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apocalypto shot


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#1 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 09:02 AM

hi all,

are the big two flags in this picture mainly used for negative fill? Posted Image
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 12:33 PM

Maybe the one on the left. The higher one may be keeping the real sun from shafting over the top of the diffusion frame, which may put a veil of smoke over the face. Maybe they only wanted to see the shafts of light behind the actor's head.
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#3 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 12:34 PM

cheers, David
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#4 Ken Minehan

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 09:31 PM

hello guys, i was just wandering, to achieve the shaft of light like in the picture, (assuming that we are shooting on location) would you put a really big light back there or use natural sun light at the right time of day.

If they are using artificial lighting, then what light is it?
Must it be far and up very high?
or can you cheat and put a branch in front of the light smaller light (18k?) positioned behind the 20 x20 black cloth?

Thanks for your answers in Advance

Ken Minehan
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#5 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 09:53 PM

hello guys, i was just wandering, to achieve the shaft of light like in the picture, (assuming that we are shooting on location) would you put a really big light back there or use natural sun light at the right time of day.

If they are using artificial lighting, then what light is it?
Must it be far and up very high?
or can you cheat and put a branch in front of the light smaller light (18k?) positioned behind the 20 x20 black cloth?

Thanks for your answers in Advance



The most efficient way to create shafts of light is with a hard source and lots of smoke. If you think of a clock and the camera is at 6:00; the light needs to be anywhere between 10:00 to 2:00 for a well defined effect. It's hard to say from the photo in question whether that is from the sun or from a movie light. But lets say it's not the sun. It could be an 18K with a narrow lens anywhere from 30 to 50 feet off the ground. It could also be a 12K Mole Beam or a 7K Xenon. Any of these units would do the trick. And yes there would need to be some break up from a real tree or a cucoloris.


F
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 10:53 PM

In the woods with a lot of leaves to punch through, you might be better off with a multi-bank Dino with narrow spot globes, assuming 3200K light was OK for a warm sunlight effect. On the other hand, a Xenon or Molebeam projector would get you a more defined shaft, but with less spread.

Often those wide shots, though, involve catching the real sun at the right time and angle.
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:00 AM

It looks to me like they're using real sunlight in this shot though, unless they threw a giant silk over all the trees to achieve the blown out white spaces between the trees...but I highly doubt that.

Reflectors are also a great tool, mostly for location interiors where the sun is rarely shining in the direction you want it. Although usually hard to control, it's just nice to use free light sometimes :)
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#8 Ken Minehan

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:54 PM

ok, thank you guys for your comments.

I have another question. When shooting on location (not in a controlled environment like a studio) such as the above picture, how do you control the smoke. Wouldn't the smoke/fog, become very thin and disappear very fast? How can you make the shafts of light with the smoke so perfect and keep it that way to get the shot. I guess they choose a location that is best shielded by the wind. Is that right?
Thank you guys?

Ken Minehan
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 11:17 PM

Luck.

And a lot of smoke, hopefully starting upwind of the scene.
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#10 Ken Minehan

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 11:32 PM

haha, i see. Thank you david. Many films have achieved beautiful shafts of light in the forrest/jungle like in Thin Red Line. I have always wondered how it was done.

Thnkas again
Ken Minehan
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#11 Felipe Perez-Burchard

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 01:30 PM

In the case of this picture, the shafts of light are real, the smoke is artificial (the SFX department was continuosly providing it).

SPOILER WARNING:
The shot they are getting is one when that guy knocks out the hero of the pic after the village raid; he kneels towards camera an calls him "almost".

If you look close enough you'll see its a 14mm (no matte box) on a dutch tilt head.
Given that the shot has a lot of "hot sky" in the background, the illumination had to be controlled a bit.

Hope this is useful,

Happy holidays...
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#12 Christophe Collette

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 04:51 PM

Hey, stupid question but what is that burning thing on the ground? Fire? And what is the guy by the camera operator doing with what seems to be a flag, or a bounce, mirror?

Thanks,

C
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#13 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 06:07 PM

the guy next to the operator is trying to add some soft bounced sidelight, to enhance the lighting on the character...the fire is used to light the actor as well, as a motivate source, at that moment of the film the whole village is in flame
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#14 G McMahon

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:51 AM

Surely that fire bar, (is that what there called?) doesn't register any exposure. Is it there to catch reflections? Eye, sweat?

Also, about to research this through past forums, but working with haze (fog, smoke), are you limited to light where you want to see shafts. E.g. in the BG a performer sings on stage with their banal shaft of light, mid ground is crowd sitting at tables. FG actor toward camera. If you want to up the ambiance on the mid ground with lights, you are getting a haze which tells the location of your lights. If you front light the actor, especially with soft light, then you will get a wall of white haze. Do you use the diffusing aspects of the haze for your singer to allow spill on the crowd, and are overexposing the shaft? Do you contain the smoke away from the FG talent to give clean light to them? Only shot limited amounts of smoked shots, and these are the problems I would foresee if I was to do different things with haze.

Sorry to piggy back on another person?s forum.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 12:00 PM

Front light does not create a haze; the visibility of the smoke depends on the angle that the light is hitting it and how bright that light is. But when the light is frontal, very little of the smoke appears to camera.

Yes, smoke makes almost all the off-camera sources visible, so you have to take that into account when lighting. There's no trick around this -- you can't localize the smoke where you want it, not if you want an even haze, not a cloud of smoke. It has to spread and fill the room evenly.

Generally, you find when lighting with smoke that you have to think simpler, more boldly, and avoid a lot of little lights everywhere (unless you want that effect.) And you have to accept that as you move farther away from a subject, they will get hazier and hazier.

So if you are in a smoked room and want to see the singer on stage in the background, don't backlit or edgelight the foreground person because you will create a shaft of light that will put a haze over the background person.

It also helps to use flags to cut lights to just the area you want them to hit, to reduce overall spill that is lighting up the smoke.

In that "Apocalypto" frame, I'm sure the flames would be visible in the eyes of the actor, plus adding an orange glint off of his sweat.
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