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#1 Chris Walters

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:12 PM

This question is for anyone, but i'v noticed a lot of backlights and kickers are slightly cooler than the key and I really like the look of it. It makes sense near a window but I've seen it else where too. Is it really cooler or is it the angle of reflection and the fact its usually a stop hotter. If it is cooler is it as much as 1/4 ctb or 1/8? I know it depends on the movie and style of course. Examples include Courage Under Fire... it looked really good on Washington's dark skin. Die Hard 4- look really hot almost blownout at times. Let me know if anyone has any information on this. It has always intrigued me and I could never tell exactly what it was.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:38 PM

You see warm, cool, neutral edge lights in movies -- just depends, partly on what natural source that edge light could be coming from, and what mood you are trying to create. I used a cool edge light in the first part of "Akeelah and the Bee" to add some blue into the frames, but it was motivated by a window usually.

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Most edge lights these days are soft, for more of a raking glow on the skin, rather than a hard kicker.

An edge light can be as hot as you want it to be; again, it depends on the effect you want to achieve and what might be motivating that light.

I like using a vertical Kinoflo tube as a kicker, the reflection of the fluorescent tube creates a nice sheen on the cheek. "Crimson Tide" is a good example of using Kinoflos for kickers.

It's important that you don't overdo the use of kickers in a movie because it can get old.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:24 AM

Here's some frames from "Crimson Tide" showing the effect of a soft glancing edge light, usually from a Kinoflo. Edge lights also do a nice job of bringing out the sweat on someone's skin, and reflecting soft lights off of dark skin can help provide some highlights on the face.

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Of course, you may want to avoid this technique if an actor has bad skin (pimples, acne scars, etc.) and you're trying to make them look good.
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 09:35 AM

My experience is that edge lights normally look cooler because of the angle. Something happens there. I can give you many examples of rim lights at the same temperature as the key light that look cool in my own work. It's got something to do with the angle and the intensity, but mainly I think it's an intensity thing since rim's are normally a lot brighter than the key, they appear cooler in comparison.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:30 PM

My experience is that edge lights normally look cooler because of the angle. Something happens there. I can give you many examples of rim lights at the same temperature as the key light that look cool in my own work. It's got something to do with the angle and the intensity, but mainly I think it's an intensity thing since rim's are normally a lot brighter than the key, they appear cooler in comparison.


You can gel the edge light of course for a warmer effect. That shot of Denzel Washington in the car has a warmer edge (actually probably just 3200K) because the key is blue coming through the front windshield. You see this throughout the movie -- when the key is closer to daylight, the edge might be tungsten and look warm in comparison. Most of the time, it's the other way though, they use warmer keys and bluer edges.

For night interiors, I usually put a 1/4 or 1/2 CTO on a soft edge to make it feel like it could be from the glow from an under-3200K table lamp.

A hotter (overexposed) edge will always look "whiter" than the color of the key if both are the same color.

And some darker-skinned actors do have a color bias in the skin that may be cooler or warmer.
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Aerial Filmworks

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Rig Wheels Passport