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lighting for a cave?


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#1 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 11:30 AM

A friend of mine on the local cave resque squad wants to do a travel style, documentary type video on a cave in our area.

We want to stage interviews in the cave, shoot the features of the cave (rock flows and formations), and catch some of the cool cave things. At the end of the cave you have to swim, and is skinny. One spot is 12in tall, 10ft wide, and wet.

We will be shooting on DVX, and lipstick cameras for POVs.

We have our cave lights that go on our helmets but they are not very diffuse. We have an HID biking light that is nice color, but very spotlight.

The issues we are constrained by are as follows:

1. Money naturally. This is all funded by one person. Crew is working for food.
2. Power. No generators, no extention cords.. all battery power.
3. Water. Only at the end will the lights need to be waterproof. And even then, it's such a confined space, that 1 or 2 lights should work.
4. Size. When the non-waterproof lights are packed in their pelican case (or whatever) they have to be able to fit through the 12in narrow spot.

Any ideas?

=)

Thanks,
Bryan


Oh, it's possible to pack the cameras and lights out the way we come in, BUT, there are 5 rappells within the cave, so it would be a bit of a pain to do that. But it's possible.
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#2 Jon Kukla

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 02:15 PM

Sun guns? High powered flashlights (I've had to use these in dire straits before, and they *just* work).
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 05:26 PM

What about torches? (fire on a stick, for you britts, not a flashlight)
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#4 Chris Cooke

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 07:48 PM

Try taking in a flexfill to open up when you need it and bounce your HID into it for a slightly diffused key. A torch is a good idea too, maybe you could hang it behind the talent in the shot and use it as a backlight/kicker.
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#5 Brian Leid

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 02:59 PM

Try using a battery powered spotlight shot into a flex fill. You can usally find these at automotive and outdoor stores. Some go as high as 2 million candle power.
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#6 Eric Dinger

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 01:22 PM

I've seen battery powered spot lights that go as high as 20 million candlepower. If you have a costco nearby, they have them.

The beam would be ugly, but you could put it through a soft box, or bounce it.
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#7 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 01:59 PM

Thanks everyone for the help.

I looked at the sun guns. that its the most promicing at the moment, becuase of the color temp, compactness, and ability to run on a Brick (Anton Bauer brick that is) But they cost a lot. Maybe rental?

High power flashlights is what we have already. They are just not as diffuse as we need, so the flexfill is a nice idea. I think that's one we will try.

Torches (the fire kind) might incorrectly hint that thee cavers actually use them for caving when the cameras are not around...and they are going for a reality type feel. Plus, we have to breathe in there. I guess there is a breeze, but still. It would look romantic though.

The battery powered spot is a good idea too. The DP for this shoot just came off a feature length cave shoot, where they tried the rechargeable spots. he said they were ok, but only lasted an hour at best.

We do have 1 maxi-beam, but it doesn't last as long.. maybe a few of the spots.. but that might be a lot to carry.

Thanks for the suggestions.. I'll keep them all in mind!

Bryan
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 02:16 PM

I'd use sunguns, no need to buy everything you use, rental makes a lot of sense - you don't need to own everything. Back lighting reveals the texture of the rocks and the shape of the spaces. You could try using a mixture of daylight CT lights (A HMI sungun) for "background darkness" and tungsten foreground.

I've lit a cave system with HMIs, large cable runs etc., it's seriously hard work.
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