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Lighting on Location with very beautiful pratical lighting.


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#1 Marquette Trishaun

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 09:56 AM

Hello All,

Recently I secured a very upscale restaurant for a date scene that involves a little one on one dancing afterwards.

This location has the perfect balance of dimly lit praticals on the tables along with wall sconces etc.

How do you light a scene like this for your actors without disturbing the mood already present. Do I expose for the praticals and bring my actors up to the same level.

I am sure you can understand how the inexperienced could completely blow out the delicate balance that already exists.

Overall I desire to maintain good contrast, while packing in some believable highlights motivated by these practicals on the faces here and there as they move about.

Regards,
Marquette
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 10:07 AM

Marquette, you need to go to My Controls and edit your Display Name into a real first and last name.

Well, generally you would see if you can shoot the location with the fastest film and lenses possible to capture as much of the natural light as possible. It's not always necessary that actors be a full exposure in a setting like that. You may find that it looks completely natural for their faces to be a stop underexposed in such room lighting.

But once you've used the fastest stock and lens possible and your actors are still too underexposed to look correct for what you want, then you need to discretely boost the light levels as minimally as possible until you reach a comfortable level for photography that does not overpower the room lighting (unless it is so dim as to be completely unphotographable.)

You can perhaps put the next wattage brighter bulb in some practicals. You may enhance the overall ambience with some bounce lighting or Chinese Lanterns. You may just add some more practicals.

First you have to figure out by how much more do you need to increase the light levels.

As far as light sources in the frame, like practical table lamps, you would generally just let them overexpose unless they were big in the frame.
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#3 Marquette Trishaun

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:51 PM

Thanks David,

You are definitely a Super DP, having time to do such beautiful work and respond to posts so quickly.

I primarily shoot S16, so I really don't like to push my stock past its natural rating, and I hate going higher than the 320, even though I am shooting more Vision2 500T these days.

If you were lighting Cuba Gooding Jr in this scenario, would 1 stop under translate to 2-stops on him considering his complexion. I have trouble sometimes underexposing black skin without producing undesirable skin tones, so any suggestions as to gels and or lighting techniques would be very helpful.

Also, in this low-light situation are you one to favor the Vision 2 500T Expression over the regular 7218.

Lastly, if I do decide to boost the overall levels, I take it I should hang the china lanterns along the wall line a minimum of say 5ft above the praticals. Maybe the china lanterns would help with skin tones too?

Regards,
Marquette
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:30 PM

I always think Davids advice is dead on too.

I personally like practicals in the case you suggested and letting them overexpose in the background (as David mentioned). Even if your talent is underexposed for whatever creative reason you choose to decide, having overexposed (and often out of focus) points of light in the background can give you a reference point. And it just plain looks good too.

I recall I read something years ago by Vilmos Zigmond about this very subject. An old copy or American Cinematographer I think.

Best

Tim

PS One can use Chinese lanterns but be carefull not to fill up the space with light and ruin the ambiance you are trying to keep. You may need some skirts on them or use lower wattage bulbs rather than dimming. But it may depend on how big the room itself is. Good luck.

Edited by timHealy, 30 May 2007 - 01:33 PM.

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#5 timHealy

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:39 PM

PPS About ASA I always favor using the slowest speed I can get away with on 16mm. I personally think 500 can work for you, but I would choose 200 rated at 160 if I could or 320 rated at 250 if I got desperate. (Then I would check to see how much electric is available to see if I could add more light and go with the 200)
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#6 Marquette Trishaun

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 08:08 PM

Few!

The Vision2 200ASA stock is my favorite in the whole wide world, but I doubt very seriously that I'd be able to pull that off in a natural location.

In fact the only time I can get away with that stock is on music video or commercial where the lighting doesn't have to be as believable as it is appealing.

It would seem to me that the amount of supplemental light required would wash out the natural effects of the place. This brings me back to my original question of how and where to place the lighting such that I can bring the levels up without washing out the venue. Right now if the director or production forced me to use the finer grain stocks I'd be screwed.

In the meantime I will check with the establishment to see if the wall fixtures can handle higher wattage bulbs. I know sometimes those fixtures can take speciality bulbs.


-Marquette
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 08:21 PM

Sometimes you run into these situations where the light levels are too low but the natural light looks gorgeous, so you're stuck either adding a lot of light and sticking to the slower film stock -- or using less light but faster film, even pushed, just to capture the light. It's a tough call. It partly depends on your ability to relight the location to a higher level while still maintaining the look and mood you want. That would be hard if the location were lit by candles, let's say, where they keep the same output but you have to keep adding more light, thus overpowering them -- versus a location lit by tungsten practicals where swapping out the bulbs to the next higher wattage may keep the same look yet bring up the light levels.
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#8 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 12:09 AM

I would support what David is saying here. Try bringing the wattage of your practicals up to the next available higher wattage, and that should maintain your mood, as well as just bring up the overall levels. If that isn't satisfactory, you could even bring some of the practicals up in intensity, and leave some a little lower, to "shape" those shadow areas. Also, you could use china lanterns and black wrap to softly cut the light into certain areas, maintaining an appropriate contrast ratio.
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#9 Bill Totolo

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 08:05 AM

BTW, did you stake the place out to observe how the light changes throughout the day?
It can vary dramatically depending on the angle of the sun.
Choosing an appropriate time of day to shoot may be your biggest allie.
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#10 Ram Shani

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:05 AM

hi

i have same problem i am gonig to shoot music video in resturant using canon hdv with 35 adaptor

which will bring the cam Asa to something like 64 Asa

i want to keep the same mood as i see it at night

2- problems

1- cant change the practicals bulbs

2- cant light from the top its to high and nothing to hold a rig

here is a link to the restaurant
http://www.rol.co.il/sites/mary/

its in hebrew if you push the butten near the number 1 at the top you will see virtual tour
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#11 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:37 AM

Hi Rami:

Nice location... but you need a lot of extra light because when you work at 64 ASA, probably you need minimun or an average 160 foot candles (key light) at 2.8 T- stop, perhaps using a couple of HMI (6K Arrisun)out of the restaurant (street) to make an ambience light "night"; a couple of balloon lights as a fill light..., i don't recommended work with tungtens lights, unless you work with 5k or 10K minimun, thats works good.
Use Arri Photometric Calculator before you make the list at the rental house, thats help you save money

Hope hepls
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