of one scene).

So, my question... we have built a bedroom. We need to make it look as if a subway train is passing by the window (blinds are closed, or if possible, only slightly open).

Is the light reflected off the subway train essential to the scene, or is the goal just to create the sensation of proximity to the subway tracks? One of the most famous scenes in cinema was strongly enhanced not by the sight, but rather the sound of the subway. I'm referring to the restaurant murder scene from "The Godfather".

Another thing you might want to carefully consider is the intention of pushing 7217 2 stops. You may prefer the look of 7218 (or even 7279) pushed 1 stop. You should absolutely run a test before committing the entire project.
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#10 ChrisG111

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:24 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies! My director is pretty steadfast and has a strong visual sense. Before we even sat down to talk he decided he wanted to push two stops with 7217. He really wants contrast and we shot a test last weekend and it looked pretty dang good.

As far as the subway, I think a zoetrope seems like the best idea. The question is what to make it with and how. I was thinking of stripping a lamp shade and putting some thin cardboard around it with slits in it. I imagine that unless the interior of the cardboard is black, it should not melt. Ideally I would have metal, but that's not possible here.

Anyways, thanks for the great ideas!
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#11 James Mann

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 12:47 PM

Chris.

I agree with you that the zoetrope is a good idea. But I think that you will need something bigger than a lampshade (even a big lampshade). The further that you can get your cukoloris/gag/cutouts from the light the more pronounced that effect will be.
Cardboard is a good material. You may want to try Black and White matteboard. Think about building a type of lazy susan with a 24 or 36 inch diameter. And then attach your carboard walls to that.
Also think about gelling some (but not all) of the openings with one or varying degrees of cto or yellow or whatever looks good.
Good luck. Have fun.

James
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#12 WLphoto

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 11:51 AM

Chris.

I agree with you that the zoetrope is a good idea. But I think that you will need something bigger than a lampshade (even a big lampshade). The further that you can get your cukoloris/gag/cutouts from the light the more pronounced that effect will be.
Cardboard is a good material. You may want to try Black and White matteboard. Think about building a type of lazy susan with a 24 or 36 inch diameter. And then attach your carboard walls to that.
Also think about gelling some (but not all) of the openings with one or varying degrees of cto or yellow or whatever looks good.
Good luck. Have fun.

James



Maybe you could make the zoetrope on a large bicycle wheel? Cut holes in matte board or foil to make the window shapes. Lazy susan idea is good. Or add a platform to a record turntable? Balance might work better if wheel is suspended above and the matteboard walls hang down like a lampshade.


Another thought: If all you need is something flickering on the wall, (not distinct window shapes), maybe you could just aim a spot through a fan blade?
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 12:15 PM

Another trick is to hang a 1'x1' mirror on a string and spin it in front of a light.
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