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Need advice on lighting and sound


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#1 Chris Durham

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 11:34 AM

I'm in pre-production now of my first short. Script writing and rewrites are done, I'm in the middle of storyboarding, I've got 3 of 4 characters cast. I've still got to do some hunting for locations, but I've got most in mind. I plan for production the first weekend in September, after rehearsals and whatnot. I actually turned up a friend who will act as camera op and has a low-end pro betacam (Okay, pro a few years back, but still). I'm going to shoot on that and on my own MiniDV camcorder 1) so I'll get some camera time and learning, 2) to increase my coverage, and 3) just in case the MiniDV looks better. Things are coming together on my first project and I'm really excited about it. I know as a fledgling filmmaker this will probably be a throw away, but I'm doing every thing I can to be as professional and do everything as right as I can.

So my questions.

What can I do in the way of lighting on the cheap? There are 6 locations/conditions that I'll need to light:
  • Apartment Exterior - Day
  • Apartment Interior - Day
  • Apartment Interior - Night
  • Bar Interior - Night
  • City Street Exterior - Night
  • Apartment Exterior - Night
Also, as regards sound, I'd like a better way of recording than using the mics on the cameras. I've got access to Shure sm57 condenser mics, and I was thinking about using my buddy's Mac Powerbook to record from one of those into Logic. Unfortunately the only Editing software I'll have available will be iMovie and I don't know how it will be synching it up. I also don't know if a vocal mic on a boom will work, or if you need something better (the mic being a bit far away from their mouths, particularly during the bar scene.

I appreciate any advice anybody can give, or even resources like books I can get for this. Thanks in advance guys.
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#2 Dan Horstman

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 11:59 AM

Work lamps are ok. They tend to be kinda orange.

Florescent tubes are ok. Sometimes you'll get a flicker from them. You can get different color temp tubes. The standard ones tend to be pretty green.

I would suggest Chinese Lanterns with photoflood bulbs (or reveal bulbs in a pinch) They give a nice soft light.
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#3 Chris Watson

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 02:50 PM

I regard to lighting. There are floursecent screw-in lights, that you might used to replace a bulp in a common house lamp. I have been using a 150w (equivalant) flouresent. light inside of an Ikea China Ball, then hanging them off a t-bar lightstand. The results haven't been too bad, I generally find that you need to get the light within about 6 ft of your subject. Nowadays some flourescent lights have a C.R.I. rating which means a Color Rendition Index, apparently the higher the number the better the color. I have read that above a CRI of 90 is okay for decent colors. But I haven't tested it for myself yet.

I guess the trick is to NOT mix types of light (eg, tungsten, Filament and flourescents), but I have found that if I light my scenes in zones, that the results are okay (for my at least). When I say "zones" I mean that I light foreground and background objects, with diferent light than my Subject Objects. It seems to give more dimesion to my scenes.

I hope this helps a little, I am a total Jimmy Rigger type of guy who likes to make the best of what is on hand. though I must say that I am saving for a decent light kit, because they are easier to set up for me.

Chris Watson
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#4 kentemporary

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 10:53 PM

i prefer the "bruckheimer-like" look so i usually increase contrast on postedit. for lights, i use those screw in fluorescent bulbs that have an almost amber-like hue to it, and put them in hoods and stuff. for going really cheap on lights, not a bad result actually. you just have to setup lots of it - probably a minimum of 4-6 per shot or something like that... but it always varies...
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The Slider

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Willys Widgets

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS