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Lighting a master shot...


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#1 Nick Castronuova

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:03 PM

Hey guys, I'm still new to lighting, etc. I guess this is a general and fairly open question, but how do you light a master shot? You know, how do you longer shot so that the actors can move around without walking out of their key light?

Can anyone post some of their floor plans/lighting setups for a master shot? Thanks!

Nick
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:20 PM

Hey guys, I'm still new to lighting, etc. I guess this is a general and fairly open question, but how do you light a master shot? You know, how do you longer shot so that the actors can move around without walking out of their key light?

Can anyone post some of their floor plans/lighting setups for a master shot? Thanks!

Nick


You light the space, not the actor, and let them move in and out of the lighting. Then you fix the mistakes in the close-up! ;)
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#3 Brian Flexmore

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 08:26 AM

Then you fix the mistakes in the close-up! ;)



Too true :)
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 08:36 AM

You light the space, not the actor, and let them move in and out of the lighting. Then you fix the mistakes in the close-up! ;)

A fun answer but it got me thinking.

For example: If you're shooting 5218 indoors with tungsten lighting at perhaps F4/24fps/180 shutter, what would be the minimum fill level in FC do make certain that when the actor(s) "move in and out of lighting" you don't loose them entirely? I realize that would vary, noir vs. situation comedy, etc., but what's a good ballpark figure for low-level overall fill?
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#5 David Regan

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 08:50 AM

A fun answer but it got me thinking.

For example: If you're shooting 5218 indoors with tungsten lighting at perhaps F4/24fps/180 shutter, what would be the minimum fill level in FC do make certain that when the actor(s) "move in and out of lighting" you don't loose them entirely? I realize that would vary, noir vs. situation comedy, etc., but what's a good ballpark figure for low-level overall fill?


Kodak's Field Guide has charts for illumination information for their stocks, you can download it off their sight. I checked and it gave for 5218 at 24fps/170 shutter, at f/4 a suggested 40 footcandles, based on incident light reading. As you said though, this is situation based, but I'm guessing its a safe place to start at.
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#6 Tony Brown

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 11:14 AM

Maybe you should pull focus for a few years Nick, you'll learn more than asking hypothetical questions that have infinite answers. Its not pure maths.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 11:31 AM

A fun answer but it got me thinking.

For example: If you're shooting 5218 indoors with tungsten lighting at perhaps F4/24fps/180 shutter, what would be the minimum fill level in FC do make certain that when the actor(s) "move in and out of lighting" you don't loose them entirely? I realize that would vary, noir vs. situation comedy, etc., but what's a good ballpark figure for low-level overall fill?


Generally three stops under key for fill means that there will be shadow detail and the scene contrast will look "normal", you aren't straining to see into the shadows and you have some flexibility to add more contrast in post. Four stops under key will also have some shadow detail, but more will fall-off and the scene will look contrasty.
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#8 Kiarash Sadigh

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 02:22 AM

My approach is that i go through the blocking with the director (this is when I light for fiction not documentary) then I find out where the key moments are i.e. pulling the gun out or stop and look into the closet etc. then I light for those key moments.... Now, this does'nt mean that I key light them all, in fact a key light that lights the first key moment can sometimes back light the second key moment in an interesting way. Let's use a film noir example here: you start with a wide shot of a living room at night, the camera is in the living room looking at a deep hall way that leads to the kitchen way back in the BG. The action is that your actor walks from the kitchen into the hallway, finds a gun inside a vase that is on a table in the middle of the hallway, cocks the gun and walks all the way across the living room to the camera (foreground) where he stabbed from behind by the killer. This scene can be lit with three lights, here is how: light#1 in the kitchen, sort of suggesting the moon light, 90 degrees to the camera's axis, so the actor first seen inside the kitchen in side lit. Light #2 is inside the hallway coming from the top, I would make the hallway the brightest area in this scene, so he walks into the hallway finds the gun inside the vase and comes to the edge of the hallway (where hallway meets the dark living room), now he's completely backlit, we may not see his face but we see a perfect outline of his body...this is a perfect moment for him to cock the gun. from this mark he starts walking towards the camera, all the way through he's still back lit by the bright hall way in the BG( here you can add a few pools of light but I stick to my 3 light idea). Then I put the Light #3 close to the camera on one side (camera's 10 o'clock) about 8 feet high pointing down at the mark where he gets stabbed at. Our brave actor now getting closer to the camera is walking into his/her close up, he's been silhouetted by the hallway light all the way, now it's time for him to step into his light ( light #3 ). He gets there, a beat, we see the reaction of him/her getting stabbed from behind i.e wide eyes etc. then he falls down out of the shot and we victoriously watch our light #3 catching the killer just a touch.
Think about brightness contrast and the way it reveals shapes to human eyes.

Hope it helps.
Kiarash Sadigh
DP Toronto
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#9 Carl Hollins

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 02:18 PM

My approach is that i go through the blocking with the director (this is when I light for fiction not documentary) then I find out where the key moments are i.e. pulling the gun out or stop and look into the closet etc. then I light for those key moments.... Now, this does'nt mean that I key light them all, in fact a key light that lights the first key moment can sometimes back light the second key moment in an interesting way. Let's use a film noir example here: you start with a wide shot of a living room at night, the camera is in the living room looking at a deep hall way that leads to the kitchen way back in the BG. The action is that your actor walks from the kitchen into the hallway, finds a gun inside a vase that is on a table in the middle of the hallway, cocks the gun and walks all the way across the living room to the camera (foreground) where he stabbed from behind by the killer. This scene can be lit with three lights, here is how: light#1 in the kitchen, sort of suggesting the moon light, 90 degrees to the camera's axis, so the actor first seen inside the kitchen in side lit. Light #2 is inside the hallway coming from the top, I would make the hallway the brightest area in this scene, so he walks into the hallway finds the gun inside the vase and comes to the edge of the hallway (where hallway meets the dark living room), now he's completely backlit, we may not see his face but we see a perfect outline of his body...this is a perfect moment for him to cock the gun. from this mark he starts walking towards the camera, all the way through he's still back lit by the bright hall way in the BG( here you can add a few pools of light but I stick to my 3 light idea). Then I put the Light #3 close to the camera on one side (camera's 10 o'clock) about 8 feet high pointing down at the mark where he gets stabbed at. Our brave actor now getting closer to the camera is walking into his/her close up, he's been silhouetted by the hallway light all the way, now it's time for him to step into his light ( light #3 ). He gets there, a beat, we see the reaction of him/her getting stabbed from behind i.e wide eyes etc. then he falls down out of the shot and we victoriously watch our light #3 catching the killer just a touch.
Think about brightness contrast and the way it reveals shapes to human eyes.

Hope it helps.
Kiarash Sadigh
DP Toronto


This response has me thinking. I?m an emerging commercial photographer but I also still serve consumer markets shooting weddings.

My goal this year is to add a dramatic (interesting ratios & patterns) cinematography feel to my group shots?especially in many of the antiqued paneled reception halls I encounter. With that said I am putting together a new light kit; considering Mole Richardson singles, quads , 9s & tweenies along with the a variety of modifiers.

Would you have any suggestions or thoughts regarding potential snafus controlling shadows & lights ratios?

Ideally I would like to set my ambient levels and spot or fresnel key folks (i.e bride & groom) for the back grounds I would ideally like to create patterns with gobos etc.

Any insight you could provide would be appreciated.
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#10 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 06:43 PM

Better make sure you have a lot of electrical power and set-up time available for those group shots.
Sounds like a few assistants would be handy as well.
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#11 Carl Hollins

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 06:58 AM

Better make sure you have a lot of electrical power and set-up time available for those group shots.
Sounds like a few assistants would be handy as well.


Thanks Dan... ;-) I hear you! The assistants aren't & time are not a problem. Obviously anything light over 1300 would be considering the venue.

But speaking of juice... what type of power do you rent to power 9 & 12 light Moles? (5.9 & 7.8KW respectively)
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#12 Hal Smith

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:50 PM

....... for the back grounds I would ideally like to create patterns with gobos etc.
Any insight you could provide would be appreciated.

The best "bank for the buck" for patterns/gobos is ETC Source Four Ellipsoidals. If renting, make certain the lamps are 3200K, for theatre use they're often lamped with 2800K extended life lamps.
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine