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"Blade Runner" eyelight


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#1 Matt Irwin

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:51 PM

I'm shooting a horror short soon, and the director is interested in testing the glowing eyelight effect that Jordan Cronenweth used on Sean Young in Blade Runner.

I read the old AC article and know the basic setup--- Shoot through a large piece of optical flat at 45 deg. to film plane, aim a small fresnel (150 scrimmed/dimmed??) at the flat 90 deg. perpendicular to film plane. Light reflects off of the flat, bounces off the back of the eye and backlights the pupil.

That all makes sense in theory, but I've just never done it. Are there any practical issues I should know about with regards to the setup? How much can the talent pan their head before the effect disappears? I'd like to get it as right as possible for the test because we won't have enough film for trial and error.

Shooting s16 7218 rated @ 400 & superspeeds. Anyone here done this before?
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:57 PM

I'm shooting a horror short soon, and the director is interested in testing the glowing eyelight effect that Jordan Cronenweth used on Sean Young in Blade Runner.

I read the old AC article and know the basic setup--- Shoot through a large piece of optical flat at 45 deg. to film plane, aim a small fresnel (150 scrimmed/dimmed??) at the flat 90 deg. perpendicular to film plane. Light reflects off of the flat, bounces off the back of the eye and backlights the pupil.

That all makes sense in theory, but I've just never done it. Are there any practical issues I should know about with regards to the setup? How much can the talent pan their head before the effect disappears? I'd like to get it as right as possible for the test because we won't have enough film for trial and error.

Shooting s16 7218 rated @ 400 & superspeeds. Anyone here done this before?


The tricky part is making a way to hold it all securely and in proper relation to each other. Beyond that it's just a matter of getting the intensity right, which testing should tell you.
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#3 chuck colburn

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:08 PM

Optically speaking I would suggest you use a piece of water white float glass as opposed to standard plate (window glass) and use as thin of a piece as possible. A quick test that you can do to see how flat the piece of glass that you have is to hold it more or less parallel to a flourescent fixture in a ceiling and look at the edges of the fixture. Any diviations in flatness of the glass will show up as a wavy reflection of the fixture. You can use this test on lens filters also. So far as movement of the actors head you should be able to see this in the reflex viewfinder of the camera.
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#4 Jon Kukla

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:40 PM

I believe that it's easiest with a 50/50 mirror (aka semi-silvered mirror). I've been present for tests of this effect, and yes, the hardest thing is just setting everything up to precise positions for each variable - light, mirror, camera, and actor. You should definitely allow a good bit of time in order to get the shot. Other than that, make certain to line it up and view it at least once in the viewfinder, as I've had the misfortune to see several people relying on the monitor, where it's least likely to be properly visible.
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#5 chuck colburn

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:46 PM

I believe that it's easiest with a 50/50 mirror (aka semi-silvered mirror). I've been present for tests of this effect, and yes, the hardest thing is just setting everything up to precise positions for each variable - light, mirror, camera, and actor. You should definitely allow a good bit of time in order to get the shot. Other than that, make certain to line it up and view it at least once in the viewfinder, as I've had the misfortune to see several people relying on the monitor, where it's least likely to be properly visible.


A clear glass mounted at 45 degrees becomes a 50/50 mirror.
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#6 Jon Kukla

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:57 PM

I'm certain it would reflect a lot more light than it normally would, but if that were true, then I doubt that 50/50 mirrors would be so commonly used for this. Surely this is obvious that the silver content will reflect more light than an otherwise identical clear glass?
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#7 chuck colburn

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 06:09 PM

Nope, just not true. Look at any 3D camera mounting rig out there. It's what we used for the CP-65mm 3-D camera set up. Both camera lenses were set to the same f stop for a given shot. Which means each camera was seeing fifty percent of the incoming light. If you don't believe me, ask Max Penner at Paradisefx.com or Steve Hines at his 3-D site. Both of them are masters in the field.
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#8 Matt Irwin

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:46 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'll post results if we end up going this route.

How close can the glass get to the lens? Could it theoretically be mounted on the support rods?
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#9 Sing Lo

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 06:03 PM

Do you know where can I buy semi-glass mirror? I assume this effect is different from the Kirk light right? From your information, you can make the pupil glow like a cat eyes in the dark?
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#10 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 06:26 PM

Most important: any light shone into an eye will make the iris close down, making the effect much less visible (if at all). Hence, you need high speed film and a weak source, preferably (try getting red eyes from a flash camera on exteriors - doesn't really work)

I know some friends did tests with this and it wasn't as easy as it sounds in theory to get the effect. How Jordan did it with slow scope lenses and on slow film is actually beyond me.
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 07:45 PM

Hi,

I have tried to make it happen.

I couldn't.

Phil
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