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Lighting a long hallway


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#1 Wes Fribley

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:10 PM

I'm lighting a shoot that involves a dolly shot down a long hallway. I've got a five-point Mole-Richardson kit (1K two 650s and a 350 and a 150) as well as three HMIs. I'm fine in the mids and closeups, it's just the master shot that I'm a bit worried about. Ideas?
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#2 Alexander Disenhof

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:26 PM

What kind of look are you going for? flat high-key lighting? Low-key with spotty lighting? Is the hallway white or light in color, or dark? Some more information is needed.
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:36 PM

It's a classic nightmare.

The best is to go with the built in lighting (or enhance it by swapping for stronger bulbs etc) - that looks the most natural and if you can find or design a pretty hallway, this is
often the best way.

Another way is to play all as a silhouette by blasting light either directly or as a bounce from the end. Depending on the surfaces in the hallway, this can look pretty cool and do nice
reflections in the walls and doors. It works particularly well in slightly sterile environments with shiny floors, like hospitals or municipal buildings.

Third is to front light, but this rarely looks good unless you go for that "look". Perfectly doable for a music video, but harder to pull off for dramatic work without it "saying" something.

In the ever-growing category of things-you-don't-wan't-to-light-ever-again, hallways have a given place. Here are some of them:

Hallways
Stairways
Forests at night
Car Interiors
Tight practical locations with white walls (the only kind you get when you're on a low budget, funnily).
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#4 Wes Fribley

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:16 PM

Yeah my first reaction was to do the silhouette thing by bouncing some serious wattage off the back wall (at the end of the hallway) and then add in
splashes of fill through the doors that line the hall. But I'll consider using the existing fluorescents and just go out and get some high CRI tubes. Thanks for the input!

I am going for a bright natural (flatish) look which is one reason I was a little skeptical of the bouncing method (although that would be an excellent way to light a night hallway scene). The hallway is an eggshell blue.
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#5 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 11:17 PM

Hallways
Stairways
Forests at night
Car Interiors
Tight practical locations with white walls (the only kind you get when you're on a low budget, funnily).


I just want to put another vote in for car interiors and small white rooms...
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#6 anchorlessfilms

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 12:46 AM

The light splashing through the side doorways would be a nice highlight to the side of the subject if they are also progressing through the hallway. Maybe throw a window cookie in front of them to simulate the windows inside the rooms...

What time of day is your action taking place? High noon? Magic Hour (more like magic 15 minutes :0)?
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 08:15 PM

One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is creating a strong sense of depth and space in a hallway. To my eye, hallways tend to look pretty lame if they are totally even but if you can make area of light and dark as one walks down the hallway you can make even a pretty lame location look pretty dynamic.

Here's something I did recently; it would be pretty extreme for a lot of movies but it works in the context of this film. The setting is a sleep lab (we shot in a real one) at night, the main character is a night watchman there.

Posted Image

Edited by Chris Keth, 15 February 2008 - 08:16 PM.

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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 08:25 PM

Yeah my first reaction was to do the silhouette thing by bouncing some serious wattage off the back wall (at the end of the hallway) and then add in
splashes of fill through the doors that line the hall. But I'll consider using the existing fluorescents and just go out and get some high CRI tubes. Thanks for the input!

I am going for a bright natural (flatish) look which is one reason I was a little skeptical of the bouncing method (although that would be an excellent way to light a night hallway scene). The hallway is an eggshell blue.


Just so you know, your first reaction sounds pretty good, really. I would do exactly that and use the existing flouros. Adds bits here and there where needed. If it's a walk and talk sort of thing, a walking china ball or kino is golden for nice fill that move with you.
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Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc