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lighting protocol


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#1 peter kantor

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:52 PM

Would anyone please comment on how a light should be offered to a D.P.

For example, doesn't it make sense to turn on the light in full spot (because 1. the globe is furthest away from the lens which could crack in colder temperatures and 2. it is easier to aim while in spot)
However don't D.P.'s like to see their lights in full flood?

Also, do we want to switch on and off the light to check it's effect in a scene.. or is it better to leave the light on and pan the light off the scene?
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#2 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 10:11 PM

"Would anyone please comment on how a light should be offered to a D.P."

Qualifying the response by mentioning that my preference is to have the light turned on at full flood and focused (aimed) by either myself or the gaffer looking at the lamp with a contrast glass (no burnt retinas).

"Also, do we want to switch on and off the light to check it's effect in a scene.. or is it better to leave the light on and pan the light off the scene?

Again, my preference, when setting the fill light, which I do by eye, is to evaluate the level of fill by turning the light on and off. I may also do this when setting a light that is lighting some area in the background, for instance a dark wooden surface where I am looking for a "kick" or reflection of the light source. I can't think of an instance where I would do the old "on-off" on a key light (main source of illumination).
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#3 Wilkin Chau

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 10:12 PM

Would anyone please comment on how a light should be offered to a D.P.

For example, doesn't it make sense to turn on the light in full spot (because 1. the globe is furthest away from the lens which could crack in colder temperatures and 2. it is easier to aim while in spot)
However don't D.P.'s like to see their lights in full flood?

Also, do we want to switch on and off the light to check it's effect in a scene.. or is it better to leave the light on and pan the light off the scene?


From my experience, dp's like the light spotted first and without any diffusion in front of it. That way, the DP can have the light panned exactly where they want it. Then you start to flood it out to where it's needed. If a diffusion frame is needed is put on after the spotting and flooding is done. Otherwise, the DP doesn't know exactly where the light has been panned to. I've made that mistake before.

As far as the switching on or off or panning off, they both pretty much do the same thing. I usually turn it on and off unless I'm working with an HMI light.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 11:14 PM

In my experience it's mostly a practical matter of how the DP and gaffer work together. It's best when the gaffer has a good idea of the DP's objective with the light, so the DP can give a simple instruction and let the electric team take care of it. For example on a tight schedule and with a team that works well together, the DP may delegate an entire setup and step in only for minor adjustements once everything's built.

But each new DP-gaffer relationship has to start from scratch.
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#5 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:07 AM

When you are on the set where the light has to fall, you need to see the lamp and do like Paul Maibaum says. When you're on your own, by the lamp, it's easier to spot it as to see where it falls and then flood it as Wikin Chau says.
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#6 Chris Cooke

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:29 AM

From my experience, dp's like the light spotted first and without any diffusion in front of it. That way, the DP can have the light panned exactly where they want it. Then you start to flood it out to where it's needed. If a diffusion frame is needed is put on after the spotting and flooding is done. Otherwise, the DP doesn't know exactly where the light has been panned to. I've made that mistake before.


The problem with putting diffusion in front of the light after you focus it is that the angle of incidence changes (the light can and probably will change direction) once you put diffusion in front. Remember, the diffusion is now your light source, not the light.
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#7 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 01:05 PM

The problem with putting diffusion in front of the light after you focus it is that the angle of incidence changes (the light can and probably will change direction) once you put diffusion in front. Remember, the diffusion is now your light source, not the light.

Absolutely, and it is not just the potential for the problems mentioned above, but diffusion obviously changes the intensity and quality of the light so before it is turned on it needs to be dressed with whatever diffusion, as in "paper", i.e., opal, 250, 216, grid cloth, that is called for by the DoP or gaffer. After this is when I would start loading up scrims to cut down on the lumens, if necessary.
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS