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Why do dressing rooms use so many bare bulbs?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:55 PM

I've been in and shot in many dressing rooms and it seems that almost all of them had
the classical wall of light bulbs, some regular bulbs and other times transparent style
bulbs.

Lately, I've seen some dressing rooms with the bulbs behind some kind of diffuser.

I'm sure that bright light close up is important for doing make-up, especially in
theaters when people are doing their own. There must be something to this bare bulb
design because it's been this way in most dressing rooms that I've been in for a long
time.

I'm curious about why they are this way. I'm sure that it's an inexpensive way of doing
it and the bare bulbs wouldn't bother me but i wonder if others have minded.

I shoot a fair amount of people talking who are not actors and they often complain
about a light high and with diffusion that none of us would probably think twice about
if we had to talk with it on us because we're used to it.

If you had to design the lighting for the first dressing room, how would you do it?

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 10:50 PM

I'm not a makeup artist, but I think the idea is to get enough soft/frontal light on the face that you can see the makeup clearly and evenly, without the influence of shadows or directional lighting. There usually isn't a practical way to simulate the lighting of EVERY possible setup, so you go for an even soft lighting that lets you at least see the makeup clearly.
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#3 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 12:50 AM

I'm not a makeup artist, but I think the idea is to get enough soft/frontal light on the face that you can see the makeup clearly and evenly, without the influence of shadows or directional lighting. There usually isn't a practical way to simulate the lighting of EVERY possible setup, so you go for an even soft lighting that lets you at least see the makeup clearly.


Thanks, that makes sense.

I've seen some panels in front of the lights in a couple of dressing rooms lately. Maybe that's a trend.
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#4 Michael Belanger

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 08:13 PM

I've discussed this topic and the makeup mirror in general with my girlfriend who is a makeup artist. The mirror does seem to come from the theater where actors would be doing their own makeup. But makeup artists still use it since theaters and trailers seem to be outfitted this way as a matter of course.

The MUAs are trained (at least at her alma mater) to stand next to the person they're working on and check their work in the mirror, thus seeing it close-up (from one side at a time) and from a distance with one glance. The even light around the mirror is cheap to build, but not optimal, especially since it's coming from the MUAs side, not from behind them.

When she has worked without a mirror on shoots with me I've rigged a 55w biax fluro tube in a reflector a foot or so above the talent and in front a bit to give her even light on the actor's face. I match these to tungsten or daylight depending on the scene. In these cases she's facing the actor straight on and can see both sides of the face at once.
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#5 Nick Mulder

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 08:34 PM

They work like a ring light - no shadows cast ... Exposed so they are easily replaced when they blow.
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#6 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 02:00 PM

I've discussed this topic and the makeup mirror in general with my girlfriend who is a makeup artist. The mirror does seem to come from the theater where actors would be doing their own makeup. But makeup artists still use it since theaters and trailers seem to be outfitted this way as a matter of course.

The MUAs are trained (at least at her alma mater) to stand next to the person they're working on and check their work in the mirror, thus seeing it close-up (from one side at a time) and from a distance with one glance. The even light around the mirror is cheap to build, but not optimal, especially since it's coming from the MUAs side, not from behind them.

When she has worked without a mirror on shoots with me I've rigged a 55w biax fluro tube in a reflector a foot or so above the talent and in front a bit to give her even light on the actor's face. I match these to tungsten or daylight depending on the scene. In these cases she's facing the actor straight on and can see both sides of the face at once.


I was best boy on a film and sent to set up a light indoors for make-up. The key grip chipped in that I should
put full CTB on it since it was an outdoor scene. The gaffer (my boss) said no so I didn't. It occcured to me
then that in make up trailers I've never seen lighting adjusted for color temp. of the scene. Maybe it's
because incandescent light is the standard frame of reference for make up artists.
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#7 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 02:02 PM

They work like a ring light - no shadows cast ... Exposed so they are easily replaced when they blow.


A nice inexpensive ring light!
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#8 timHealy

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 10:35 PM

I was best boy on a film and sent to set up a light indoors for make-up. The key grip chipped in that I should
put full CTB on it since it was an outdoor scene. The gaffer (my boss) said no so I didn't. It occcured to me
then that in make up trailers I've never seen lighting adjusted for color temp. of the scene. Maybe it's
because incandescent light is the standard frame of reference for make up artists.


It really depends on a few things. Most newer make trailers these days use fluorescent fixtures in the make up trailers. Some make up people do ask for daylight or tungsten balanced bulbs. Some don't really care or don't know to care. Some will care if the gaffer or dp mentions it but won't really notice if the bulbs are right or wrong. I have also seen all sorts of bulbs mixed in all the fixtures and no one seems to care. Sometimes the teamsters driving the trailers will put any old bulb in a fixture with a bad one just to get it on.

just my two cents

Tim
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#9 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 12:41 AM

It really depends on a few things. Most newer make trailers these days use fluorescent fixtures in the make up trailers. Some make up people do ask for daylight or tungsten balanced bulbs. Some don't really care or don't know to care. Some will care if the gaffer or dp mentions it but won't really notice if the bulbs are right or wrong. I have also seen all sorts of bulbs mixed in all the fixtures and no one seems to care. Sometimes the teamsters driving the trailers will put any old bulb in a fixture with a bad one just to get it on.

just my two cents

Tim



It's funny, I think that the most important features of a make-up set up are the brightness and
frontal lighting has been noted by many. I think that make up artists who know what they're doing
have worked under so many conditions that they'll take any bulbs rather than none because as long
as they can see they can take it from there.


A bit different than the old days I guess when the macho cowboys had to wear green lipstick for
their lips to be seen in the black and white one reelers.
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 01:47 AM

Because you can't hang a Fresnel over the mirror. :rolleyes: It's a way to light an actor's face brightly, as they will be under movie or stage lights, and still let them look into a mirror to apply make-up without being blinded by a bright single source light. I also has the advantage of being adjustable by simple unscrewing a few bulbs so you can vary the light intensity and as someone mentioned before it creates a very even light spread so make up can be applied smoothly and evenly. B)
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 12:18 PM

Because you can't hang a Fresnel over the mirror..............

:D :D :D I don't know about that - give me a couple of Mafers and I'll figure something out.

It's also an area where "It's always been done that way" applies. It's a simple, quick, and cheap way of recreating pretty much the same light environment anywhere on earth. Actors and makeup people are used to that light and know what they need to do under it for the makeup to work on stage or film/video.

I've wired lighting for makeup vanities for less than $25 including sockets, wire, plug, and bulbs. Those were "undercode" but safe. Give me an additional $200 or so and I could probably build them that would meet big city electrical codes - protected bulb sockets, conduit, SJO wire to plugs, etc..
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#12 timHealy

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 09:59 PM

If there is one thing I have learned in the film business is that as soon as someone says you cannot do something...

Because you can't hang a Fresnel over the mirror.....


Actually you can. Albeit a small one. I worked on Old Dogs over the summer and someone asked for a small fresnel over the mirror for Robin Williams or John Travolta. I forget which one it was but I got the job to make it happen. We stuck a 100 watt Pepper over the mirror in addition to the fluorescent fixtures.

Best

Tim
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#13 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 12:33 AM

If there is one thing I have learned in the film business is that as soon as someone says you cannot do something...



Actually you can. Albeit a small one. I worked on Old Dogs over the summer and someone asked for a small fresnel over the mirror for Robin Williams or John Travolta. I forget which one it was but I got the job to make it happen. We stuck a 100 watt Pepper over the mirror in addition to the fluorescent fixtures.

Best

Tim


I stand corrected :D
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#14 timHealy

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 09:16 AM

I stand corrected :D



No stands, just a 1k pigeon and a few screws.

hehe

Best

Tim
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#15 andrew heggli

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 12:20 PM

Lately, I've seen some dressing rooms with the bulbs behind some kind of diffuser.


Whats a diffuser? Yes, I am a "noob" :rolleyes:

And do you really need any additional lighting for makeup rooms? I was a photographer for a school play thing and I thought a couple of the pictures came out pretty good with just the lightbulbs around the mirror:

http://driftnorway.d...scenes-71729275
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#16 Dominic Cochran

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 01:39 AM

Whats a diffuser?


In this particular context, it's probably a cheap piece of frosted plastic covering the bare bulbs (probably flourescent in this instance) to soften it even further.
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#17 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 03:35 AM

In this particular context, it's probably a cheap piece of frosted plastic covering the bare bulbs (probably flourescent in this instance) to soften it even further.



Yes, that's exactly what I meant, thanks.
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