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Simulating candle light


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#1 Mr. Macgregor

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 09:43 PM

Hi!
What is the best way (cost/efficient) to create a candle light effect lighting one character and some parts of a room?
I was thinking to use one of these chinese lamps with a 500w bulb inside attached to a long microphone boom pole in order to move it around. I think there was a pro-version of this home made light, made by some important brand but i cant find it (i thought it was kinoflo...).

Any other way to do the effect? thnks

Edited by Mr. Macgregor, 21 November 2006 - 09:44 PM.

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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 10:55 PM

What is the best way (cost/efficient) to create a candle light effect lighting one character and some parts of a room?
Any other way to do the effect? thnks

Putting a light on a flicker box is one of the standard ways of emulating candlelight. A hand operated dimmer will work for a DIY version of a flicker box. I'd also think about running whatever light you did use a bit lower in color temperature to warm the look.
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#3 Chris Cooke

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 12:40 AM

On "One Night with the King", Steven Bernstein, ASC used real torches. He had about 3000 made for the production. To help in the foreground, he had polished large reflectors made, from pounded thin sheet metal. He got his crew to cut a hole in the bottom, put a torch there, and it projected the light onto the faces of the actors. He put one on each side of camera, kind of like an obie light.
You could probably downscale this idea and come up with very realistic results. You'll have to use a fast stock like 5218/7218 or video and shoot wide open though.
I've created a fairly realistic look by spinning a clear water jug filled with water in front of a hard key light with CTO on it and then supplemented by real fire.
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#4 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 03:11 AM

the trick is to have the light coming from the candle itself.
if candles are in a table and you have talking heads hide a bulb behind the candles exemple : a bug bulb for the softness with another bulb inside for the light.
put them on a dimer and with low "tension" you'll have the redish 2800k° needed to simulate the candle.
another trick to avoid flicker box is to have, off the frame, more candles with a silver reflector
have fun
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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 05:40 AM

I was thinking to use one of these chinese lamps with a 500w bulb inside attached to a long microphone boom pole in order to move it around.


Phillippe Rousselot, ASC, AFC wrote an article about how to do this in "Reflections: 21 Cinematographers at Work." Here's a still frame. [attachment=1582:attachment]

I've done this myself with a 12' china ball and it looked pretty good. 500w is too much though, you'll burn the lantern. Make sure your fixture is rated for the wattage you're using as well - you can screw ceramic sockets into the plastic fixtures to keep them from melting. I'd start with a 75w PH211 enlarger bulb, then the 212 (150w) and the 213 (250w). I get the lanterns in Chinatown for a few bucks.

I use these:
http://cinemasupplie...inlansocas.html
http://cinemasupplie...lepomesoex.html

I like to run a dimmer between the fixture and the outlet so I can lower the color temperature and output. I wouldn't try to do a flicker effect with only one source though - it just looks fake.
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#6 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 10:42 AM

On "One Night with the King", Steven Bernstein, ASC used real torches. He had about 3000 made for the production. To help in the foreground, he had polished large reflectors made, from pounded thin sheet metal. He got his crew to cut a hole in the bottom, put a torch there, and it projected the light onto the faces of the actors. He put one on each side of camera, kind of like an obie light.
You could probably downscale this idea and come up with very realistic results. You'll have to use a fast stock like 5218/7218 or video and shoot wide open though.
I've created a fairly realistic look by spinning a clear water jug filled with water in front of a hard key light with CTO on it and then supplemented by real fire


What do you mean "supplemented by real fire"? I thoight that the point was to avoid that or do you mean
simply to remember to have a lighted candle in the shot to justify the "candlelight" that everybody is
working so hard to produce? Thanks.
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#7 Chris Cooke

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 06:48 PM

What do you mean "supplemented by real fire"? I thoight that the point was to avoid that or do you mean
simply to remember to have a lighted candle in the shot to justify the "candlelight" that everybody is
working so hard to produce? Thanks.



In the situation that I was talking about I used the fresnel with CTO and a water jug as my key light and used real fire as my fill (it was actually a wood fire that we built into an outdoor set). I put up another tungsten fresnel with CTB as a backlight/kicker.
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 02:53 AM

What is the best way (cost/efficient) to create a candle light effect


I'm going to give you the poorman's way of doing this.

You'll need a tungsten light (I've used a 300w Arri for this effect), a 1/2 CTS Straw Gel (a bit more yellow than a CTO, plus it matches the color temp of a candle's flame almost perfectly) and some diffusion over your light. Point it at your actor from the angle that seems best to create the illusion of the light coming from the candle, probably above your actor's eyeline (keeping in mind to not create a shadow from candlestick/lighter you'll be using). And since you want to create a flicker look, simply have your gaffer or grip gently shake the light to create just enough inconsistency to simulate the flicker of a candle.

Finally, meter it just 1 stop under key, and you'll get an awesome candlelit shot. I did it for a lighting class recently, and it was totally believable.

good luck!

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 27 November 2006 - 02:54 AM.

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#9 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 03:17 AM

There seems to be very elaborate methods beig suggested here, but I have always used a flicker box/flicker boxes to achieve this and it always looked really good. I found that multiple warm bulbs of slightly differing Color temps on slightly different flicker patterns from the same direction as the candle/fire looks the best (realest) in my opinion. Flicker boxes (depending on their degree of complication) can cost $20 a day to rent so I would reckomend getting one rather than doing some elaborate DIY job or trying to use real fire which can become a nightmare to control.
Cheers.

Edited by Tomas Koolhaas, 27 November 2006 - 03:19 AM.

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#10 Mr. Macgregor

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 05:08 AM

Thanks to all.
Finally the candles were replaced by fire and oil lamps. I used different light sources combined: small kinoflos to create a soft light on faces, and 1000w blondes with a dimmer to play with the room intensity. The gaffer helped here a lot.
I will post the results soon. Job was fine. :D

Note: also, i twicked the white balance on camera. Even when having all lights at 3200ºK, white balance on camera was set to 9,900ºK in order to get a veeeery warm effect.

Edited by Mr. Macgregor, 27 November 2006 - 05:10 AM.

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#11 G McMahon

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 11:40 AM

I watched pirates of the Caribbean, dead mans chest. A particular scene on a lower deck of a ship with Johnny Depp, the light looks as if it comes from the lantern. Is there something rigged in that lantern. Really sold me. Anyone know?
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