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Elevator


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#1 filmgirl

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 09:37 PM

Any tips on how to light in a real elevator? I'm shooting a short short beginning exercise in one on DV, and it's just a light dramatic scene with 2 people who won't be moving around a lot. Thanks.
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#2 Matt Irwin

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 01:56 AM

Any tips on how to light in a real elevator? I'm shooting a short short beginning exercise in one on DV, and it's just a light dramatic scene with 2 people who won't be moving around a lot. Thanks.


Have you thought about augmenting the existing lighting in the elevator?
Most elevators I've been in have overhead fluorescent light with hard plastic diffusion or plastic egg crate in front of them. If there's enough light in the elevator you use, you could cover the fixtures in gel diffusion to soften the tubes and supplement them with a bounce. It's very unlikely that the elevator will have any power outlets, so this is probably the simplest plan of action.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:22 AM

It seems we're having another upswing of new posters who aren't signing their posts with a real name...
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#4 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 02:35 AM

Pipe Clamp/Cardellini (depdending if it's an old elevator like the ones here in SF, or small pole cat -> Gobo head -> 2'2 Bank Kino.

Should be able to run a battery pack for the kinos, since they don't use much.
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#5 filmgirl

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:18 PM

It seems we're having another upswing of new posters who aren't signing their posts with a real name...


Oops, forgot about that rule.

Kelly
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#6 Chien Huey

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 10:18 PM

Hey Kelly,

How you decide to go about this depends on your budget and whether or not you can get the keys to lock off the elevator.

As mentioned previously, most elevators don't have outlets onboard. If you can get the keys to the elevator and have the doors kept open in manual mode, then you can just bring in whatever fixtures you have and light it as you would any other location. Of course, you'd wanna keep the lighting realistic.

But if you can't keep the doors open and I don't recommend blocking the doors open - automated elevators don't like that at all! Again (as stated before), if the elevator is lit bringly already then it's a matter of bouncing what's already there. If not, then you have to bring battery power onboard.

Dedo lights (100W or 150W) will run off battery blocks. Mind you battery blocks and the Dedos are kinda pricey rentals.
Litepanel lights. Again, kinda pricey and if the elevator's really dark to begin with you won't be able to light much more than a close up with these.
Cheapo-flos + computer UPS. I've lit a dark elevator with a couple of 15W 18" flourescent fixtures ($10 @ Target) and a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) used to run computers during blackouts. I take off the fixture's plastic diffuser and put some diffusion on there. Also, be careful of the cheapo-flos green tint. You can white balance it out if the elevator lighting are flourescents also but if not plus/minusgreen accordingly.

Hope this helps.


BTW, the preferred signage on this board is full name and city of residence. I just set up my signature and it's all taken care of.
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#7 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:37 PM

What's it suppossed to look like? Generally, if you can answer that question, the technical aspects will fall into place. From your question I'd say, you got a dv camera... Get a small bounce board that can put a glint in the actors' eyes, tape a little skirt of duvateen around the source, and turn up the gain on the camera. Also, if you can influence which elevator you shoot in, you can try to stack the deck in your favor.
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#8 Chien Huey

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:47 PM

... and turn up the gain on the camera.


Turn up the gain?? My preference is to keep the gain off. Especially if the exercise is to motivate the shooter to figure out a way to get the necessary light in the space. Also, gain introduces noise that outweighs being able to get exposure with less light.

I suppose if you can't manage any lights (battery or otherwise) then a bounce board and gain it is. I'd just use that as a last resort.

Edited by Fast Chieney, 01 February 2006 - 11:48 PM.

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#9 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 12:12 PM

I know, I sound like a hack, but I often get the feeling that people think that complexity equals quality. Young Kelly has got to shoot a scene, probably in a very short time, so my advice is that she not dig herself a hole w/ lighting. Lighting isn't her only concern. In fact, her chief concern is just getting the correct coverage, in focus, well composed, w/ no equipment in the shot. "Turning up the gain" is just today's equivalant of going to a faster film stock.

Of course, if a producer got on me to just turn up the gain, I might have a different opinion.
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#10 timHealy

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 12:52 PM

Assuming you have permission from the building owners to shoot in their elevator, you may have a 120v outlet that may be behind a service panel or even above the passenger compartment. Only a tech scout with the building will tell.

If you are working with the building manager, they could lock the elevator off so that the doors will open and close if needed but it won't leave the floor. It won't be fun trying to keep the elevator with the doors wanting to close and alarms going off.

If you don't have permission from the building try considering another location. It is not fun to lose a location in the middle of a shoot. Unless you can make due with existing lighting and shoot handheld, down and dirty then it may be worth a shot.

Best

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 02 February 2006 - 12:54 PM.

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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:57 PM

As has been mentioned, you need to lock the elevator off using keys. I shot in one last year and it wouldn't have been possible unless it had been immobilised. However, we also used the key so that the actors could close the doors on cue.

This was a small elevator and with nowhere to put a light. I was planning to use Dedo lights either side of the doors, but these weren't any available on the day of the shoot. In end, we just used a Kinoflo above the camera which was more or less facing straight into the elevator. Unfortunately the practical elevator lights weren't strong enough to make as much impact in the actor's hair has I'd have liked, but it worked.
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