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Advice on lighting setup for interrogation room


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#1 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 03:44 PM

Hey everyone.

I'm going to be shooting a scene in an interrogation room. I would just like to have people's thoughts on my approach. I am shooting on 5218 500T and hoping to maintain an aperture of about T 4.0.

The room consists of a 3 walls. The first wall has a mirror about 7'x4' on it. I plan on lighting all around it either with kino flos (I can hide) or with a ring light all around.

The adjacent wall has a door in the center, with 2 frosted glass panels on either side. I want to punch 1Ks through both panels, allowing any outside actors to create silloughettes in the background.

The third wall is rather plain. I would also like to put sconces all around the room to motivate a warm backlight.

In the middle of the room, of course, will be a table and chairs where the actors will talk and move about. The key light will come from above. I want to hang a skypan with a 2k bulb in it and run it through some form of light diffusion. I also want to hang black material around it, so that the light focuses mainly on the table, and falls off towards the walls.

I would like to get a green spike from the skypan, suggesting florescents. I am however unsure of how to do this.

Any comments, ideas, thoughts, whatever...please let me hear it. Thanks.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 03:49 PM

Is this black & white or color? If color, I question using backlights unless motivated by a daytime window in the room. A simple soft but bright source over the center of the room would probably look best, skirted to keep the sides a little darker, depending on the effect you want.
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#3 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 04:13 PM

It is in color.

The reason I thought of the backlights is because the movie is to be very stylized (I should have mentioned that). I am more prone to naturalism but in this case the director wants the audience to know they are watching a film. The backlight I thought would add a feel of c.s.i. to the movie, which goes with the overall tone.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 05:27 PM

Even CSI tries to motivate the stronger backlighting, either suggesting that it's coming from a window, or it's part of the wall fixtures being used, like from track lighting or spot lights.
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#5 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 08:41 PM

Thanks David.

Any ideas on enhancing the lighting to make it more stylized? We're going to be working with a very deep focus, again giving a more cinematic experience than a natural one.
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#6 Bill Totolo

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 09:30 AM

This might sound basic but don't forget to take the reflectivity of the table into account.

I just shot an interrogation scene over a glossy black table and found the finish helpful to the look I wanted.
If it were lighter it would have completely changed the mood. Also, I wonder how a matte finish would have looked?
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#7 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:47 PM

This might sound basic but don't forget to take the reflectivity of the table into account.

I just shot an interrogation scene over a glossy black table and found the finish helpful to the look I wanted.
If it were lighter it would have completely changed the mood. Also, I wonder how a matte finish would have looked?


In regards to your comment Bill, I have thought about it. But thanks for pointing it out. I'm definitely trying to get a surface that won't be too reflective. Based on the top lighting approach, I am going to get some raccoon eyes - which I feel fits the story. Too much bounce from the table and I might take some of that away.
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#8 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:41 PM

Is this black & white or color? If color, I question using backlights unless motivated by a daytime window in the room. A simple soft but bright source over the center of the room would probably look best, skirted to keep the sides a little darker, depending on the effect you want.


When I read this, I wondered what else you might do in order to be able to see the actors eyes, then read Milan's
post below in which he says the raccoon eyes look might work for the film. Out of curiosity though, if you did hope to
do most of the lighting in such a situation with something overhead, what might you do for eyelights? I know that there
are lots of options but for this example, let's say a practical location, a dull non reflective table and you want to be able to shoot 360 degrees.

I think that I might hang a couple of small units that would catch the say detective/suspect most of the time and put a little
light in the eyes. It seems to me that "Law and Order, CI" is rather toplighted but may augment a bit for when the detectives are seated and then when say one stands up then the top light is caught more easily by the actors eyes. What do you think?
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#9 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 09:10 AM

I'm going to use one 2' kino bulb next to camera with 216 on it. I am going to determine on set whether gelling it 1/2 CTO, to match the sconces. That of course is when that eye light just needs to be there.

Edited by Milan Stanojevic, 01 March 2008 - 09:11 AM.

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#10 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:54 AM

I'm going to use one 2' kino bulb next to camera with 216 on it. I am going to determine on set whether gelling it 1/2 CTO, to match the sconces. That of course is when that eye light just needs to be there.



Thanks, that's good to know. I haven't done an eyelight that way before because I usually don't have access to
Kinos. I've built up my kit so I attempt to use that most often. I'd like to use different lights but usually am renting out what
I already have.
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#11 David Auner aac

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:35 PM

I'm going to use one 2' kino bulb next to camera with 216 on it. I am going to determine on set whether gelling it 1/2 CTO, to match the sconces. That of course is when that eye light just needs to be there.


From my point of view warm light is kind of out of place in an interrogation room. Unless of course the scene filmed is not an interrogation. If it is a love scene taking place there, by all means it could be warmly lit. :D
I'd go for an overall steel blue tone with a little green added to taste. Why not light part of the room with cheap fluros? That way you could even have them in the shot too.
I'd probably have two 4' tubes suspended over the table, visible in the frame, maybe augmented by hidden Kinos. Leave the transparent wall rather dark, silhouettes are nice, but it shouldn't light the room. Have the corners of the room go really dark. Play with the mirror (rack focus from mirrored image to real person etc). I kind of like the idea of a shiny table. could be used to cheat in a little light from below for that sinister look. I usually use a Dedo with 1'x1' softbox for an eyelight, works nicely because I can dim it to taste.

Cheers, Dave
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#12 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:44 PM

From my point of view warm light is kind of out of place in an interrogation room. Unless of course the scene filmed is not an interrogation. If it is a love scene taking place there, by all means it could be warmly lit. :D
I'd go for an overall steel blue tone with a little green added to taste. Why not light part of the room with cheap fluros? That way you could even have them in the shot too.
I'd probably have two 4' tubes suspended over the table, visible in the frame, maybe augmented by hidden Kinos. Leave the transparent wall rather dark, silhouettes are nice, but it shouldn't light the room. Have the corners of the room go really dark. Play with the mirror (rack focus from mirrored image to real person etc). I kind of like the idea of a shiny table. could be used to cheat in a little light from below for that sinister look. I usually use a Dedo with 1'x1' softbox for an eyelight, works nicely because I can dim it to taste.

Cheers, Dave


I agree with you that the warm light is out of place. The director wanted a mix of orange and green within the scene. I guess I'll just leave the sconces as the only warm element (ignore the backlight). The 1Ks for the silhouettes do not bring much light into the room and I totally agree with you Dave.

Great idea about hiding some lights below. That might work really well actually.

As for the flourosents - I would've loved to have them in shot, but the art direction just can't do it. How do I give the scene that look though? Do I gel my softbox with a tough 1/2 plus green?
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#13 David Auner aac

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:51 PM

As for the flourosents - I would've loved to have them in shot, but the art direction just can't do it. How do I give the scene that look though? Do I gel my softbox with a tough 1/2 plus green?


Why can't they do it? What kind of ceiling does the room have?
Personally I wouldn't use a tungsten with a soft box. It takes up too much space, unless your ceiling is really high. But using 1/2 Plusgreen might work.
Why not tape the fluros or Kinos or whatever to a boom and gel them if needed?

Cheers, Dave
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#14 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 03:44 PM

Actually if I can hang a 4 bank kino flo above the table, I think that would give off a nice look. Gelled green, like you said. I'm shooting this next weekend and when it's done, i'll post pictures.
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#15 Ken Zukin

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 04:40 PM

Don't know if it would fit your project, but what about making the key light a practical? Like an interrogation scene from a classic Film Noir -- where the key is hanging from the ceiling -- and clearly shows up in the master shots.

It's dramatic and probably something that lends itself better with black and white. You might also look at what Conrad Hall did in the "torture" scene between Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man." Or check out the opening interrogation scene of "Murder My Lovely," which is a classic Film Noir.
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#16 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:00 PM

Don't know if it would fit your project, but what about making the key light a practical? Like an interrogation scene from a classic Film Noir -- where the key is hanging from the ceiling -- and clearly shows up in the master shots.

It's dramatic and probably something that lends itself better with black and white. You might also look at what Conrad Hall did in the "torture" scene between Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man." Or check out the opening interrogation scene of "Murder My Lovely," which is a classic Film Noir.


I will check out both of those films. Thanks a lot
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#17 Ken Zukin

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:35 AM

The correct title of the movie is "Murder My Sweet." I got my Raymond Chandler's mixed up. Good luck.

Ken
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#18 James Brown

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:57 AM

Hi,

You could go the other way and have a very sterile, white, overexposed look. I recently watched 25th hour again and it was quite interesting. I did something similar and had a bunch of Redheads (6) hanging from above with 251 & 1/4 + Green pointed directly down.
A fair bit of bounce from the cream table worked in my favor filling in the eyes.

Cheers.
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#19 Serge Teulon

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 10:58 AM

I'm going to use one 2' kino bulb next to camera with 216 on it. I am going to determine on set whether gelling it 1/2 CTO, to match the sconces. That of course is when that eye light just needs to be there.



Although kinos work I really like to have a small fresnel next to cam with narrow doors bounced off some white card. I feel it renders a nicer ping from the eyes.
Just my opinion.

Cheers
S

P.S If using table as fill then a white cloth or surface would work. Look at "Lust, Caution" as an example.

Edited by Serge Teulon, 04 March 2008 - 11:01 AM.

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#20 Milan Stanojevic

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 09:02 PM

Here are a couple stills on set. I color corrected them to show the final look of the film

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