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dark room with shift in light


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#1 william everett

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 04:34 PM

I am going to shoot a scene in a small, dark room, with a dark door that opens to the outside. The door is a conventional swinging door, swinging towards the camera. The room is a basement, so the door opens, there are a few gray steps going up, and then out to a "backyard." I want the actress to be afraid of what is behind the door, then relieved when she walks outside to a pleasant scene. I am using 16mm color film.

What kind of film or filters would I use to capture both the dark room and the light coming in when the door opens - so the film is not too dark at the beginning, or too light at the end?

Can i have the camera follow the actress outside in one shot, so it begins with the dark room, then the flooding light, then a progression to a green yard outdoors?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 05:09 PM

To do it all in one shot, you'll need an 85 filter for your lens to balance the daylight outside. Which then means for the interior, you will need to light your actor with daylight balanced lighting (an HMI or a tungsten light gelled with CTB)...depending on what your source light will be in the basement. If you plan on having a tungsten source or practicals in the basement, you'll probably want to cool them up a bit with a 1/4 to 1/2 CTB gel so they don't look too orange.

Exposure wise, depending on how smooth your lens is able to bracket, it could make for a very nice shot if your actor exits the basement, the camera follows her outside where everything is totally blown out (which is just how our eyes would react to daylight after being in a dark place for a while) and you can then adjust the iris to the correct exposure for the exterior.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 05:54 PM

Well, "dark" is easy -- just don't light the scene!

Honestly, it's just a question of balance and how much of an f-stop pull do you want to do.

You figure that at 50 ASA, a backyard in frontal hard sunlight is around an f/16, so perhaps you can shoot in backlight and open-up to an f/8. And if you stick to 50 ASA daylight as a base, that means you probably need to get an f/2.8 on your interior key light so that you can do a stop pull from f/2.8 to f/8 when you walk outside. But even f/2.8 at 50 ASA is quite a lot of light.

But it really depends on what you mean by "dark" -- spotty & shadowy or just dim & murky overall? You could shoot at f/2.8 inside but light to an even lower level and just be underexposed for effect.

If it is overcast outside, it gets easier to balance with the interior. Or at dusk or very late afternoon when the light levels start falling outside.
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