Jump to content


Photo

Lighting Scenes when the lead is bald


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 25 May 2007 - 10:28 PM

Are there obivious do's and dont's when it comes to lighting actors who have bald heads? I once shot in a store that had overhead fluorescents all over the ceiling and the host/actor/director kept complaining about the hot spots on his bald head.

I remember looking up at all the fluorscent lights and thinking I was in hell. We couldn't turn off all of the fluorescent lights because they were lighting up the store background a significant amount and since it was a local show promoting different stores and their wares, we definitely had to keep some of them on.

Are there certainly obvious techniques that work well if one is trying to avoid reflection/glare off of a bald actors head? Do certain lights work better than other lights in minimizing glare and reflection off of a bald head, or is it just accepted that the glare will be there.
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 25 May 2007 - 10:54 PM

Well generally a soft glare is preferable to a hard kick, but softer and dimmer is better -- make-up (powder) obviously helps a lot.

Overhead flos shouldn't be too bad since they are soft sources, unless his head is shiny and he refuses to wear make-up, but if so, you could suspend a 4'x4' frame of diffusion over his head, slightly behind, to soften & darken the light reflecting off of his head into more of soft sheen/glow, then add more soft light from the ground to compensate if he looks darker. Or suspend a 4'x4' net frame instead to break-up & darken the reflections.
  • 0

#3 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 26 May 2007 - 04:11 AM

I'm embarrased to admit that I just haven't paid close attention to Deal or No Deal on NBC to see how they handle it. However I did notice on ABC's Friday Night Bingo last night that they seem to purposely use a lower angle on the hosts close-ups, I suppose to make him look dominant but I bet it also serves to reduce the glare off of his bald dome as well. Bald is in.
  • 0

#4 Kevin Zanit

Kevin Zanit
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1223 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • LA

Posted 26 May 2007 - 02:40 PM

I have found makeup is really important to helping with the glare issue.

Funny you mention Deal or No Deal, on a project I shot with Howie, I had a very large soft box built for overhead so that any reflections on his head would be soft, almost like a car commercial. He also does not like to wear any/ much makeup which somewhat further complicated it.

That said, I just try and avoid top light, bring it lower to the ground, get on the same page with the makeup artist, and if you must use top light then diffusion it a lot.
(the thread I wrote on the project with Howie http://www.cinematog...howtopic=11530)

In your case you could place a medium sized diffusion frame (4x4) over the talent to further soften the existing fluorescents (assuming your shot had somewhere to hide the rig).

Kevihn Zanit
  • 0

#5 Frank Barrera

Frank Barrera
  • Sustaining Members
  • 464 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 26 May 2007 - 04:37 PM

what format are you shooting? if film then the above replys are about all you can do. but if HD video then there may also be some help in adjusting your knee point and knee slope. i just shot a test with the Sony F900R and focused a good deal of time on the Knee functions. a bald shiny head could look less so with the right combination of point and slope.
  • 0

#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

Jonathan Bowerbank
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2815 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 26 May 2007 - 05:21 PM

I rather like the glare that comes off a bald head, it's too bad self conscious actors prefer not to have it.

I recently shot a short with a bald actor playing Mussolini, and he really liked them.

But yeah, otherwise, go with the diffusion overhead to cut out the hot spots :)
  • 0

#7 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 29 May 2007 - 11:27 AM

I think I'd be looking at shows like "The Shield" or "X-Men" before "deal or No Deal". I tend to side light rather than top light in this situation. In a back lit situation I try to light the shoulders and cut light of the dome.
  • 0


Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Opal

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam