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#1 Matt Workman

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:27 PM

Hi,

I've always wondered the specifics of these kinds of scenes. I might have a similiar style music video coming up and I'd like to go the bright/happy lighting route. Not a lot of back light or side light, as is the trend right now.

I've taken HORRIBLE stills from youtube of the Christina Aguilera music video "Candy Man."


Diner Wide
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Hangar
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Dance Hall
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To get this kind of effect I'm assuming its either large sources like 20k/Brutes through softs, or a lot of Par/2ks with diffusion in rows with diffusion.

The effect I suppose I'm looking to create is a shadowless-big-frontal source. I'm assuming the angle is 45 degree to subject to eliminate the nose shadow, but not so much as too create dark eye sockets.

I also feel like there is some sort of frontal light for these wides and definitely for the close ups.

Also it seems like the whole scene might be lit/exposed at key and then contrasted added and vignetting/power windowing down certain parts in post.

Does anyone have experience lighting for this kind of sitiuation? I feel like its a very theatrical setup.

Thanks,

Matt
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:51 PM

You know there's a making-of for that available, if you can stand Aguilera out of character:



etc. There's certainly a ringlight visible on some of the moco triplication setups, looks like one of the LED ones, but you can't see much else.

I notice there's a shadow off the brim of the hat in the MCUs against the pastel backdrops, so at least some of it is high and not that soft.

Phil
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 08:21 PM

Not a whole lot of lighting you can see in the video. I noticed a leko that looked like it was edging her a bit when they were at the soda-fountain counter. Didn't see another fixture the whole video, ringlight excepted.

Edited by Chris Keth, 08 November 2007 - 08:26 PM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 08:27 PM

Typically today you'd start out with many spacelights overhead as a base lighting set-up, if on a stage. If not, maybe balloon lights instead. Depends on how deep the space is. If not too deep, you could from with frontal high soft lights, like bounces off of large frames, etc.
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#5 Matt Workman

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:57 AM

I can pretty much stand Miss Aguilera any day of the week, thank you very much. :lol:

Ringlight does make sense, I used a 17" LED one from Bexler a while ago, but it wasn't as pretty as I'd hope. I probably just needed to add more diffusion.

Ahh yes, spacelights, that would be very clever. I don't light that many big spaces. The one problem I've had with spacelights is that they can create hot spots right under them. I guess its a matter of placing them and figuring out what height. Thanks.

With the space light as the base do you allow the light from the spacelights to hit the main foregrounded talent or flag it off and light them seperately? I know this is a theoretical qusetion but for something like the hangar?

I was thinking about several blanket lights through silks, but that might be too expensive/tedious to rig. With big soft sources like that would it matter if I pointed them straight down as opposed to at a 45 degree angle?
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 04:17 AM

With the space light as the base do you allow the light from the spacelights to hit the main foregrounded talent or flag it off and light them seperately? I know this is a theoretical qusetion but for something like the hangar?

I was thinking about several blanket lights through silks, but that might be too expensive/tedious to rig. With big soft sources like that would it matter if I pointed them straight down as opposed to at a 45 degree angle?


Light is light. It is what you think it is -- if you want it more "toppy" you light it predominantly from above; if you want it more frontal you light it more from the front; if you want it soft overall you balance it.

Here's a white limbo set I lit a few weeks ago. The fairly small stage had three 2K spacelights pre-hung, as well as the Kino's lighting the back wall. The spacelights were pretty harsh for such a low ceiling height, and a little too bright for our shooting ASA (HDX900), so I knocked 'em back and softened them by wrapping them in 1000H paper (it's what the stage had on hand). You'll notice they're also wrapped in duvy on the camera side, since they're so close to the subject. In front I had two 12x12' ultrabounces filled with two mighties each on the floor. Not pictured is another 4x4' bounce above camera in the space between the 12x's, giving a fairly continuous soft, frontal source. There were also two 2K edgelights, and a couple lights on the floor to fill in the cove. The shadows on the floor were out of frame.

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screenshot1.jpeg
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 11:02 AM

If you put the bottom diffuser disk under the spacelight, there shouldn't be a hot spot underneath. That only happens when they are opened up at the bottom so you're looking right at the 1K globes. With the bottom disk in place, it's more like a giant Chinese Lantern.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 04:57 PM

If you put the bottom diffuser disk under the spacelight, there shouldn't be a hot spot underneath. That only happens when they are opened up at the bottom so you're looking right at the 1K globes. With the bottom disk in place, it's more like a giant Chinese Lantern.


Correct. And just as a clarification for Matt, there was a bottom diffuser in the spacelights in my example. But the ceiling height was so low they needed a little extra help.

The closer the spacelights are together, the more their collective output reads as one big, soft source. And the higher the ceiling, the farther apart you can space them and still get a very soft quality.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 08:19 PM

It sounds like spacelights, in the studio, are the answer to an awful lot of problems.
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#10 Matt Workman

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 09:13 PM

Hey,

I really appreciate the responses. Especially the ones with pictures. :lol:

DM: Copy that, big chinese lanterns. Chimera makes the birdcages now too.

MN: I had the same problem with a 2 wall white cyc we were shooting. The studio pre-hung a 6k spacelite probably only 10' high and it was blowing out anyone underneath it. I felt compelled to use it becuase it was pre-hung and the stage manager gave me a funny look when I asked if we could take it down.

In retrospect your tracing paper idea would have been perfect. I think the 2k spacelites are better for smaller studios. Actually the studio has to be pretty big, at least 16'-20' to grid. That studio who put up a space lite in a 12' studios was just lazy. And I was just dumb for using it.

I still like the idea of massive kino rigs and fischer lights :angry:

Also, I just did a shoot with a 6k Bag-Lite, and man are those good. They are like space-lites but in chimeras. Their output is SOO much better than 5ks in chimera or even 10ks, just becuase of the size. They are really light and don't need super-cranks. Hell I could boom one on a Max stand or Menace arm.

Posted Image
Okay this is an odd picture of the director, but look past him (literally to the 6k bag lite) This light with all 6 bulbs up is amazing. I only used at most 4 bulbs up from about 6-8' away.

more photos from this shoot
http://www.mattworkm...phy/work/noztra

After doing a few studio shoots I have to imagine the lights for the Aguilera video and comparable setups must be really big. 20ks do very little through silks and are just heavy and crappy, IMO. Hard to tweak etc. I think it must be more like maxi/dino/wendys through 12x12/20x20 w/ grid to front-soft-light big spaces like that. I think that is the way I'm going to go. Plus spacelites for ambient.

Thanks.

Matt
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#11 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 04:19 AM

After doing a few studio shoots I have to imagine the lights for the Aguilera video and comparable setups must be really big. 20ks do very little through silks and are just heavy and crappy, IMO. Hard to tweak etc. I think it must be more like maxi/dino/wendys through 12x12/20x20 w/ grid to front-soft-light big spaces like that. I think that is the way I'm going to go. Plus spacelites for ambient.


Large fresnels really aren't the best units for bounce or diffusion; you're usually better off with Maxi's or multiple heads. So much easier to get the spread and output you want in a compact space. But a big fresnel with a Chimera can be easier to reposition quickly, especially on a rolling stand.
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#12 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 08:54 AM

The dance hall looks alot like spacelights. As for the hangar scene I think it looks like huge wendy-rigs through light diffusion.
A true tungsten video for sure!
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#13 Matt Workman

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 03:36 PM

MN/FB: Thanks, I've never actually used Brutes/Dino/Wendy's on set, they just reminded me of stadium lighting so I stayed away from them. But they seem like the right tool for big front fill.

FB: Yeah the dancehall is a very toppy source, probably spacelites.

I remember for RENT, in ASC they built a really big chicken coup above the tabel where the people dance. I suppose the difference between that and spacelites is that the chicken coup doesn't spill onto the walls.

Also, if I want to setup the "source" about 18' high, I have to imagine you'd have to go through the silks and not bounce into them. Or bounce in to Griff/Ultrabounce. On the Aguilera Hangar setup I'm guessing they setup the 12x12/20x20 and Wendy on condor cranes to get that height? Thats a lot of work :unsure:

Finally with a huge source like that do you have to scrim/control the bottom of the source to make the output even? Or does backing it up pretty much handle the spread? I'll take readings on set but I'll have to have a different g/e order sheet to accomdate trying to control these sources.

Anyone know a PA/Spark from that shoot?

Matt

Edited by Matt Workman, 11 November 2007 - 03:39 PM.

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#14 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 05:08 PM

Also, if I want to setup the "source" about 18' high, I have to imagine you'd have to go through the silks and not bounce into them. Or bounce in to Griff/Ultrabounce. On the Aguilera Hangar setup I'm guessing they setup the 12x12/20x20 and Wendy on condor cranes to get that height? Thats a lot of work :unsure:


It depends how high you really need to get. If you're bouncing you can always hang the frames (from the grid or attaching points to the structure), and put you lights on high stands to get them close. If you need to go direct through the frames with a unit that's too heavy to hang, you can put your rig up on parallels.

For this Mars Volta video I gaffed/opreated (DP Mike Rizzi) the stage was 4' off the floor, and Mike wanted flat frontal light. We used Maxi's on supercranks, which were barely high enough (you can see the lights aren't quite centered in the frames). The 12x's were just on high-rollers. (The top pic was the work in progress; the Maxi's got extra diffusion and were all neatly boxed in later).

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(That's me operating on the far side of the stage. That was the biggest green screen I've ever lit -- 80'x25' across the back; 60x25' on the side)

Finally with a huge source like that do you have to scrim/control the bottom of the source to make the output even?


Again, light is light. It follows the same rules even when it's "bigger." If the source is close and you see falloff on the ground you set a bottomer. If the light source is farther away you may not need to. It's just that the rig might be different. For 12x12' bottomers you often use a piece of lumber as a rail and clip/staple duvetyn to it.

I set a bottomer on this 12x12' with a 12x solid, but then the DP needed to see a little wider so I had to back it up. You can see here it's actually flush with the 12x frame, which means it doesn't really act like a bottomer anymore, but it still helped take a little heat off the floor. ("Scum of the Earth" video, Mike Rizzi DP).
screenshot1.jpeg
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#15 Michael Loftus

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 07:44 PM

One could always consider paper lanterns w/ 5oow globes. I have lit many a white cyc and green screen in this manner. We clamp balls from their cable to the grid in 4 to six foot grids pattern. Once you build the porcelain base and cable, they are easy to use and easy to store. Remember to use a small piece of 216 to plug the opening in the bottom of the china ball. Granted they cannot be too high so the method works well with lower ceilings (12 to 20'). Then come in with your big source from frontal, with a slight more edge than the top light. As to the space lights, as Mr Mullen pointed out , the diffusion is important, yet once again there may be a pattern due to proximity. I have found that cutting a dot of about eight plus inches in diameter ( from duvateen or blackwrap ) and laying it center on the diffusion will even the amount of light that meets the base.
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#16 Matt Workman

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 08:35 PM

Nice more set photos. That "panoramic" pic defies space and time. Only half a scissor lift.

MN: So for that set it doesn't look like you have a "ambient" spacelite thing going on. The Maxi's through what now? Just silks? That is the kind of setup I think I'm going to go for, although I really want to get the Source as much at a 45 degree to the talent as I can, so that means high.

ML: I know, I've gotten mixed results with spacelights also, just need to keep trying new positioning etc.

Here is the biggest green screen set I've lit, I obviously went spacelights. Our only big light was a 10k in a chimera, that we rolled pretty much right up to the talent. Other 2k/5k combos for edge/fill.

Posted Image

If I could do this one again I would use image80s on the grid for the screen and then do the double/trouble Maxi approach with maybe 2 spacelights with blackwrap silks and a silk bottom. Like the ones Jon Fordham uses.

Posted Image

I have a hard time controlling the spacelights, I guess they aren't meant to be "controlled" they are just big soft fill. Which doesn't always work for green screen if you want a more contrasty foreground.

MN: For the bottomer on your 12x12 2xHMI setup I'm sure that helped alot. Thanks for the tip on the duvetyne, I probably wouldn't have ordered enough.

How did you hook up with Mike Rizzi, seems like you work with him a good amount. And in music videos!

If you pulled that big of a stage off with Maxi's then I'm definitely not ordering Wendys. Maybe just an extra Maxi and the cabling needed just incase we meed more kick. Is that video online anywhere?

For car commercials if you don't have a fischer light this seems like the way to go. Like a huge 100x20' silk and then maxis.

Thanks,

Matt

Edited by Matt Workman, 11 November 2007 - 08:39 PM.

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#17 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 10:02 PM

No, we weren't doing the "soft all over" effect for that video; I was just trying to illustrate getting soft sources up high but on stands, from the floor. I honestly don't remember what the diffusion was in the frames, probably some partial density of grid cloth. We were nervous about having enough light so we went thin on the diffusion (rather than bouncing), and ended up softening the Maxi's from behind the frames a little, to taste. It worked out to be a good approach because we could still fine tune the spread of the sources a little bit by panning the outside columns of the units. We were shooting at 400 ASA and ended up probably at a 2.8, which was maximum on the zooms we were using. Unfortunately the band later pulled the plug on the whole video for their own reasons, even though they were very satisfied with our work. :(

Mike Rizzi is a friend of mine whom I've been working with for a couple years. He was AC'ing a feature I was gaffing, and has since started shooting a lot more. He pops in here to cinematography.com occasionally.

Spacelights really aren't meant to be "controlled," they're meant for lighting... spaces. Go figure. ;)

If you really want your soft sources high up at a 45 degree angle, it's probably easiest to hang frames and bounce lights into them. If you need to get your lights farther away from the bounce, NSP globes in Maxi's can really pack a whallup. Here's a small scale version (6x6' frame with a source 4 direct, not bounced).

screenshot.jpeg
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#18 Chris Schlaghecke

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:58 AM

It sounds like spacelights, in the studio, are the answer to an awful lot of problems.

they are.... but they can create a headache when you have to rig 46 of the 6K variety in one set and all suspended from 45 ft!

Seriouly, they are very managable fixture if you take the time to set them up right, i.e with silks/blacks, tartgets in the base, or raw even for an industrial look cocoon in half blue or similar.
They do get kinda power hungry though..........

Cheers
Chris
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#19 Matt Workman

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:46 PM

Hey watch this video

http://www.seether.com/fakeit/

I wonder how much of these lights are actually being used and how much are props. BUT..

- I saw a few Briese lights, which I haven't used yet, but I remember Adam Frisch talking about them.
- Also for the green screen setup there are some big chimera/silks with crate doing the downlight. I really like that approach, it looks like they were dimming them also.
- Gotta remember forced perspective/CG can make sets look a lot bigger than they really are i.e. making lighting easier in actual production.

MN: Too bad about the video. Music videos are known for being cancelled/canned. At least in my experience. Also MTV has had some odd issue with censorship lately. Directors cut straight to youtube!

What is 400ASA? Film or Digital?

I'm still hesitant to rig 20x20's becuase then they can't move. I'll just put the set on wheels on a turntable.

"spacelites" - Yeah, sometimes it takes a few times for thinks to "sink in." Thats why I do my thinking outloud on the forum first. Pre-Production.

CS: Yeah like for Pirates they were using 100's of them for the blue screen ship shots. What did they do back in the day before spacelites? They were also using balloon lights for blue screen and for practical night exteriors on the ship. Big setups.

What shoot were you on that had 46 of them?

Gotta pack up, going to ProTech. So far the only guy I know going is Mitch (Abel), but I suspect I'll see other people there I know also.

Peace.

Matt

Edited by Matt Workman, 12 November 2007 - 12:46 PM.

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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:09 PM

Spacelights first appeared in the 1960's I believe, when Ozzie Morris started using them heavily.

If you put a large enough array of single lights in a grid pattern, they essentially become a soft light because they light the subject from multiple directions.

Kubrick realized this on "2001" and lit the African landscape set in front of the big front projection screen for soft dawn by using hundreds of Photoflood bulbs overhead in a grid pattern. He also was hired as a consultant by Ken Adams to help light the massive submarine hanger set in "The Spy Who Loved Me" and again suggested that they use hundreds of light bulbs overhead.

Roger Deakins used an array of 1K medium PAR globes overhead to light the fantasy bowling/Valkerie musical number in "The Big Lebowski".
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