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Lighting for Fire


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#1 shopper

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:20 AM

Alrite,

Hoping that you can help me with a little problem I have with regards to lighting a scene in a short film.

The script asks for a shot of two characters having a conversation seconds after they have supposedly escaped from a building which is ready to explode. The building, as in all action films, blows up just as they escape.

The building does not feature in this shot but it is my job to light the shot in a way that suggests the presence of a burning building. There is no fire or indeed a building at this location.

Can anybody help?

I have access to a set of three red-head lights and about six dedos, a number of coloured gels, filters and reflectors.

The only answer I can come up with is to bounce lights with red/orange/yellow gels off reflectors towards the characters on screen. Using the ability of wavering the reflectors to fake the movement of flame. I am scared however that this will appear more like candle light than a roaring fire.

I have read about 'flickerboxes' etc but do not have access to them.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks for your time

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#2 John Hall

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 10:37 AM

Flicker boxes are great, but nothing beats just twirling your hands in front of the light.

I'd use two or more of the redheads, experiment with combinations of CTO and yellow until you find something that's suitably 'fiery'. Try using different combinations on each light.

Then have a couple of grips (or anyone you have available) twist and rotate both hands a foot infront of the light. You will probably find that this produces an effect as good, perhaps better (definitely more tiring) than a flicker box.

This will also get the most out of your lights as you don't have to bounce them off anything.

Edited by John Hall, 15 February 2006 - 10:40 AM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 11:09 AM

Yes, waving things randomly between a light and a diffusion frame / bounce will create a realistic flicker.

Now if you wanted to suggest the explosion itself, you'd need more light to come on suddenly, very bright, before dimming down to the flickering fire effect level.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 11:11 AM

Hi,

You could always filter the camera or time toward orange to save lighting effort, particularly if the fire is the only or prominent source of light.

Phil
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 11:43 AM

One important question is this a night scene or a day scene?
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#6 Mike Hall

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 11:49 AM

The finger thing is a pretty good gag.

If you have a 4x4 frame, you may think about getting one of those cheap "space blankets" or thin mylar folded up emergency blankets and fixing it loosely onto the 4x4 frame as a bounce. They are usually about four bucks, way cheaper than industry mylar.

If you put two of the redheads with different densities of CTO's or red gel (you can also split the gel on the light to effectively give you four colors) and put the redheads off angle to each other at different heights bouncing into the mylar. Then have someone waft the mylar bouncing the light onto the subjects, and it usually has a pretty good fire look. The effect light has different colors, and since the lights are at different agles they hit your subject at different angles, like real fire-light tends to do.

Probably want to experiment with both ways before you get there. I think you'll find that when you're moving the firegag, "less is best"... so you sell the effect without it becoming distracting.

Anyway, another idea.
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#7 John Hall

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 03:41 PM

^^^ No Relation, but good advice :D
I've used a similar techqnique with silver party streamers, but only in a studio.
The wind conditions can make the effect way to pronounced though.
And as Mike Whatshisname said, 'Less is More' with this sort of thing
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#8 Bob Hayes

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Posted 17 February 2006 - 05:32 PM

I often use a 4 x 4 with Rosco soft reflector material. Hold the 4x4s in your hand and shake it like fire. Be the fire.
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