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Lighting interior locations with halogen work lamps


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#1 Cillian Daly

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 03:30 AM

Hi all.

I'm shooting a short next month in three different victorian houses. The houses belong to my neighbours, but i'm also using my parents house aswell. That I can light anyway i want, but i'm worried about the neighbours houses; I don't want to take over their homes completely and am a little hesitant to put blondes and redheads up all over their front rooms etc.

Does anybody have any suggestions for shooting with no/reduced lighting, such as the practicals on location, reflectors and maybe some gelled halogen work lamps? Everything may be ok after i explain the set up to the neighbours, but i'm trying to cover the "worst case scenario" syndrome.

I'm hoping to get a look similar to that "Tetra Pak" ad from a few years ago, called "Trees", there's lots of tracking shots and some very specific lighting.

Shooting HDV with one Sony Z1.

Thanks in advance for any help any of you can give.

Cillian
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#2 Michael Morlan

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 11:18 AM

Cillian,

A cine set can disturb any homeowner who isn't properly prepared beforehand. You should, first, manage expectations by telling them exactly what to expect (people, tools, disturbance/changes to their space, etc.) If they are still game then everyone could have a very pleasent shoot. If they seem reluctant, you are only asking for trouble anyway. One of the things I do once we're underway is invite the homeowner to sit at the monitor. You would be surprised how enthusiastic they become when they discover how you have altered their space to serve the film. Handing them a production insurance document helps a lot too.

I think a "civilian" might be quite enthused to see a real cine light in their house. A worklight might be kind of dissapointing. :) The more professional you look, the more they will trust you.

At around equivalent 125ASA, the Z1U needs a bit of light so most practicals would have to have higher-wattage bulbs. If the practicals appear in frame, they should be given sufficient wattage to appear nice for camera and supported by an instrument from outside the frame. I often use midgets and tweenies to support a typical table-top lamp with shade.

If you can't have anything on the floor for tracking shots, then you're talking wall spreaders, door-top clamps of various sorts, and hidden cabling. That would frighten most homeowners so be sure to advise them of your setup and how you will keep their walls and doors safe from damage. The "worst case" can be avoided by educating and informing everyone. Then they feel empowered and excited to support you and your team.

Have fun,
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 11:21 AM

You can also consider Chinese Lanterns to augment the practicals. Homeowners probably would get less freaked-out seeing those lights.
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#4 Cillian Daly

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 04:23 AM

Michael and David, thank you both for your comments. Having spoken with the neighbours properly, they don't seem to have a problem with (clean!) lights and cables taking up much of their homes, so lighting kits are now on the cards. What do you recommend? I can buy my own small kit in or around the ?700 ($850aprx) mark, if any exist, or i can rent some. I was thinking of getting two Arri juniors either 300 or 150 watts. Any suggestions?

Thanks again guys.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 12:25 PM

Not sure what sort of day and night scenes you have to do, but a basic location lighting kit (for a tiny crew) may include one small HMI (like a 1200w), a tungsten kit containing three or four lights (often in the 650w-to-1K range), and maybe some Kinoflos (maybe two 4' 4-bank Kinos with daylight & tungsten tubes). That would cover a mix of day and night interior scenes. I'm talking about rentals here, I'm not expecting you to buy all of that stuff.

And of course, some grip items like C-stands, sandbags, bounce cards, flags, etc.
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