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creative use of open-ended black scrim


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#1 Sing Lo

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 06:31 PM

Can anyone suggest real world examples of the creative applications of open-ended black double scrims for both hard and soft light?

I am particularly interested in the creative use of scrims in producing certain lighting effect in a scene rather than the obvious applications like compensating the fall-off of brightness when the light is pointing at an angle to a background, or the the actor is walking towards the key.

Sometime ago I bought some Matthews open-ended double black fabric scrims and a few single, double open-ended wire scrims for Arri and Mole fresnel spots. But I have never used them in actual shoots because I find barndoors are quicker and easier way to control hard light. Any thought on this would be appreciated.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 06:44 PM

The barn door doesn't always cut the light exactly the way you need it to. Grip scrims must have 101 uses; I'm surprised you've never used them.

Any time you need to "slow down" (darken) a strategic part of the frame. For example, knocking down the level of a white wall or white shirt when everything else in the scene is the proper level.

Overlapping multiple scrims can help you create a gradient...

"Good" lighting is all about carving and blending the light to look the way you want it to. You use cutters, scrims and so on to shape and blend the edges of the beam, whether it's hard or soft.
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#3 Sing Lo

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 09:04 AM

thanks Michael for the suggestions, This technique of overlapping scrims to create a gradual gradient is interesting.
I am also interested in localised manipulation of light on peoples faces; e.g. "light surgery" techniques of using scrims to reduce the brightness of prominent fore head/ bald head or to make a round face to look narrow; I have experimented and practised all these techniques with a dummy head. But it always time-consuming and difficult to set up the grips without the scrims getting in the way of the camera view. It is always the time constrain which stops me trying out these techniques in practical shoot. ...the light surgery techniques require very precise placement of the scrims and lots of grip heads and Hollywood arms..
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 09:23 AM

But it always time-consuming.

That's where sixteen hour days come from. :lol:
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 10:23 AM

With modern soft light techniques, it's harder to use scrims for shadowing necks and foreheads, a traditional approach to glamour lighting, though it is still done sometimes -- especially to darken, let's say, a bright collar or white shirt in a close-up.
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 12:19 PM

I am also interested in localised manipulation of light on peoples faces; e.g. "light surgery" techniques of using scrims to reduce the brightness of prominent fore head/ bald head or to make a round face to look narrow; I have experimented and practised all these techniques with a dummy head. But it always time-consuming ....

And your actors have less room to lean and shift positions. It requires skill from them, too, not just the grips.




-- J.S.
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#7 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 03:24 PM

It is always the time constrain which stops me trying out these techniques in practical shoot. ...the light surgery techniques require very precise placement of the scrims and lots of grip heads and Hollywood arms..


c'mon....there's always a little time on set to play. just tell the producer you're waiting on sound! :-)

the placement gets easier. as does the setting up.

experimentation is the name of the game.

like david said, soft lights are going to be harder to cut (obviously) so if you are really looking for some noir type face carving, lose the diffusion.

all that said, it's rare that i use them for what i'd call an effect. they are usually more of a utility. i.e. despite what they were told, the "talent" wore a white shirt today :-)
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 03:35 PM

i.e. despite what they were told, the "talent" wore a white shirt today :-)


Holy ****, how many times I have had to deal with that! :blink:
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#9 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 05:29 PM

Holy ****, how many times I have had to deal with that! :blink:


One of the many things streaks'n'tips is for.
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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 02:14 AM

One of the many things streaks'n'tips is for.


The shirt???
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#11 Sing Lo

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 06:24 AM

With soft light, I often use very fine Lighttool eggcrates (20 degrees) on Chimera softboxes to shape and manipulate the light; sometimes I add
Chimera softbox barndoors as well if i really go for ultra tight control. Eggcrates beats scrims and flags in term of space and set-up time for soft light. But I agree
scrims are useful.

I have experimented with Noir style as well using hard lights. I tried to use a "finger" (long and thin scrim) mounted on an articulated ball-jointed arm to create shadow on forehead.
But I ended up spending all the time fiddling the position of articulate arm and small movement of the talent threw the shadow out of place.....people don't have the patience to
wait around for your creative exercise. With hard light, I have more success with barndoors and gobos than scrims. That's my limited experience anyway.
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#12 Luke Prendergast

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 04:55 PM

The shirt???

Of course.
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