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Lighting suggestions please


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#1 stoop

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 03:38 PM

I wonder if you guys could help me with a bar scene I have to shoot next week. I'm basically wondering the best way to light it. The first shot tracks around the bar (actor facing the camera), and then behind the actor along the same track. Once she reaches the second actor, it's just an over the shoulder and a mid shot square on to them both. I have a 2k, a couple 1.2k's and 800's. I also have a 4 bank kino, med chimera, a rifa light, 3 paper lanterns and a set of dedo's to play with. I'm going to light the bar area and all the glass with funky peacock blue. Bit puzzled as to where to place my key. It's very cramped in there, maybe the lanterns above?? It would also save time if I didn't have to change around the lights too much between the different shots. I would like a stylized sexy look to it.

Many Thanks


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#2 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:23 PM

Heh. I have an almost identical set up to accomplish in a few weeks. During the tech scout the way I wanted to do it is to place daylight fluorescent practicals behind the bottles at the bar glowing the whole background of the bar. In the foreground under light the tenders with 4x4 kino's with full grid underneath the bar bench.

The background/dance floor I've got a various assortment of data flashes, lighting strikes, and 400w Joker's with Leko casings (panning back in forth). For shot #1 and #2 I'm going to have all my background effects going crazy. Then in the foreground key light, I'm going to motivate a soft source from the bar, probably a blanket light or 6x6 muslin frame with a mini9 light w/ 1/4 CTB (The director and I want to do a lot of slow motion coverage in the bar so I'm going to be lighting the bar to like a 120asa so I'll probably need more powerful lights than you), however you could do something similar with a 2k Chimera w/ heavy diffusion. For my #3 OTS coverage I'll play that same key light motivated from the bar lights.

#4 is the most difficult to light. In our version of the shot it?s a steadicam developing shot that follows with our characters as they walk all the way to the other side of the club to another bar. I'm not absolutely sure how I?m going to light this shot while they are sitting at the original bar. The practicals in the background might be enough to give me some kind of silhouette and during the steadicam shot I can have them walk into a key and walk out. If not I was thinking of rigging a 4x4 kino w/ full grid or if that doesn't give me enough output, a flathead with full grid, backlighting them? really depends if I can see the ceiling of the bar during the pull back of the steadicam. However you don?t have to deal with that, so I?d do the kino rig in your situation.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:27 PM

I'm a little confused by your diagram and description -- does the camera move through positions 1, 2, and 4 in a single move, and position 3 a separate setup? In any case, your biggest challenge is only how to light the shot that shows the most of the room at once (either a wide-lens shot or a dolly shot). After that it's only a matter of lighting for continuity and aesthetics.

There are hundreds of ways you could set up the lighting, so instead I'll try to narrow it down to a few principles you can use:

- In a complex moving shot, there doesn't have to be one key light. Especially in a bar, you can justify multiple light sources and have the actors move in and out of different lighting throughout the set.

- Design your lighting around the part of the shot that will be on screen for the longest amount of time, or has the most important drama. For example, if the bulk of the scene is the dialogue in the two-shot, worry more about that than whatever pools of light the actress crosses through on her way to get there.

- Since you know the camera will see both the deep background and the bar in a single shot, you know you're not going to put a key light in either of those two spots. Unless... you want to have a light that moves or dims during the shot to accommodate the movement. So where does that leave you? The only places off- frame are to the left, above and below.

- Forget the concept of a "key" light. In a situation like this you're usually better off establishing multiple light sources around the room that you can use to justify any key/fill/edge you might need. Then use off-camera lights to supplement that as needed.

- Think about how you want your actors and the scene to LOOK, and then try to justify light sources that will create that kind of modeling. For example if "stylized and sexy" to you means a soft key from below the face and a red edge light, you might figure how you can bounce a downlight off the bar and motivate a red neon sign in the appropriate place.

- Lastly, since you have limited fixtures, figure out how you want to divy-up the units between lighting the set and which ones you want to save for supplemental off-camera lighting. After you've rigged the set lighting, you'll want a couple hard and soft sources that can "dance" to supplement your actors and background for different angles.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:39 PM

A couple more points:

If the dialogue at the bar will play mostly in the reverse-angles, make sure your lighting for the 50/50 two-shot accommodates the lighting that looks best in those angles. That might mean the faces would have to be more backlit/rim lit in the two shot if you wanted a key from the bar side in the reverse-angles.

You can bring in a lot of "household" or non-movie lights to flesh out the set lighting. Things like clamp lights, bare sockets, fluorescent shop lights and so forth are cheap ways to dress up the set and add highlights to strategic areas.
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#5 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:43 PM

stoop - You need to change your user name to your real name per forum requirements before your account gets removed. You can do this under "My controls" > "Change display name".
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:47 PM

I would like a stylized sexy look to it.


All depends on what your idea of sexy is. To some, it's a heavily diffused key light, like a glamour light. To others it can be a high contrast hard key, almost a noir look. I'm interested to know what you're going for, specifically.

With the Chimera or china lanterns it'd be pretty easy to maintain your main actors' key by putting it on a boom and following them. Or you can rig up the lanterns & Chimera for some nice top lighting for your actor to pass under as he/she makes their way down the length of the bar, creating an interesting (perhaps mysterious) dynamic as they pass from light to dark.

Just an idear.
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#7 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 09:56 AM

You could:

Use the kino 4bank behind the bar towards the counter, use the lanterns above for overall soft fill, use the dedo's mounted above the bar counter and use them pointed down to spot glasses/bottles and get a zing' from them (and for eyelight maybe), use the 2k bounced from the left side of the bar and then maybe augment this with the 1.2 broken up with a cookie to create some interesting hotter side-lighting amongst the crowd... the 800s could come in handy for creating one or two small pools of bounced-light amongst the crowd too...

It all depends on how wide you're shooting... With the number or different lighting sources you've got to hand you've got a lot of options... Hope it goes well...
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#8 James Westbrook

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 05:20 AM

Hey thanks guys for all the replys. I did have a complete plan before shooting, but went straight out the window when I actually came to light. The director decided to shoot from the opposite side of the bar, which was actually better as far as framing etc. The budget was so small we had no polecats etc, so i couldn't suspend any chinese lanterns creating pools of light. So i just had my gaffer follow her with a chinese lantern on a boom - which worked really well. I used a rifa light as a nice soft key, which was a bit of a pain to flag off at times. A few dedo's to pick up a few details, and a red gelled kino for some edge/slight fill.

The stills photographer for the day was using a tiny poke n press snap shot camera, so the stills look awful - really awful. But it might give you an idea of how it WILL look!

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#9 Tony Brown

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:07 PM

you seem to be crossing the line with 3
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#10 James Westbrook

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:10 PM

you seem to be crossing the line with 3



There not screen shots, just random stills from the photographer.
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#11 Tony Brown

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 11:56 PM

There not screen shots, just random stills from the photographer.


Sorry I didn't make myself clear.........I was referring to the diagram
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#12 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:14 AM

..... I would like a stylized sexy look to it.

Many Thanks


Heres some bar shots done recently with a slightly sleazy/sexy look to them. 5217. If you like the look ill explain how i did them.
Cheers G.

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#13 David Auner aac

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:24 AM

Heres some bar shots done recently with a slightly sleazy/sexy look to them. 5217. If you like the look ill explain how i did them.
Cheers G.


Hi Glenn,
these look nice. Please elaborate on the setup. Diagram would be nice as well. I really like the CU (bottom pic).

Cheers, Dave
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#14 David Auner aac

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:27 AM

Heres some bar shots done recently with a slightly sleazy/sexy look to them. 5217. If you like the look ill explain how i did them.
Cheers G.


Hi Glenn,
these look nice. Please elaborate on the setup. Diagram would be nice as well. I really like the CU (bottom pic).

Cheers, Dave
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