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Lighting an alley at night


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#1 Chris Saul

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 08:36 PM

I need to light a 50 yard long alley at night but I don't have much of a budget. I'm going to use the new vision3 500T and super speed primes. I was wondering if I could light it with some Maxi brutes 12 pars and If it would work how many? I'm planning on having several lights down the alley I just wanted some big lights for fill or perhaps rim light. I also want to gel the lights to look like vapor lights. What gel combination do I need. I've heard 1/2 CTO and plus green.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 12:42 AM

Maxi brutes seem a little excessive for only 50 yards of alley and 500 ASA film. If you want to create pools of light as though they are created by streetlights, I would probably use 2K's or 5K's mounted up high, depending on the rig you want. You might get away with 1K par cans as well (all gelled, of course). Then, you could supplement the edge and fill with other units. There's no right or wrong way to go about it; it just depends on the look you want and f-stop you need to shoot at.

Do a search for "sodium vapor" for different gel recipes (everyone has their own approach). I find most sodium streetlights to be of the pinkish-orange variety, so the plusgreen route doesn't work for me (sodium usually actually spikes in magenta, not the other way around).
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#3 Jimmy Browning

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 03:54 AM

I once read that sometimes the best advice for lighting is: don't. Overlighting can ruin the naturalism of what's already there.

I shot a similar scene recently, and my lighting consisted of walking the actor up and down the alley to find the sweet spot with what was already there, and then shooting in that location. The only thing I ran power to was the sound guy ;) If the alley you're shooting at has some streetlights and other sources around, consider using what's there as a start. With 500 speed stock and super speeds, you may not need to do much lighting at all, at least for the wider shots, and maybe just sweeten up the closer stuff. Take a digital SLR down there and get some test shots at the ISO and fstop you plan on working at.

Here's a few test shots I got for my shoot on a digital SLR, set to 1/48 shutter speed, f/2.8, and 320 ISO (I underrated the stock slightly):

Posted Image

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I don't know much about your alley or what kind of look you're going for, or what stop you need to shoot at, but hopefully this helps.
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#4 Alex Haspel

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 04:51 AM

we once did the following on a little low budget show i was gaffing:

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in order to direction-wise play it as street lights hanging above the middle of the street we had some 1x1meter foamcore wuth silver bubble on it hanging out of the window to a flat we access to and bounced a par64 into each one. (with cp60 globes, i believe)

some creative rigging utilizing available stands:
Posted Image

this should get you plenty of light considering you got 500asa stock and superspeeds. you might even consider to nd the lights down to 2 or whatever stop your focus puller can handle on the specific shot to not loose to much of tha available light in the background.
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 06:04 PM

Whatever lighting you do use or don't use, be careful when you start using wide angle lenses at night wide open. Focus is critical.

Best

Tim
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