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inexpensive way to get t.v. "flicker" on faces


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 05:13 PM

I just had shoot that was extremely low budget and I was by myself. I wanted the faces of the
people who were supposed to be watching t.v. to have colors moving over them as if they were
watching quite a pyschedilc movie but you could adjust this technique easily. I cut three holes
in a piece of construction paper, taped pieces of three different gels to them and, because I was
by myself, suspended this device with twine from the ceiling, tied it to a chair on one side and
made a tether of twine on the other side which I could pull back and forth or sway and see and
adjust the effect while operating and wearing headphones to monitor audio.82140012.JPG



Yes, that is supposed to be a greenscreen but an actor did it since there was no crew. He redid
it later and neatened it up a bit and hid the tape.
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#2 Chris Galipo

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 02:10 AM

Just as a low-budget, quick solution is to use either a LCD monitor close to the actor's face (of course the should would need to be tight) and put some thing on such as an itunes visualizer. LCD screens are usually pretty bright and you can achieve a nice affect with a rim.
Or, if you want more flicker use a regular analog tv, don't change your shutter angle, put on a colorful dvd and have a PA fast foward the dvd.
I achieved this effect simply by focusing on the reflection of a TV in the actor's eye.

Very Guy DeBord
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#3 Evan Pierre

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 03:06 AM

Both sound like good ways to do this effect, ill have to give it a try sometime.

I like your idea very much chris but it might be a bit difficult with no crew :lol:
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 04:01 AM

Sounds like a technique that's really more common perhaps than people might think, Tim. I see a lot of "watching TV" shots where all it is, is the actor being lit by a very diffused light, underexposed a bit and obviously what looks to be blue, red and any other color gel being shifted in front of the light.

A good example of it is of Morgan Freeman in "Se7en" when he's alone at home on his couch. It just always comes to mind when I'm trying to recreate that effect.

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 15 February 2007 - 04:02 AM.

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#5 Ken Minehan

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 09:30 PM

Hi Jonathan, i cant quite remember that scene in seven. Can you help explain it?
So far what i've ofetn done for TV flicker is like what you said with the diffused blue light. I generally attach it to a dimmer. I haven't tried using different coloured gels.

Tim, you set up looks pretty interesting. Hope it turns out well.

Cheers
Ken Minehan
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:22 PM

I have always just projected a video image onto some diffusion. Sometimes I use actual video that I pixelate down to 4, 9 or 16 pixels, sometimes I just animate a few blocks of various colors and move them around a bit, then take it into an NLE and cut it up and mix it up so you get those natural 'Cuts' This seems to work for me because you get the light output you need (usually) and if the diffusion is big enough it makes the shadows move as they would do in real life. Downside is it takes some pre-production work to prep, and projector needs to be on hand. Upside it looks startling realistic and is very customizable.
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#7 Ken Minehan

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:30 PM

It sounds like a great idea. How much light does the projector give out. once diffused does the light spread out enough or is the beam still quite narrow?

Ken Minehan
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#8 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 08:18 PM

You guys have a lot of good ideas. This site is so great.

I wanted to share this because I thought that it worked fairly well at a cost of about a dollar (?)
for twine, paper, pieces of gel and because it's kind of funny that I'm doing audio, camera and "effects"
in the shadow, so to speak, of the movie that changed the effects business. That poster was actually
on the location and when I shot toward that wall I framed it out.

I'm going to have to watch "Se7en" again. What an amazing movie. I'll look for that scene. So,
Jonathan, when you say obviously gels you mean that you can tell because you're a D.P. but that
it does work, is that right?

Thanks for the enouragement. It's going pretty well.
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#9 timHealy

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:30 PM

depending on how big or small your shot is, you could try a larger household bulb or perhaps a 211, 212, 213, for a base exposure and use another bulb on a variac or hand squeezer for a little bit of flicker. That's the way I would do it on the cheap.

with some money I would get a Flicker Box. I believe it is made by the Great American Market or Magic Gadget. There is one that can power up three lights (up to a 2k) and you can set a high and low intensity, and rate of flicker.

Tim
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#10 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:49 PM

depending on how big or small your shot is, you could try a larger household bulb or perhaps a 211, 212, 213, for a base exposure and use another bulb on a variac or hand squeezer for a little bit of flicker. That's the way I would do it on the cheap.

with some money I would get a Flicker Box. I believe it is made by the Great American Market or Magic Gadget. There is one that can power up three lights (up to a 2k) and you can set a high and low intensity, and rate of flicker.

Tim


I'd love to get a Flicker box but any money is going to further outfitting my camera package
and there's a decent number of items on that list. The bulbs are a good suggestion but for the
2.8 that I wanted, with the faces just under 70 IREs, that Omni worked well (although now that
I think of it, it did have a scrim in it so a lower wattage bulb would have likely worked too!)

Thanks.
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#11 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:48 AM

Hi Jonathan, i cant quite remember that scene in seven. Can you help explain it?
So far what i've ofetn done for TV flicker is like what you said with the diffused blue light. I generally attach it to a dimmer. I haven't tried using different coloured gels.


Can't quite remember where in the movie it is exactly, I just remember Morgan Freeman alone at his apartment, in the dark, watching TV. I'm pretty sure it's in the second half of the film.

It looks to me that the color changes from a blue, to a red, probably to an ND gel, then back through the sequence again and again. The light illuminates his face and the wall behind him, and really sells that images are changing from moment to moment on the TV.

And Tim, I have done it for some of my own films myself, and yes it does work. I think hooking the light up to a flicker box works well if your trying to get a menacing effect like the Twilight Zone or something. But really, how often do we see a TV flickering in our homes?

Also, have a look at Stone's "World Trade Center" when every home in the neighborhood is watching the same news channel. We can see this from outside through the neighbors windows just by the color change in the lights.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 06:22 AM

Hi,

You could just get an assistant to wave a hand around in front of a light, probably projected onto the back of a 4x4 of 216 or something. Or bounce it.

Phil
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#13 Werner Klipsch

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 07:27 AM

You can buy special light emitting diodes that have internal red green and blue light emitters and also a microchip which cycles and switches them through the range of colours, giving a mini lightshow. This might be bright enough for what you want.
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#14 timHealy

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 08:23 AM

But really, how often do we see a TV flickering in our homes?

Also, have a look at Stone's "World Trade Center" when every home in the neighborhood is watching the same news channel. We can see this from outside through the neighbors windows just by the color change in the lights.


I think you ansewered your own question in the sense that it depends what one is looking at. If you are watching a TV one hardly notices the flicker. But when watching the light from the TV you notice it more. However I think the term "flicker" may not be the best term to use. The rate of flicker will be great if one is watching an action movie. If one is whating a drama or love story say, the light simply "dances" around a little bit.

As far as the flicker box I was mentioning, it does have the ability to change the rate of flicker as well as setting the high and low intensities. So you can set the rage to go from as little as 60 percent to 70, or all the way from zero to 100. Now I forget which device has it but also one of them has 4 little mini toggle switches where you can set a whole sort of flicker rates. It is a nice device to have in your bag.

My low budget idea will work as well as Phil's suggestion. There are a whole lot of things you can do. One thing I am planning on getting is LC edit and a Lanbox. The software is free but the Lanbox costs about 700 US dollars. It is a great device for low budget ... or any production for that matter ( I Am Legend was using many of them on their huge Brooklyn Bridge night exterior)... You can use it to program any DMX light, moving light, led and it retains its memory so that the action will be maintained. Or you can use it to control any DMX dimmer rack for larger lights or lager set ups.

anyone it was just a thought and here's the link

http://www.lanbox.com/

best

Tim

Edited by timHealy, 17 February 2007 - 08:25 AM.

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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 11:06 AM

What you are seeing is the brightness changes as the image on the TV changes and cuts to new images.

One method that works well is to simply wave you hands and arms randomly in front of a soft light -- the movement of the arms causes the light to shift from side to side as if there is movement on the screen, occasionally you can simulate a fast cut, a subtle flicker with just your hands and fingers, etc.
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#16 george chiper

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:04 PM

You can use a kino 4 bank with diferent tubes (tungsten and daylight), and ad some gells on two of the tubes, then you can turn them on randomly, to get the the color change, and you can also can increase the light by switching on 3 or 4 tubes, or decrase it by turning them off.
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#17 John Holland

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:16 PM

i did it with a red head with 216 and half ctb over lamp , i was operating and used my hands ,fingers just waving in front of light , looked great .
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#18 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 08:18 AM

i did it with a red head with 216 and half ctb over lamp , i was operating and used my hands ,fingers just waving in front of light , looked great .


i used exactly the same thing on a video yesterday. The redhead was on a dimmer and i made a small frame with different color gels to move in front of it.

Edited by Alex Wuijts, 19 February 2007 - 08:18 AM.

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#19 Walter Graff

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 06:42 PM

For $34 my little flicker boxes are popular. Make a great fire too, and a theater projector effect on the cheap.

http://www.bluesky-web.com/gone.mov
http://www.bluesky-web.com/fire.mov
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