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Lighting at night for video?


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#1 Duncan Maxwell

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:20 PM

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for lighting at night when recording on video. The scene takes place at night in the woods. I've considered doing day for night, or using a power generator, but I was wondering if anybody had any tips. I have access to ARRI 600 light kits with 650 watt bulbs. My biggest problem is that I do not own a generator, and need to know if there's a way of getting around that, or if I'm better off trying to get one.

Thanks.
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#2 alfredoparra

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 11:29 PM

dude make it look real, use your car head lights, or use your car as a generator with power convertor and run an extension cord, you dont have a problem, many options in your case! try a flare, and remember your not a film maker your a video maker, a film maker shoots film and a video maker shoots video, video is not film! have fun!!
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:16 AM

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for lighting at night when recording on video. The scene takes place at night in the woods. I've considered doing day for night, or using a power generator, but I was wondering if anybody had any tips. I have access to ARRI 600 light kits with 650 watt bulbs. My biggest problem is that I do not own a generator, and need to know if there's a way of getting around that, or if I'm better off trying to get one.

Thanks.



Ignore whatever that last post was.

Regardless of what medium you're acquiring an image with, lighting style should be driven by what the script calls for. "Realistically," the only motivating light source at night in the woods is going to come from a full moon. Since faking "moonlight" is likely out of your budget (ie, bouncing light off a large balloon), and you're likely limited to using whatever you have (the ARRI kit), try your best to place those units in places that seem correct (moonlight) instead of just illuminating the space with car lights or blasting your units wildly into the area.

In my experience, shooting in the woods in the daytime can be a challenge because most of the foliage manages to cut out a lot of the sunlight anyway. At night, the problem is compounded obviously because there is absolutely no light at all. To convey "forest" to the audience, it will be difficult because you won't have enough light to actually "see" the forest.

Even if you do use a genny, you'll have to place it very far away or else the noise will carry and ruin your soundtrack. That means a lot of stingers (AC cables) and someone watching the fuel (or else your set will get very dark very quickly).

I really don't know what your parameters or resources are, but it sounds like your best choices are to either rewrite the scene so it takes place at dusk so you can take advantage of "some" light in the woods, OR you use very sparse "shafts" of light that the talent runs into and out of at night.

Video-wise, you're only real concern will have to do with contrast ratio. Shooting at dusk, when the light is more even across the frame, will help out immensely. The only time you really have to worry about video vs film is in broad daylight when you don't have enough light for the talent to compete with a screaming background.

And while "filmmaking" did begin as a way to describe the process of creating a movie, the actual meaning has evolved to include anyone who creates a story with a camera. It's not likely that people will be so bold as to call James Cameron a "video maker" when his 3D epic arrives. :rolleyes:
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:43 AM

You can do a lot with "cheating" also. In other words, shoot at a location with some trees that is conducive to running power and shoot only the angles that you need. If it's dark and you only need to feel the presence of trees around your action (in foreground and background), you don't always have to go deep in woods to shoot your scene.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 02:16 AM

There are some things that need lighting and power -- large areas in the wilderness at night is one of them!

It's something that indie people think there is some magic solution for and there isn't. If you can't afford to light the area, then you work smaller... or you reset the scene somewhere that you can light, or you use a trick like day for night... or you shorten the scene so that it can be shot at twilight, etc.

Or you let it be unlit except for whatever light the actor is carrying around like a flashlight or lantern.

It's not a film versus video thing. They both need light to get an image and that light has to look like whatever it's supposed to be simulating, moonlight, whatever. Car headlights aren't going to look like moonlight no matter if you are shooting video or film -- they'll look like car headlights, which I don't know works for the story or not.

My suggestion is to try and shoot the wide shots at twilight and then light the close-ups in a similar style (soft overhead blue-ish light) -- maybe Chinese Lanterns with blue-dipped photofloods or daylight compact flourescents. And since they are close-ups, they could be faked next to a house or somewhere with power that you can run an extension cord from, to a clump of trees and bushes.
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#6 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 02:37 PM

your not a film maker your a video maker

last time i met alfredo online he sent me this. same thing in all my private bbs mailboxes, and in the comments on my youtube and myspace clips. funny guy.

From: alfredo parra <axp3@mac.com>
Subject: im watching you you fagot
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 22:25:41 -0400

your a fu**ing pussy!


this is gonna get nasty soon so somebody please delete his account asap. david you're a moderator, right?

/matt

oh, i forgot the best part:

your a fu**ing pussy hiding why over there in that fag ass counrty! come over here and pop your mouth! think you got balls you fagot! you need a pimp slap mother fu**er! I would beat the living poop out of you! and your fag boyfriends on this site you fu**ing homo!


:-)

/matt
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 06:15 PM

I'm not a moderator. Send the info to Tim Tyler at tim@timtyler.com
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#8 MattGrover

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:32 AM

:blink: Looks like you've got a friend for life there Matt :lol:
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#9 jhon longfelow

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 04:40 AM

oh, so Sidney Lumet who just shot the best movie of the year digitally (before the devil knows your dead)
and some other minor films like dog day afternoon is not a film maker...?????????!!!!!!
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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:13 PM

I generally ignore most posts that start with "Dude"
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