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Metering a Lasershow


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#1 Dominik Muench

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 02:59 AM

Hi guys,

i was at the cinema yesterday (hostel - what a waste of time) and before the feature they played a laser show, that made me wonder, how would you meter such a situation, a lasershow in a pitch black room ? also, is there a chance of getting flares ? the laserbeams are usually veeery directional, but will they still make the lesn flare when they hit it ?
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#2 fstop

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 06:38 PM

Hi guys,

i was at the cinema yesterday (hostel - what a waste of time) and before the feature they played a laser show, that made me wonder, how would you meter such a situation, a lasershow in a pitch black room ? also, is there a chance of getting flares ? the laserbeams are usually veeery directional, but will they still make the lesn flare when they hit it ?


Each beam spot metered seperately and with lots of smoke (I seem to remember Douglas Trumbull or someone similar stating this). In the AC that covers the VFX filming of Lifeforce, John Dykstra comments:

"... I figured lasers were a unique kind of imagery that can be recorded on film because of the narrow bandwidth of colour and the ability to stay in focus over an infinite range"

I Seem to recall that the Cinefex that covered Lifeforce went into more detail.

The title sequence of OCTOPUSSY was made using a bunch of smoked laser display shots (actually visual effects outtakes from the movie THE FINAL COUNTDOWN), and I seem to remember some unintentional strobe in there when a projected Octopus moves across the screen. Alot of it was fired straight at the camera too, and no anamorphic lens flares appeared. Same with Alien and the spherically shot Aliens, which was more or less wide open for the scene that required the laser beam.
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#3 Dominik Muench

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 07:07 PM

Each beam spot metered seperately and with lots of smoke (I seem to remember Douglas Trumbull or someone similar stating this). In the AC that covers the VFX filming of Lifeforce, John Dykstra comments:

"... I figured lasers were a unique kind of imagery that can be recorded on film because of the narrow bandwidth of colour and the ability to stay in focus over an infinite range"

I Seem to recall that the Cinefex that covered Lifeforce went into more detail.

The title sequence of OCTOPUSSY was made using a bunch of smoked laser display shots (actually visual effects outtakes from the movie THE FINAL COUNTDOWN), and I seem to remember some unintentional strobe in there when a projected Octopus moves across the screen. Alot of it was fired straight at the camera too, and no anamorphic lens flares appeared. Same with Alien and the spherically shot Aliens, which was more or less wide open for the scene that required the laser beam.



each beam ??? holy moly thats a lot to measure :)
thanks for the info.
u mean the scene in alien where they use the laser to scan the spaceship ?
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#4 fstop

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 07:35 PM

Yeah, all that stuff at the beginning of the movie scanning the pods (and the egg room interior from the first movie).

As for metering each beam, from what I understand to make an average, putting exposure priority on the beam you prefer. Remember, this advice was more the focus for photographing lasers for visual effects as oppose to live at an event.

There was a really interesting music video for the Rozalla dance classic EVERYBODY'S FREE (1991) that was more or less her against a smoked laser show- It looked like they had lit her for exposure at the front (somewhere wide aperture on S16mm) and just let the lasers do there thing- it was filmed at a more upmarket early 1990s rave, so the focus was more on the crowd and her, but it looked fanastic.

Another great one (for which you could probably grab an answer as he shows his face now and again on the internet) was the nightclub scene from INNERSPACE, shot by Andrew Lazlo. This was a big crane shot using what looks like the same laser strobe used on ALIENS, but the camera moves down and into a crowd away from the laser all in one take. There's smoke EVERYWHERE and it is notable, but again, priority seemed to be more on the actors than worrying about the technical concerns. Again, looks brilliant.

There's also this beauty from The Who in 1978 (won't get fooled again)- once more tons of smoke and casual exposure for the performers- no technical tricks (although it's noticably shot on tungsten balanced/85 filitered stock).

http://www.youtube.c.....20who daltrey

Look familiar? Well, this was the same laser used in Alien, (and even sadder that I know this but it was owned by the late and later production designer Anton Furst who had a company called Holoco at the time).

It seems that technical gimmicks aren't required, just SMOKE!
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#5 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 09:02 PM

I sat through half of that music video wondering just what you were talking about. But wow, given the time that was shot, it was pretty good. I wonder if they had that camera on the sidelines cranked up just for that slowmo shot when the lights come up after the lasers.

I think I am going to add a new tradition to my filmmaking. Everytime we wrap on a movie, I am going to take the camera and smash it until it breaks. Sort of like symbology right? (sorry, I have been watching boondock saints back to back with bush's speaches.) eh, hopefully I remember to take the mag off before I do it.
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#6 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 11:03 PM

I think I am going to add a new tradition to my filmmaking. Everytime we wrap on a movie, I am going to take the camera and smash it until it breaks.



Your AC will love you for this...
;)
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#7 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 03:01 AM

I think I am going to add a new tradition to my filmmaking. Everytime we wrap on a movie, I am going to take the camera and smash it until it breaks.



I did that once with an old VHS-C camcorder. That thing really took a beating before it finally shattered.
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 11:45 PM

I did that once with an old VHS-C camcorder. That thing really took a beating before it finally shattered.



Yeah, for some reason cameras break the first time you give it the tiniest accidental bump, but become very tough when you try to break them. A thesis film here at RIT last year did a shot where an old camera was held on a broomstick and beaten with a baseball bat while looking at the attacker. The take ended up being 2 minutes long rather than the 3 or 4 good whacks they expected.
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