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lighting inside a tree a night


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#1 Mat Fleming

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 03:50 AM

I want to shoot a scene in a cherry tree at night next week. I know very little about lighting and have arranged to borrow a kit which consists of three blondes and three red-heads.
Realism is not the aim in fact it's not totally written yet except for 2 female characters will be talking, climbing and eating fruit. The tree is full of fruit and I just want strong reds and greens and skin tones (and at the right time the twilight blue sky)

Any ideas about how to make it extra beautiful would be really gratefully received. I've hardly ever used anything other than available light before (that's part of the reason to make this film).
(I'm shooting super16, not sure what stock yet Something from the 'out of date' cupboard)

cheers

Mat
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 08:01 PM

I don't know if I understand your question. You say that realism isn't the aim here so why don't you just light it however you want?
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 01:02 AM

Yeah, and I don't know what you mean by achieving strong reds & greens. Do you mean in the color of the tree, your actors, how so? Do you want to use actual red & green gels in your light?

Anyway, what I suggest is trying something out where their key is quite "tungsteny" as my current Director likes to say. Which is, soft warm toned lighting using 1/2 CTO's and some diffusion. Then you can backlight them with some CTB gelled lights for your "moonlight".

Just an idear :)
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#4 Mat Fleming

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 04:10 AM

Yeah, I see your point about the realism bit.
I suppose I mean that It doesn't have to look like a light from a nearby house or a street light or whatever. I'm more interested in it looking great (whatever that means). by reds and greens I mean the leaves and the cherries. Yes they are already red and green but would using red and green gels give them a hyper-real look? Or just cancel each other out? and I don't want red and green actors.
It is an interesting thought about lighting it "how you want" because creating an effect you want on film isn't necessarily intuitive when you're positioning lights. I suppose I need to get more decisive!

I like the "tungsteny" idea. Walking round last night I thought street light orange is quite great really.

cheers

Mat
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#5 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 05:02 AM

Why not see if you can borrow that lighting kit a few days before the shoot. Light up the tree in question with some friends or family members or both in the tree and have a real good look at it. Take some still photos with a similar ASA as the super16 film you are going to use and note everything you do.
Go over to local 1 hour photo place, develop the photos and LOOK at them.
You are the judge of what is beautiful and what is not.
Generally harder light will give you more intense colours but obviously with harder shadows.
Frankly I don't go for the blue moonlight thing very much.
The leaves will probably be green enough without any green gels and the cherries as well though cherries can photograph rather dark (try a close-up or two of the cherries when doing your still photos).
Will there be any houses visible in the background?
If so, they can give real depth to your wide shots if light comes from them.
If light comes from them maybe that needs to be boosted and/or the colour of their light changed.
What is your camera doing in this film? Several intercut static shots? handheld moving shots? any subjective shots with the camera actually up in the tree?
The ingredients are simple enough to master and make something cool.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 11:38 AM

If you go with the 1/2 CTO idear and a bit of blue moonlight, you can also try adding some white balanced fill light through a silk. It'll also hopefully add some glimmer in your actors' eyes and also add some to the cherries so they read better.
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#7 Kevin Riley

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 01:53 AM

To pop the reds and intensify the green's while not affecting skin tones too much use an "Enhancing Filter" on the camera. Test first with a make up assistant if possible. If your lighting is consistent in style throughout the scene most people will not question it unless the direction and quality of light are really taking over the story by being totally outrageous. An example of this for a scene in a tree may be hard light coming from below the actors.
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#8 Mat Fleming

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 07:09 AM

Thank you,
This is all really helpful advice. I am borrowing the lights on Monday and shooting on Tuesday or Friday so we'll see. The ideas for shooting are turning a little bit Musical lots of variety in shots. I like the depth inside a tree, fruit in front, branches and person in layers.

gotta cattch a train now

Mat,
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