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#1 John Brawley

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 07:22 AM

Just left over from another discussion about car lighting, here's an example of using xmas and rope lighting.

I really like these light sources, because they are so simple and easy to deploy. The light is pretty warm, and falls off very quickly. Although there are many point sources of light, they sort of join together to form a softish source, which is great for a bit of ambience. Because they take up no room you can throw them on the floor or stick them inside a door jam.

They fall off very quickly and are easy to control.....

Aside from being really easy to hide, they are also really cheap ! Attached is a short I shot in 2006 in which i used a lot of these little guys. Most of the night interiors are lit with pracs and xmas lights. There were also a few 300W arri's hidden here and there, mostly for the walls.

I think I had 2x10 meter lengths and a 40 meter length
Look at about 2 mins in. The night interiors were also day for night...

The stock was Vision 2 200T. Shot with Ultra Primes at T2 (all the interiors that is)..

enjoy..

http://www.johnbrawl...&...w=500&h=270
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#2 robert duke

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 11:26 AM

Its interesting because I have worked with several gaffers ( Rafeal Sanchez, to name one) who use x mas lights a lot. they build 4x4 frames and string the lights on them. you have a thin portable soft source. they are a little warm, 28ook ish, but can make some really nice light.

I think some younger DP's and gaffers get hung up on having to use conventional fixtures. the light has to be made by a movie light. they cut themselves out of a freedom to experiment and find some really nice stuff.

I once out of desperation used a Laptop for fill light in a music video. We were b&w, and in closeups. I actually grabbed the producer's laptop and handheld it. It worked.

X mas lights are really great lighting options.
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 12:50 PM

I once out of desperation used a Laptop for fill light in a music video. We were b&w, and in closeups. I actually grabbed the producer's laptop and handheld it. It worked.


Hey, I've seen a DP, during a power outage, pull out a xenon flashlight and a styrofoam cup to light an actor's face. After that, I'm open to anything :)
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 01:11 PM

Just left over from another discussion about car lighting, here's an example of using xmas and rope lighting.

I really like these light sources, because they are so simple and easy to deploy. The light is pretty warm, and falls off very quickly. Although there are many point sources of light, they sort of join together to form a softish source, which is great for a bit of ambience. Because they take up no room you can throw them on the floor or stick them inside a door jam.

They fall off very quickly and are easy to control.....

Aside from being really easy to hide, they are also really cheap ! Attached is a short I shot in 2006 in which i used a lot of these little guys. Most of the night interiors are lit with pracs and xmas lights. There were also a few 300W arri's hidden here and there, mostly for the walls.

I think I had 2x10 meter lengths and a 40 meter length
Look at about 2 mins in. The night interiors were also day for night...

The stock was Vision 2 200T. Shot with Ultra Primes at T2 (all the interiors that is)..

enjoy..

http://www.johnbrawl...&...w=500&h=270


Link is dead. Firefox won't load it.

Problem is, most X-mas light contain LEAD. Trying to avoid it at all costs these days. They do look cool. But Health vs Look? Hmmm . . .
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#5 Sherri Johnson

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:48 PM

wow john, I just saw your website and I'm fascinated. I dunno if this is the right place fot this kind of comment, but I love cinematography and want to learn more and get into the field. I've been a portrait and event photog for 8+ years (I'm 26) ...but movies is where my heart is. Any advice from you guys to start?

www.sherrijphotography.com
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#6 Matt Irwin

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:00 PM

Its interesting because I have worked with several gaffers ( Rafeal Sanchez, to name one) who use x mas lights a lot. they build 4x4 frames and string the lights on them. you have a thin portable soft source. they are a little warm, 28ook ish, but can make some really nice light.


I just used exactly this rig on a shoot a few days ago that involved a period firelit interior. We had six 4x4 xmas light webs inside a 4x4 frame that was backed with mirrored bubble wrap for extra punch. Four webs were tied through a hand squeezer and two were non-dim-- perfect for soft wrap around fill.
Rope lights work great in a clump for BS'ing candle light from a table...
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#7 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:54 PM

I watched this short without sound and forgot all about the X-mas lights because I was so drawn into the story?s world.

I don?t know the right terms, but I found the overall lighting and color providing a very favorable dimension of visual subtext that underscores the emotional tone of each scene, kind of a subtly urgent canvas for the actors to manifest story through character upon.

The facial illumination in many of the close-ups is beautiful as well, and to me really demonstrates the impact a close-up can have in terms of getting emotion across.

Thanks for sharing it.
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#8 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 04:17 PM

Link is dead. Firefox won't load it.


I'm using Firefox and it loads fine.
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#9 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:01 PM

I'm using Firefox and it loads fine.


Did finally load! Great stuff!
S
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#10 Jonathan Bruno

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:46 PM

Just left over from another discussion about car lighting, here's an example of using xmas and rope lighting.

I really like these light sources, because they are so simple and easy to deploy. The light is pretty warm, and falls off very quickly. Although there are many point sources of light, they sort of join together to form a softish source, which is great for a bit of ambience. Because they take up no room you can throw them on the floor or stick them inside a door jam.

They fall off very quickly and are easy to control.....

Aside from being really easy to hide, they are also really cheap ! Attached is a short I shot in 2006 in which i used a lot of these little guys. Most of the night interiors are lit with pracs and xmas lights. There were also a few 300W arri's hidden here and there, mostly for the walls.

I think I had 2x10 meter lengths and a 40 meter length
Look at about 2 mins in. The night interiors were also day for night...

The stock was Vision 2 200T. Shot with Ultra Primes at T2 (all the interiors that is)..

enjoy..

http://www.johnbrawl...&...w=500&h=270


I'm glad you put this up. I've been planning a shoot for this spring and I thought of using xmas lights for and exterior scene. It's good to see that someone has already put it to use.
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#11 John Brawley

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 05:35 AM

wow john, I just saw your website and I'm fascinated. I dunno if this is the right place fot this kind of comment, but I love cinematography and want to learn more and get into the field. I've been a portrait and event photog for 8+ years (I'm 26) ...but movies is where my heart is. Any advice from you guys to start?

www.sherrijphotography.com



Well !

Welcome Sherri

You've come to the right place...

There are lots of threads on this site bout getting up and running. It's going to take a while....You may get a little bit of a head start with a photography background....


Have you done any moving pictures ?

jb
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#12 John Brawley

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:21 PM

I think some younger DP's and gaffers get hung up on having to use conventional fixtures. the light has to be made by a movie light. they cut themselves out of a freedom to experiment and find some really nice stuff.



Yep..

I love fishing around in the chinese $2 shops. Just today i bought some Dayligh (ish) led based camping lights that run off batteries.....
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#13 John Brawley

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:36 PM

I don?t know the right terms, but I found the overall lighting and color providing a very favorable dimension of visual subtext that underscores the emotional tone of each scene, kind of a subtly urgent canvas for the actors to manifest story through character upon.



Thanks for the kind words Buddy.

I actually hadn't watched it again, but going back through and watching it reminded me of some of the issues when we were shooting.

The actors were fairly in-experinced. This was the girls first film and i think the guy had only done one other.

The director found in her rehersals that the first take was the best in terms of performance. The more the rehearsed the more the thought about it, the more mechanical they became. So she wanted to basically aim to always make the first take the go take, and to essentially not rehearse them in the space. So we would stage the scene and discuss it with the actors, and then they would just do it.

Neither of them were really aware of the concept of hitting marks, and again we wanted to try and not impose too many film-making processes on the younger cast on set. We wanted to On top of that, visually, we wanted to try and confine them within the frame. You'll notice they are constantly peering around door jams or over fences.

To do this, and to partly hide the location we decided to shoot very long lens whenever we could.

But the only way I could think of covering the no rehearsals no marks approach was to shoot handheld. That way, I could reframe in shot if indeeded. I also did most of my own focus pulling as well, even though I had the excellent services of another Cinematography.com member Allyn Lang as a focus puller.

I was often handholding a 100mm and the day interior shots at the beginning of Haley walking out were a hand held 200mm Canon !

I actually think we went too far there. I find it pretty distracting that the frame is shifting around so much....

Still we got some great performances I think, with everything kind-of improvised. Including the camera really...

jb
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#14 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 04:11 AM

We too used X-mas lights on a recent shot. DP Alex Pueringer brought some in he'd always wanted to use and so we did. Used them for a nice eye light.

Posted Image

Worked out nice, although I can't supply a still right now.

Here's one more set picture:

Posted Image

Cheers, Dave
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#15 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 04:20 AM

Sorry for the error, here's the second picture. Mods, please delete one in the above post if you will. Thanks, Dave

Posted Image
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#16 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 09:09 AM

John, I went to the World of Women Film Festival here in Adelaide. The initial shot of the glass coming into focus came on screen and I thought they were repeating one of the films by mistake. Then I realised I recognised it from watching it linked from this thread earlier today! It looked great on the big screen and I didn't find the handheld / long lens shots distracting, despite the screen size. I'd love to see some stills of the actual lights you used if you have any, just to see the context.

David, did you should through the ring of Xmas lights? It's a little hard to tell from the stills.
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#17 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 01:05 PM

David, did you should through the ring of Xmas lights? It's a little hard to tell from the stills.


Yes we shot through the ring of lights. Gave a nice sparkle in the talent's eyes. Will provide a still from the footage if possible.

Cheers, Dave
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#18 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 02:35 PM

John,
I was wondering about the handheld, but given the circumstances I'd say you made it workout rather well.


David,
I love the light ring, I'm making one myself with the metal rim from a snare drum.

-Buddy-
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#19 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 03:58 PM

David,
I love the light ring, I'm making one myself with the metal rim from a snare drum.


Hi Buddy,

we just used a piece of scrap metal we found on location for the ring. We were shooting in a house undergoing renovation. We used all kinds of stuff we found there, e.g. a piece of iron fence that threw a nice shadow :D

Cheers, Dave
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#20 Buddy Greenfield

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 10:30 PM

Hats off for taking it to the next level and implementing what you found on location, I bet it was funny at times.

I too try to see junk as solution in a readily available state of pre-assembly.

Viva La Duct Tape!
-Buddy-
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