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what light for sharp shadow of a character on a wall


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#1 Sing Lo

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 07:40 PM

I am looking for a broad hard light source with soft edge beam that can give a very well-defined shadow of a character on a wall; like scenes in the old film Noir mysterious lighting or BW Dracula movies.

I own several 650w, 1kw, 2kw Arri Studio fresnels and 150W Dedos. Only the Dedo can give sharpest shadow at full flood but it is not powerful enough. My bigger fresnels are too soft for such application at full flood and there is no enough room to move it far back to give sharpest shadow. I have tried the trick of light the subject with the edge of a fresnel beam to give better shadow definition but it is much dimmer.

I have no experience with par or open face, so I don't know if they can create sharper shadows than focusing spots. Any suggestion of tungsten lights would be appreciated (small HMI fresnel can give very sharp shadow but it is out of my budget). thanks

Edited by Sing Lo, 17 February 2008 - 07:43 PM.

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#2 J. Lamar King

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:06 PM

Try taking the lens out of your 2K studio fresnel. If the shadow edge is too sharp try some very light diffusion.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:08 PM

I usually use a 5K or 10K tungsten fresnel with the lens removed. Don't do that with an HMI fresnel unless you replace the fresnel with clear glass. Open faced and PAR's don't give a clean sharp shadow unless backed-up far enough.
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 03:46 PM

DeSisti's Goya light also does really sharp shadows.
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#5 Sing Lo

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:32 PM

thanks for the advice. I will try to remove the lens of my Mole Michardson fresnel which seems quite easy to do. The Arri studio 2k lens seems a bit complicated to dismount and I don't trust myself that I can put it back correctly.

Maybe I will try to put Hamburg frost on the fresnel without lens to soften the hard edge of the beam.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:35 PM

thanks for the advice. I will try to remove the lens of my Mole Michardson fresnel which seems quite easy to do. The Arri studio 2k lens seems a bit complicated to dismount and I don't trust myself that I can put it back correctly.

Maybe I will try to put Hamburg frost on the fresnel without lens to soften the hard edge of the beam.


What's the point if you needed a sharp shadow? You might as well leave the fresnel on and skip the frost. You'll get more light output that way.

Sometimes the door + lens is easier to remove than just the lens, but then it's hard to use the barndoors.
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#7 Sing Lo

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:26 AM

What's the point if you needed a sharp shadow? You might as well leave the fresnel on and skip the frost. You'll get more light output that way.

Sometimes the door + lens is easier to remove than just the lens, but then it's hard to use the barndoors.



You are right, probably Hamburg frost (the lightest frost) has the same level of diffusion as a frost fresnel glass; so it is not much point. You just get a hard edge circle of light if a fresnel is used without the lens. I am thinking of cutting a donut shape hamburg frost to be clipped in front of the fresnel with no lens so that only the edge of the beam is diffused; the rest of the beam is undiffused...I don't know if it might work.

It is quite difficult to dismount the lens door of Arri studio 2K so I will try the Mole.
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