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Cool dappled "tree-like" lighting effect


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#1 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 01:52 PM

OK, so I just recently saw a 20 x 20 rigged with military camo netting and visqueen, with random shapes cut out of the visqueen - one of the coolest ways to simulate a dappled light effect I have seen in a while - and probably dang cheap too!
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 02:54 PM

Yeah, I got that impression when I watched jarhead, though of course in that scene the millitary camo netting was there for set dressing, I couldn't help but think that in the production Dekins used the net on purpous to make the dappled light (of course, its dekins, I don't think anything he shoots is a 'happy coincidence' he seems very methodical and incredibly inteligent...if only he wanted to mentor someone, I'd be on that bus in a second)

the scene I am talking about is the one shot in video where the soldiers are being interviewed for the news (sit down interview, not the later scene where they demonstrate the gas mask football.)

Interesting idea to add the visqueen.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 05:55 PM

You usually need visquine or something similar to diffuse the light a little. Camo nets and real leaves attached to nets can sometimes have too sharp a shadow from being too close to the subject. Getting the net high enough to give you same effect as real trees sometimes isn't practical. Of course the "branchaloris" is great too!
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:15 PM

One lighting effect that I've never seen effectively recreated on a stage is when the sun shines through tree leaves on a breezy day and you get this dancing pattern of perfect out-of-focus circles. I suppose you'd need a bunch of Lekos/Source-4's on some sort of big rig that could "bobble" them a little individually.

Some people try doing this effect with Xenons shining through boards with circular holes cut into them, but the problem is that you don't get the effect of each little circle pattern dancing independently of the one next to it. Maybe three or four Xenons / beam projectors shining through the patterned boards in an overlapping manner...

Oddly enough, the closest I've seen someone attempt this effect was for the 3-strip Technicolor production of "American in Paris" -- during the ballet sequence, the flower market section begins with a tight shot of some flowers with a couple of follow spots dancing over them like spots of sunlight.
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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:59 PM

One lighting effect that I've never seen effectively recreated on a stage is when the sun shines through tree leaves on a breezy day and you get this dancing pattern of perfect out-of-focus circles. I suppose you'd need a bunch of Lekos/Source-4's on some sort of big rig that could "bobble" them a little individually.

Some people try doing this effect with Xenons shining through boards with circular holes cut into them, but the problem is that you don't get the effect of each little circle pattern dancing independently of the one next to it. Maybe three or four Xenons / beam projectors shining through the patterned boards in an overlapping manner...

Seems to me that this happens in real life when you have sunlight diffusing through several layers of leaves waving back and forth against each other. Why not stack three tree branches with lots of leaves, each one about 3 feet above the last, and have grips move each branch back an forth individually, then point a 10K down through the whole thing?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:28 PM

Seems to me that this happens in real life when you have sunlight diffusing through several layers of leaves waving back and forth against each other. Why not stack three tree branches with lots of leaves, each one about 3 feet above the last, and have grips move each branch back an forth individually, then point a 10K down through the whole thing?


Because it takes a point source nearly as far away as the sun to cause the gaps in the leaves to create a lens iris effect. Essentially what you are seeing is the out-of-focus shape of the sun being projected by the tree leaves onto the ground, like a camera obscura. A movie light through a tree just gets you the shadow pattern of the leaves and branches. Sometimes if it goes really high enough into the air, like an 18K HMI on a 160' condor shining through a tree, you start to get that effect on the ground, but not the perfect circles that the sun creates.
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#7 robert duke

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:40 PM

I saw a cool effect like that with xenon's with doubles color scollers. they had painted or printed patterns on clear gel rolls. the lamp was a 5k syncrolite moving head. It was extremely convincing. I saw at a concert in a BIG ARENA. they were projecting onto the audience through haze. WOW. very cool I had to check out the lights after and "tuck that idea in my hat".

you might could do it with a smaller lamp. the 5k xenon syncrolites were 4x4x4 controlled by a hog pc.

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#8 Byron Karl

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:42 AM

I think this is best attempted by starting out on a smaller scale. For example lace curtains and an open faced light in place of using a big light through trees. Plus getting a curtain to undulate is a lot more convincing than shaking a tree or wobbling a big light.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 06:37 PM

I think this is best attempted by starting out on a smaller scale. For example lace curtains and an open faced light in place of using a big light through trees. Plus getting a curtain to undulate is a lot more convincing than shaking a tree or wobbling a big light.


That might work on a stage. But the need usually comes about when you're doing day exteriors...
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:54 PM

Sometimes if it goes really high enough into the air, like an 18K HMI on a 160' condor shining through a tree, you start to get that effect on the ground, but not the perfect circles that the sun creates.

Is that high enough to be able to take the lens out of the HMI without having a UV radiation safety problem? Running without the lens would give you more of a point source - maybe pull the reflector also?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:57 PM

Is that high enough to be able to take the lens out of the HMI without having a UV radiation safety problem? Running without the lens would give you more of a point source - maybe pull the reflector also?


As long as the no one looks up into the light, you should be fine at that distance, but it's still questionable, safety-wise... but I think the problem would be the exposure drop-off. I doubt you'd get the correct diffraction necessary to turn every gap between the leaves into irises that project a circle on the ground.

The other problem is that if you're trying to recreate an effect of dappled "sunlight" on a stage, it has to be a fairly bright effect, it can't be dim like moonlight.
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#12 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 10:30 PM

There is never an okay time to take off the Pyrex lens of an HMI. You can quickly get burns on the skin from the UV radiation. You can run an HMI PAR with no lenses in the doors (but that still leaves the Pyrex lens on).

The best bet for something like this would be either an Arri X light with the black reflector or a Goya with the black reflector.

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#13 Sing Lo

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 04:12 PM

If you set the HMI at full flood, you get very sharp shadows anyway. I think it is unwise and risky to open the HMI fresnel lens while it is burning ; besides I think most HMI fresnel has a safety micro switch on the lens door to disconnect the ballast/ignitor and stop people doing that.

It easy to get sharp pattern but it is hard to schieve the realism and subtle effects. I have tried all type of tree projection gobos for Dedo, and projection of large Chimera window pattern and Mathrews metal cocularsis cello with a large fresnel. In all cases, I found the tree patterns unsatisfactory: too fake unless I de-focus the pattern completely. I have tried to paint tree pattern on a large sheet of thick accetate. In the end, I think a dead tree branch is most the realsitic but inconvenient method in practice.

Edited by Sing Lo, 07 June 2007 - 04:16 PM.

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