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Shooting a Bedroom Night Scene


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#1 AJ DeRose

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 07:03 PM

If I was to shoot a bedroom scene at night (regardless if the film is negative color or reversal black and white), using one or two lights just to extinguish my subject. I would want the room to seem pretty much pitch black (maybe some definition) but I would want my subject to be visible laying in his bed.

I would meter for him but if I use the meter's reading it probably will look over lit being unrealistic. So should I underexpose him by half to a full stop to still make him visible but seem more like it is at nighttime?



THanks
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#2 James Brown

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 07:22 PM

Hi,

I did one bedroom scene where i had 2 diffused mizar's on a dimmer giving slight, soft slashes on a bed. These were around 3 Stops under (on 7218). If anything the light bouncing of the bright pillow keyed his face too much.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 07:25 PM

For a bedroom scene at night, depending on how close the person is to a practical lamp, they may be a half-stop or a stop underexposed when the light is on, let alone if the lights were off.

One-stop under is not very dark.

Generally I expose "moonlight" at 2-stops underexposed if it is frontal/side light, one-stop under if it is a backlight, but it just depends on how much I want the viewer to "feel" the darkness.

Just remember that shadows go black at around 4-stops under on color neg (unless shooting white bedsheets) so if you want some fill, the contrast has to be pretty low because if your key is two-stops under, the fill can't be more than two-stops under that key, if not only a stop and a half under. So to your eye, it seems a little low contrast but once you darken everything, it looks correct.

It would be a good idea to shoot a grey scale at normal exposure before the underexposed shot comes up in the roll if you won't be there to supervise the transfer.

It helps to use bedsheets that are closer to middle grey in brightness if you don't want them to call more attention to themselves than the faces in bed.

aj1, you need to edit your Display Name under My Controls into a real first and last name, as per the forum rules listed at the top of the instructions when you registered.
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#4 AJ DeRose

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 07:59 PM

For a bedroom scene at night, depending on how close the person is to a practical lamp, they may be a half-stop or a stop underexposed when the light is on, let alone if the lights were off.

One-stop under is not very dark.

Generally I expose "moonlight" at 2-stops underexposed if it is frontal/side light, one-stop under if it is a backlight, but it just depends on how much I want the viewer to "feel" the darkness.

Just remember that shadows go black at around 4-stops under on color neg (unless shooting white bedsheets) so if you want some fill, the contrast has to be pretty low because if your key is two-stops under, the fill can't be more than two-stops under that key, if not only a stop and a half under. So to your eye, it seems a little low contrast but once you darken everything, it looks correct.

It would be a good idea to shoot a grey scale at normal exposure before the underexposed shot comes up in the roll if you won't be there to supervise the transfer.

It helps to use bedsheets that are closer to middle grey in brightness if you don't want them to call more attention to themselves than the faces in bed.

aj1, you need to edit your Display Name under My Controls into a real first and last name, as per the forum rules listed at the top of the instructions when you registered.



Thanks for the help.

Just so I have the contrast right. You mean if I'm at a 4 for the key and a 8 for fill and I close two stops for underexposure (8) my fill should be no more then a 11 or 16. I should have a 2:1 or 4:1 ratio.

Sorry for the questions I'm a first year student and all we take is foundation classes first year so we haven't had in depth lighting lessons or how to light rather complicated scenes.

Thanks Again
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 10:51 PM

Just so I have the contrast right. You mean if I'm at a 4 for the key and a 8 for fill and I close two stops for underexposure (8) my fill should be no more then a 11 or 16. I should have a 2:1 or 4:1 ratio.


I don't know what you mean by 4, 8, 11 -- if you mean f-stops, then why would the darker fill levels read as the higher f-stop number? You'd read f/4 for the key and f/2 for the fill if it were two stops darker.

In terms of contrast, it all depends on if you want blacks shadows or shadows with some ambient low-end detail. There is no right or wrong answer, and you can have both black shadows in some areas but some low-level fill in other areas.

I'm just saying that if the key is two-stops underexposed, then the fill can't be more than another two-stops under that if you want to see any shadow detail, so I guess that's a 4:1 ratio (I don't use ratios myself.) Either way, it's somewhat flat-ish, low in contrast to your eyes.

Actually I don't necessarily recommend a lot of overall fill, just that you may aim some selective fill in areas where you want some detail to pop out. A common example would be for the eyes, like a small eyelight that creates a glint in the darkness and provides a minimal amount of fill.

Here are some moonlit scenes in "The Quiet" that I shot in HD. Since it was an HD shoot, I didn't meter anything, but generally the highlights were around two stops under depending on the scene. I used smoke to lower the contrast, which actually adds fill into the scene, plus I usually had some dim fill light.

This first example shows the barest amount of fill light in the shadow areas -- you can barely read a glint in her eye in the shadow side of her face:

Posted Image

Here is another bedroom scene with minimal amount of fill plus smoke:

Posted Image

This last one, in the same bed later in the movie, was lit a little differently -- instead of hard moonlight through the window, I switched to a Kinoflo for a backlight inside the room for a softer backlight. Again, with fill and smoke:

Posted Image

Another thing to realize that it's better if you have to further darken the image later than if you had to lighten it later, so don't underexpose too much.
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#6 James Brown

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:12 PM

Hi David,

Do you remember what size Kino unit you were using? Your not getting a lot of wrap with it. Did you use a Gel Combo or leave it Daylight?

I'm starting to go back to bluish night light comparing to the now usual no colour 1/2 correction.

Looks great.

Edited by James Brown, 23 March 2007 - 11:13 PM.

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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:16 PM

This was all half-blue moonlight -- I discovered that full blue is not such a great thing if you are shooting HD because you don't record any info in the other channels, so it can get hard to color-correct. You can always add more blue if you need to later in post.

It was probably a 4' 2-bank Kino -- not a 4-banker, I didn't want it super-soft because then I wouldn't get enough shadow and contrast... I just wanted that sheen you get when you reflect a Kino tube off of skin as an edge/backlight. K55 daylight tubes with half CTO on them (I find that I get more light output by using daylight tubes with 1/2 CTO than tungsten tubes with 1/2 CTB.)
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#8 James Brown

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:28 PM

I think CTB steals an extra 1/3 of a stop over 85?

>This was all half-blue moonlight

The key still has a bluish kick to it- If it's a half correction did you give it that look in Post?
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 12:24 AM

The key still has a bluish kick to it- If it's a half correction did you give it that look in Post?


Probably but this is not far off from what half-blue lighting looks like. It's bluer than you think, which is why I generally never use full blue for moonlight unless I know I can pull some of it out later.

Remember that a colored light looks more saturated when it is exposed darker. At key exposure, half-blue is fairly washed-out and pale.
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