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#1 michael rand

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 02:46 PM

yes, you read that correctly...night for day

It will be a steadicam walking shot inside this restaurant following talent (see pictures). The company has agreed to let me do this after hours around 11pm. Here is my plan. I'm open to any criticisms or better ideas.

note: will never see any windows and if we do i will probably add some frost and blast them with light so it appears blown out.

THE APPROACH:
each window will have a 48X48 piece of opal taped directly to window. My plan is to use tungsten lights fro outside to bring the ambient level of the restuarant up but also to add hotspots from a simulated sun. Most of the lights from the ext. will partially hit the opal and partially shoot thru the windows above and below the opal gel, thus creating strong but subtle sunspots while increasing ambient level.

I plan to use a 300amp generator to power two 5Ks and eight 2ks from outside. Basically using half of these on the "dining side" and half on the "ordering side'. Most likely aimed thru the windows (and opal) at an angle - not perpendicular.


On the "ordering side" of the restaurant, one 5K fresnel will shoot through 3 windows. On the "dining side" one 5 K (tungsten) will be used thru 4 windows (opal again). Additionally, 8 2Ks fresnels (tungsten) will be used from outside.

This will either be shot on a HVX200 or a dvx100

Color Temp inside is around 4200K from the overhead flourescents and all the tungsten practicals inside are 2800K (but aren't accomplishing much)

I might have a P.A. hollywood a small 2 bulb kino flo as we follow talent thru restuarant to key.

Thank you for any advice or better ideas.
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#2 michael rand

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 02:48 PM

also will add interior lights, maybe some 2ks zips, kino flo 4 bulbs as need to fill in

Edited by michaelrand, 06 March 2008 - 02:50 PM.

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#3 michael rand

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 01:33 PM

specific questions:

1. if a specific window were to be seen by camera, are there any alternatives to adding half frost (crew is limited and cutting that to match could take some time).

2. any thoughts about the approach of shooting some lights thru opal (on windows), thus rasing ambient level, and shooting some lights direct (to create some natural sun hotspots)

thanks for any advice. Feel free to criticize my approach if anyone sees issues
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 02:43 PM

You've got the right basic idea, although your lighting package seems pretty small for the size space and windows you're dealing with.

It's not uncommon to use a "soft topper" like you describe; diffusing at the top of a window to create daytime ambience and letting hard light leak through below the diffusion to simulate direct sunlight coming in at a higher angle. However, opal is pretty thin for this sort of thing; usually you'd go pretty heavy like 216 or gridcloth (with much bigger lights).

The danger in using lights that are too weak and diffusion that is too thin is you end up with a set that looks like it's lit with small lights and opal a night, instead of creating the convincing illusion of real sunlight and daylight. Since you've specified it's a steadicam shot I'm guessing that means you're going to see a lot of the space, which can be a challenge. Because otherwise, the typical solution to having too few/too small lights is to frame your shots much tighter and bring your lights in closer to get to the proper levels.

If you can manage it you might be better off creating your sunlight as 3/4 backlight, and filling in softly from the front. That way you can cluster several lights close together to create a good blast of hard sunlight (backlighting helps hide the multiple shadows), and then use the remaining lights into bounce or diffusion for soft fill.

My rule of thumb for creating convincing sunlight is to aim for an just an insane contrast ratio between sunlight and indoor ambience, and then tone down the levels into something manageable. You might have to disable or diffuse the overhead fluorescents if you want them to play, just to maintain enough contrast between your "sunlight" and the interior levels.

For the window that appears on camera it's generally better to light up a white backdrop outside the window rather than light diffusion on the glass itself. Lit diffusion on a window will "glow" and tends to look like the cheat that it is; whereas a lit backdrop emulates the real thing. You can use a frame of griff or ultrabounce, or even clean white foamcore for the background, and put some plants just outside the window to enhance depth. Sometimes you can dress the window with blinds or even subtle diffusion to obscure the view, if that's appropriate for the space. Fast food joints sometimes have blinds, so partially-opened miniblinds are the quickest fix.
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