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Help with a Lighting Mystery (???)


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#1 stevewitt

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 10:56 AM

I am going to shoot a B&W Noir Short (Mystery suspense type) on DV. I will be shooting with a Panasonic GS400 in color and then desaturate in post. What is a good resourse on "how to" info for this type of lighting technique? Right now I know very little about lighting. I have only read one book "Matters of Light and Depth" by Ross Lowell. I Need to know how to achieve the lighting ratios. Can any one recommend a book, video or just give advice on the basic "need to knows" about this particular lighting technique. Thanks in advance!!!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 11:08 AM

Try reading "Painting with Light" by John Alton.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 11:18 AM

Very good the Alton book though the examples in the book are not as good as his work in films.
Also Lighting for Televison and Motion Pictures by Millerson.
A viewing filter can come in handy as well.
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#4 stevewitt

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 11:24 AM

Try reading "Painting with Light" by John Alton.




I'm Glad you mentioned this book, I have already ordered it and it should be arriving by the end of this week. I ordered it based on the cover photo :D and the table of contents.

Very good the Alton book though the examples in the book are not as good as his work in films.
Also Lighting for Televison and Motion Pictures by Millerson.
A viewing filter can come in handy as well.




Thanks for the help Dan. What is a View Filter?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 12:18 PM

What is a View Filter?


It's a dark filter in a small disk that you look through to get a sense of how the shadows will drop off.

Since you are shooting in DV I'm not sure it's necessary since your monitor will show you the contrast of the image immediately.
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#6 stevewitt

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 08:49 PM

When Lighting like this....should I start with a completely dark room? (Like a blank canvas to a painter)?
What's the best place to start? Subject? Background? creating shadows? I appreciate the help. And just to let you know, I am working with shop lights, double headed 1000w halogens (500w each head), and I also have "two sets" of double headed 500w (250w each head) plus black wrap for control. The ceilings are 17' high.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 09:25 PM

When Lighting like this....should I start with a completely dark room? (Like a blank canvas to a painter)?
What's the best place to start? Subject? Background? creating shadows? I appreciate the help. And just to let you know, I am working with shop lights, double headed 1000w halogens (500w each head), and I also have "two sets" of double headed 500w (250w each head) plus black wrap for control. The ceilings are 17' high.


Well, that's your real challenge because a lot of these noir lighting techniques are based around fresnel lighting and the control those types of lights allow. Halogen worklights are rather crude instruments to project directly on people. You need at least one decent movie light to work with to really learn these tricks, like a 650w Tweenie or a 1K Baby Baby Fresnel. You can use the worklights for back & edge lights, bounced fill, etc.

You can certainly try and do this sort of lighting with worklights as a starting point, but they will be more fiddly and harder to adjust than a decent fresnel with barndoors and scrims.

You also need a few c-stands and flags, again, for more control.
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#8 Cole Webley

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 09:40 PM

Another good book (more technical than Painting with Lights) is Film Lighting by Malkiewicz and also (more an overall emphasis on cinematography) The Five C's of Cinematography by Mascelli.

AND practice--

Best of Luck
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#9 stevewitt

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 10:01 PM

Thanks again David. The two lights that you mentioned (650w tweenie, and 1k baby fresnel)Will these lights work off of straight residential electricity (120-140voltsAC)? Or do they require a ballast? I was considering renting some lights from a place near my residence but I read somewhere where a lot of this lighting equipment requires these ballasts and I think messing around with that stuff is too much out of my league. But if I can figure out what I'm talking about when I call to rent and the equipment runs off straight residential electric I will definitely consider it.


Thanks for the book recommendation Cole.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 12:37 AM

Tweenies and Baby Babys are tungsten lamps, no ballast needed (HMI's need ballasts), and use less than 20 amps. Basically you can plug up to 2K total in wattage in a typical 20 amp household circuit (note that multiple wall outlets may share the same circuit though.) A 1K would draw less than 10 amps.

You have to be aware of how much you are adding to each circuit.

Tweenie (650w) and Baby Baby (1K) are Mole Richardson brandnames for the 650w and 1K tungsten fresnel. Other companies like Arri also make 650w, 1K, 2K, etc. tungsten fresnels, just without the cute nicknames.

Start out simple and get ahold of one tungsten fresnel and play around with it, maybe a 650w fresnel, or even a 300w or 200w fresnel, whatever. Maybe the smaller ones would be better for now.
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#11 stevewitt

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:05 AM

I finally got my hands on some books. I now have the following titles.

Painting with Light by John Alton

Film Lighting by Kris Malkiewicz

Film Directing Shot by Shot by Steven D. Katz

I can say that I definitely love the Painting with Light already and I'll check out the other two as soon as I can. Thanks for all the help.
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rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Glidecam