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Lighting For A 360 Pan/Buying A Light Metre/The Look


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#1 Scott Cowe

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:02 AM

Hi all.

In a few months I am about to DOP my first short. The DOP I usually use is out of the country and I decided to take the opportunity to DOP it myself as it is something I have always wanted to do and I think the story will work with my inexperience. So I have two queries to ask the more experienced.

1) 360 degree pan.

The first shot of the film features a slow 360 handheld pan. Now obviously because it's a 360 pan I can't have light stands everywhere. So the only ways that I can think of is by hanging lights from a ceiling and reflecting from below. Or by having a light mounted on the camera and diffusing it to buggery so it doesn't look like a light it is on the camera. If anyone has any other ideas or maybe advice on how to use either of these options it would be appreciated.

2) Buying a light metre.

I will be shooting on HD and wanted to know suggestions for a light metre. I'm looking at the
Sekonic L-558 at the moment and would like to hear opinions as I know nothing about light metres.

3) The Look

The look I'm going for is voyeristic. Like someone watching the two main characters for the whole movie this is why I'm shooting the whole thing handheld (also its a lot cheaper) I'm looking for any suggestions as to how to light it. I want this to look as pro as possible. Like those 5 minutes could of been a part of a feature film. I want the lighting of the characters to have that grand look that you would get if you were to watch a Leone western if it was set inside the confines of a warehouse. I realise I probably won't get this as I'm a n00b but let's aim high shall we.

I'm really looking forward to shooting this myself. I know very little about cinematography at the moment and it scares the piss out of me. Which is part of the excitement of doing it. I've got a couple of months to experiment with HD cameras while I source a location and rehearse so there is no rush. Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers

SWC
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 04:38 PM

You really should use your full name in these forums, it's a site for professionals...besides, doesn't hurt to get your name out there.

But anyways...

1) If you have a studio space with a lighting grid attached to the cieling, that would probably be ideal. Attaching a light to the camera usually creates too flat an image for me. You may want to get an agile gaffer to put a Softbox or a Chimera pancake on a boom pole, hang it out over the camera and move along with your pan to light anything that's in the foreground. Just an idear.

2) The L-558's a pretty nice one, can't complain.

3) When I think of a Leone western, I always thing of those grand daytime exteriors with some sharp contrast. The same happens with his interiors, only they're usually very low key. Since you're in a wherehouse, and you wanna get something similar within that setting, you'll need some really broad key lights (2k up to 10k fresnel or open face) gelled with 1/2 CTO's and minimal fill, keeping in mind where your source light is coming from, of course. I can't offer much more advice than that, since I really don't know much about your set design or anything.

I'd like to hear more about it though. Wherehouses are always so much fun to work with.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:26 PM

Please change your user name to your first & last name and then we can discuss...
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#4 Scott Cowe

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 06:14 PM

Sorry fellas.

I put it on there quickly when I signed up and forgot to change it when I realised everyone has there full names.

Jonathan thanks for the ideas and advice. I don't really know about the set yet either as we are going to source it after the holiday season. It'll be all on location as studio space is not something readily available where I live.

I'm so new to this world its giving me a lot to look into.

Cheers

Scott
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 07:07 PM

Lighting a 360 degree handheld shot and making it look good is something most professionals would struggle with, let alone a beginner. It's not easy.

The key is to make as much of the shot lit by sources in the frame, like windows, table lamps, overhead practicals, etc. Then if necessary, you can cheat a little light in the foreground, maybe by bouncing some light off of something, or a Chinese Lantern, or just some white cards floated around to pick up the natural ambience.

It's harder to cheat lighting in the background, hence why using practical and available light as much as possible will make your life easier. Put brighter bulbs in lamps if necessary. If you do find some hidden areas to hide lights, you can sometimes put a fluorescent tube (like a Kino) in there, or hide a bounced light.
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