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cheap lighting for commerical


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#1 Lee Young

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 09:05 PM

I'm shooting a commerical for a restaraunt fairly soon. For the commercial I need lots of white natural daylight. I very much lighting that comes through windows much like much of Bertolluci's work. I can't remember his DP's name. I'm looking for lighting kind of like what's in "The Conformist" or "1900" or even "The Dreamers." Anyways, here's the tricky part. I have never lit much of anything before. I've been looking at chinese lantern balls from the company lantern lock. They have fixtures that can accept tungsten balls up to 1k. I know that I could probaly do most interior close-ups and room lights with the chinese lantern balls with a blue filter. My question is do I have to use Fresnel's for lighting through a window. What is the cheapest solution? Also will chinese lantern balls be good enough to achieve soft natural light excentuating the light coming through the window? What size of filters should I use on the Chinese lantern balls. Again, I want white natural looking light. Here is an example of what I'm looking for from a promo photo of Bert. "The Dreamers." Thanks.thedreamers.jpg
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 09:26 PM

Are you working by yourself? An experienced gaffer and cinematographer can best help you figure the right instruments for the location and shots you want.

Much of the lighting in "The Dreamers" was soft side-lighting through windows. Pretty much any instrument aimed through a large frame of diffusion can give you that quality of light. Bouncing light off of large white surfaces like foamcore or beadboard is almost the same. You'll have to work out the specifics of how large a unit to use based on the distances you're dealing with and the exposure you need.

China balls are good for soft-lighting subjects when used close, but they become harsher and weaker when placed farther from the subject. Often they are used as a small amount of fill light close to the subject in closeups.

The light will be "white" as long as you're color balanced properly for the light source (tungsten balanced film or tungsten white balance on video, when using tungsten light sources; daylight balanced film/video camera with daylight-balanced light sources). If you're mixing tungsten lighting with natural ambient daylight coming through windows, you'll need to correct your tungsten light with Full CTB gel and shoot with a daylight balnced film/white balance. Or, you could cover the windows with Full CTO gel and use tunsgten balanced film/white balance. Or cover the windows and go all tungsten.
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#3 Lee Young

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 09:42 PM

actually I'm just working with one other person who knows less about it than I do. We're shooting on Canon XL-1's. we're not getting paid much to do it. I guess I'm pretty much the DP. It's really a big mess. The person who owns the restaraunt went to professionals, but couldn't pay the price, so he hired us because we didn't require much money. I need lights anyways. Anyways, one of the scenes requires a couple in bed. I want to give the appearance of only natural light through the window on the right of the bed. I was wondering if blue gelled china lantern balls close to the actors would give this effect. My bigger question is what about light coming through the window. Should I just wait for natural light or is there a fairly cheap way to do it with artificial light. This is what I would prefer. I've heard of people using Fresnels with diffusion for these purposes, but they are out of my price range. I need a high powered light that will blast through the windows kind of like in the movies I mentioned. If this is impossible cheaply then nevermind.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:08 PM

How about some reflectors outside the windows in the daytime to reflect more light in?

Large soft sources to light anything wider than close shots tend to require large lights.
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#5 Chris B. Cornell

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:16 AM

IMHO, you are not going to compete with the sun unless you have 12k+ HMIs. The cheap(er) solution might be reflectors or mirrors, perhaps through a large source like a 12' or 20' silk. use the Fresnel's inside and gel them. 1k's and 2k's will probably not look much like the sun in any sort of wide shot (unless it is nighttime and the windows are small enough. The cost to buy lights is a lot of money... in the thousands of dollars to start and will probably cost you in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a decent lighting and grip package. All this lighting will require a large power source, like a 600 AMP 3 Phase generator. If you live anywhere close to LA you could get the required lights and grip gear for 2500 all day, less if you do some hustling. All this stuff will probably require a somewhat experienced G&E crew of at least four. Production value (to a certain extent)=money.

Edited by chrisbc, 16 February 2007 - 12:16 AM.

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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:31 AM

Maybe you will work for less than "the professionals" but you will require the same equipment and number of persons (with the same muscles) to get professional results.
Light is light which is sometimes quite heavy.
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