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360 degree lighting without flattening


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#1 Marc Levy

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 09:00 PM

Hello,

I've got a scene coming up that I need some advice on. It's a gallery (night interior) with white walls, and it happens to be the show's climax. The director recently informed me that he wants to be able to shoot any direction at any time, and the blocking is quite complicated, with many people in frame and lots of axis changes.

I will not be able to tweak much or relight between setups, as we are shooting many pages in 1 day. But I still want it to look good.

Initially, my plan was to use space lights (or chinese lanters) from above (there is only about 7' between the walls, and we will see the walls in the shots, so it not realistic to light from the floor) to create a soft ambient level approx .5 stop under key. Then I was going to have warmer kickers to create separation. I was also planing on letting the walls go darker and cooler (by skirting the space lights), except for some art I'd accentuate with snooted, warmed lights. In CU's, I was going to bring in a small soft head (like a Divalite) to add some directionality to the key, and fine tune the backlight.

Now, with the need to shoot 360 degrees at any point, I'm wondering if I should just embrace the whiteness of the space and flood the place with soft overhead, slightly warmed light, accentuating things with hot pools of cooler light. This makes me nervous, though, as I don't want it to be flat.

Another idea I had was to wash the white walls with a saturated blue light (from cyc strips or something) and then have a warm soft overhead light fill the entire place. I was hoping that would create some color contrast.

Please Note:
Shooting with HVX200 with P+S Technik adapter (rated at 80 ASA!!!)
The show has a slightly high-key look, as it is aimed for females ages 14-21

Ideas?

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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 09:49 PM

I don't see why you still can't use the skirted overhead china balls and accentuate the art pieces with special lights. Sounds like a fantastic idea to me.

With enough china balls being hung overhead down the hallway, you'll always have a nice key light and a good backlight.

Still, if you're fine with just flooding the space with light and embracing the white walls, I'd recommend looking at some scenes from "Basquiat", especially some of the exhibition scenes where there are a lot of people looking at his art.
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#3 Ken Minehan

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 11:05 PM

Yea i would probably go over head too with a soft light source. But i think i would also strategically place practicals around the room to create pockets of lights. Sometimes in situations like this i talk with my art director and he or she can help you.

I have a scene coming up in a restaurant. I wanted to light with pools of light on the tables as if coming from the ceiling. Then my Art director asked me whether i would be ok with placing low hanging small china balls through out the room. I am shooting with the HVX as well with red rock adapter so my ASA rating is quite low.
I would expect the small china ball lights wont do very much but my lights hanging from the ceiling will more so accentuate it. I can also dim the house lights to the mood i want.

So to answer your question, yes i would go with a space light set up or a china ball set up.

regards
Ken Minehan
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#4 Marc Levy

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 01:01 AM

Great suggestion on Basquiat. I love the film, and I'm sure I'll get some good ideas from that look.
Yeah, we're going to have practicals in frame (light globes of some kind) on cocktail tables.

I feel better now that others think my approach makes sense.

Thanks
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#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 10:54 AM

Is that space high enough for space lights??

If I could rig it out completely, I would hang two rows of china balls, off center, with 3 teasers (center, left and right). That will give you the most control. Everything on dimmers. Dim out whichever row is closer to the wall you're looking at, and then the further row becomes the key, and the upstage teaser can give you a little seperation. You should carry a meat-axe and a couple of blades. Rig a badass backlight at either end of the space ... turn on the backlight depending on the direction you're shooting ... then have a some nice soft key-light on a roller stand. Personally, I stay away from the Diva, it's got some weird color-temp tendencies. Dedo's for the artwork ... I might ask for a boom rig for a floating backlight, except that space looks so narrow, you're either looking down it's length, or shooting right into a wall.

Remember that skirting each china ball is a total pain, and uses a ton of cloth. It's better to tease each row.

The bigger question is how the DP handles the general situation: White walls, "I want to shoot in any direction," you can't tweak ... There's nothing wrong w/ saying, "I can't shoot it that way," or, "I need a day to pre-rig, and then I'll still need a little time between shots." Is there an art dept? Can they paint the walls? Can they put more art on the walls? Can you find a space more than 6' wide? It's your perogative to put the odds in your favor.

Good luck!
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#6 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 03:10 PM

I am going more and more against soft light as I get older <_<

I would hang autopoles for cheap rigging or something then downlight each art piece with a seperate small spot (leko 4 even)

Then art direction place some nice lamps and backgrounds (canvas against wall) - to give perspective depth to the room

Then if the talent require it - light them soft with less punchy lights (Kinos etc)

Back and hard edge light the talent if need be with fresnels or snooted spots

Cheaper and easier and more dramatic

Unless you want to make it look like "heaven" in which case check out some my old posts about lighting white cycs

thanks

Rolfe
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#7 Marc Levy

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 01:54 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I checked out Basquiat again (the gallery scene), and have decided to emulate that soft top-lit look. We're going to embrace the white walls, light with (4) Kino 4x4 banks from above and slightly off to one side (maybe a little opal on them). We'll fly a 2x2 Kino bank for eye sockets, etc. And we're going to use a few 8' single Kino Flo fixtures (blue tubes) as practicals tucked into the nooks in the walls.

I really don't know what to expect from this look, as I rarely light this "flat," but I have a good feeling about it. I'll include pics after the shoot.

Thanks
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