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Cheaply Simulated Lightning


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#1 samm Parnell

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 11:02 AM

Hi all,

Im new to these forums and new to this career. I have shot a few shorts on 16mm and other simply projects such as commercials and interviews but a short we have coming up calls for a sfx that I do not know how to make properly.

There will be a scene in an apartment location that calls for the cutting of all lights to simulate a power outage, and then a few lightning strikes to accompany the rainstorm sounds the editor will add in post.

I have checked around for methods but i have found only machines or lighing rigs specially desinged for this use, needless to say this production cannot afford any special equpiment, it has been a struggle to secure the rental of a doorway dolly.

So if anyone knows of a cheap, quick and dirty method for simulating lightning then id really aprpeciate hearing about it. The scene calls for the lead actor to enter an apartment room, rain drenched, and he will stand in the doorway for a min. the loation we will be using is a 8by8 hotel room with off white walls. The largest head we have is 1k so far, of those we have 3, they are fairly punchy. We also have several other fixtures rangeing from 500w to 75w kickers.

We are willing and able to custom build any rig that doesnt require serious machining, we'd just like to be sure we get this to look right.

thanks for any help.

samm parnell

Edited by samm77, 16 March 2006 - 11:06 AM.

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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 12:29 PM

I would gel a 1k with 1/2 ctb and place it and a 4x4 beadboard outside the window of the location. Just flash the lamp a few times in an irregular pattern, bouncing the light from the lamp off the beadboard into the room. If you prefer a harder look, use the lamp directly. With the right Sound fx, you'll sell the illusion quite convincingly.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 01:25 PM

I would gel a 1k with 1/2 ctb and place it and a 4x4 beadboard outside the window of the location. Just flash the lamp a few times in an irregular pattern, bouncing the light from the lamp off the beadboard into the room. If you prefer a harder look, use the lamp directly. With the right Sound fx, you'll sell the illusion quite convincingly.



I;d use a bigger fixture like a 2k with CTB or a 1200 HMI and use a mirror to flash over the window. This will make faster flashes than turning on and off a tungsten fixture that needs time to heat up.
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 02:10 PM

I;d use a bigger fixture like a 2k with CTB or a 1200 HMI and use a mirror to flash over the window. This will make faster flashes than turning on and off a tungsten fixture that needs time to heat up.


I think the biggest lamps they have are 1kw. Small filament tungsten lamps don't need much time to heat up. You don't want the flash too quick anyway, or it starts to look like a strobe.
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#5 samm Parnell

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 02:14 PM

thats awsome guys thanks so much,

The mirror deal sounds good because the 1k is as large as we are going to be able to get for this shoot so maybe we'd get a harder light from that reflection?

so it seems like you both advise the same thing though eh, keep the light covered and then open it for an instant to simulate the lighting strike?

id better run a few tests now that ive had this advice, another thing though, will it be better to shoot this with the plan to speed it up slightly in post? if so what advice do you guys have for that. we are shooting on 24p with the dvx.

again, thanks alot for the advice, this helps alot.

samm
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#6 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:52 PM

To simulate lightning, we would put a big light (like an arc or 12k HMI) outside a window with metal shutters on the front of it, and then open and close the shutters quickly. Shutter noise should not be an issue because of the storm sounds you will add in post.

So, a suggestion for a low-budget way to do this would be to get together the most powerful light you have and put it in front of an inexpensive shutter from Home Depot (would have to fit the shutter right up to the light and/or mask so no light leaks between light and shutter). Painting the shutter black would be recommended. Return the shutter after you are through with it)

Pastafazoola!
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#7 Kirk Productions

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:59 AM

I also found that if you use a seperate digital camera flash and fire it off indirectly at windows, it looks quite well.

Eric

To simulate lightning, we would put a big light (like an arc or 12k HMI) outside a window with metal shutters on the front of it, and then open and close the shutters quickly. Shutter noise should not be an issue because of the storm sounds you will add in post.

So, a suggestion for a low-budget way to do this would be to get together the most powerful light you have and put it in front of an inexpensive shutter from Home Depot (would have to fit the shutter right up to the light and/or mask so no light leaks between light and shutter). Painting the shutter black would be recommended. Return the shutter after you are through with it)

Pastafazoola!


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