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need to make scenes look hot and humid on low-budget?


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#1 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 11:58 AM

We're making a short with interiors and exteriors set on "the hottest day of the year" but we're shooting
in New England in October. Does anybody have any suggestions -lighting, gels, lenses, filters, anything -
that could give us a hot waether look? We'rs shooting on Mini-DV...but as long as the I'm asking,
if you have any tips that work primarily for film that would be good to know for future reference!
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 02:02 PM

well first you gotta decide what about the look will say 'hot'. to me, like many, the light should be warm and very directional. This means shooting on a cloudless day (very unlikley in our part of the world in october, but may be possible for you) and warming the image up with either whitebalance or filters or both. You can get warm cards to trick the whitebalance, or you can put filters over the lens and use the preset (the later is most recomended, if you can afford the light loss)

if you can get access to a large light, you may be able to hint at directional sunlight, even on overcast days. This should be warmed up with gels (even though you have to pull a tungsten down to match daylight, you can use 1/2 CTb and get a result that is warmer than the ambient light, then trick the whitebalance to 1/4 CTO, so all lights get some amount of warming (color difference is key, since natural sunlight is always much warmer than ambient or overcast light) on a non-moving shot, you can also use negative fill on the non-sun side, to exagerate the difference between sun and ambient levels (I am guessing you don't have access to 20K with which to fake the sun)

That will give you a start. Then there are other little tricks like putting sterno burner under the lens (slightly forward of it of course) to give the heat wave effect. Good trick for master and establishing shots. You can also put the camera very close to the ground on a long lens, so you get the oasis effect (rivers of water that mask the ground, opticle illusion that conveys the sense of great heat). The ground does have to be slightly warm for that to work, so given your climate, it may or may not work in october. Blacktop is great for the oasis look.

Also keep in mind the problem that is presented by trees in fall. Bright oranges and reds don't say 'dog days of summer' its a small point, and maybe you can justify the colors in the look your creating (through color motif), but if you find patches of evergreens to shoot by, you can use those.

Hope that helps to give you a start.
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#3 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 03:16 PM

You can get warm cards to trick the whitebalance, or you can put filters over the lens and use the preset (the later is most recomended, if you can afford the light loss)


Why are filter's better than a tricked white balance?

Great suggestions.
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#4 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 06:20 PM

You should definitely take a look at Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing", which also occurs on 'the hottest day of the year.' Lots of warm light, and bright, vivid colours in the art direction. The Criterion Collection edition of the DVD has a commentary track with Lee, Ernest Dickerson ASC, and production designer Lynn Thomas. There are some interesting comments on it...some of the scenes they shot were actually rainy, but you would never be able to tell by watching the film.
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Wooden Camera

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Technodolly

Tai Audio

Opal

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products