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Lighting an Acid Trip


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#1 Liam Thomson

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:10 AM

I'm working on an short in which a man is on acid and my mind is blown as to how to light/shoot this to achieve a decent effect. I have gone back and watched Fear and Loathing (for obvious reasons) but only figured from it to shoot all Wide and off axis. I just thought i would ask everyone on the board what they would do for a situation like this, as it gives you pretty much limitless creativity to mess around! Any Thoughts?
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#2 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:34 AM

I hate to say it... but maybe try some acid? :unsure:
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#3 Valerio Sacchetto

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:40 AM

I'm working on an short in which a man is on acid and my mind is blown as to how to light/shoot this to achieve a decent effect. I have gone back and watched Fear and Loathing (for obvious reasons) but only figured from it to shoot all Wide and off axis. I just thought i would ask everyone on the board what they would do for a situation like this, as it gives you pretty much limitless creativity to mess around! Any Thoughts?


As you just said a situation like this one gives you limitless creativity and everyone may see it in a different way and it would still be legitimate. Wide and off axis is just one thing and not very related to "lighting". You should find your own idea of how things look when under the influence of drugs. You may read descriptions of people who had the experience, medical reports, reference your dreams, paintings etc etc... For example things often used are overexposure mimicking mydriasis (excessive dilation of the pupil), slo-mo for the delay in reflexes, the same image superimposed with a bit of delay for the confusion and so on. These are just examples...
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#4 Scott Bryant

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:44 AM

I think this would be a fun opportunity to really play with lots of extreme colors.
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#5 Frank Barrera

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 11:59 AM

Which camera will you be using?
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:00 PM

Try and get hold of a film called "The Trip" directed by Roger Corman ,written by Jack Nicholson, think Peter Fonda is the lead actor ,might give you some ideas its really weird .
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#7 Paul Bruening

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:11 PM

Such events, for the user, involve unimpeded brain activity. The brain feeds information to itself and produces hyper real imagery. This occurs both with data received from the eyes seeing the physical world, which the brain alters in some cases, and images manufactured by the brain for the brain. It's not just a matter of weirdness, which is what most artistic presentations center on, it is also the hyper perceptive aspects. The problem with hyper perception is that your format will be the same regardless of the scene content. They had the same problem with Brain Storm. They often chose wide angle lenses to at least emulate the expansive nature of the character's experience (even though the movie's theme did not involve drugs). I'm afraid the tools available to you are the same ones available for the ordinary dream sequences. You will be able to imply the brain event but not really demonstrate it.
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#8 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:23 PM

This isn't lighting, but you may try swing/shift lenses. Also, I would think a lot of the effects would be created/embellished in post, i.e. liquidizing or strange morphs.

Or perhaps you could just shoot them on a greenscreen and layer them over a swirling, paisley fractal. :P
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#9 Scott Bryant

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 01:09 PM

I feel like a realist acid trip is sort of an oxymoron. After all, I don't think the majority of people who are screening your film are going to know the experience of an acid trip. I say go big on color and anything surreal. Maybe even strange set construction like Caligari or something.
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#10 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 01:19 PM

You can find references in this web at the subforum Jobs, reel, resumes, . There's a great job/interpretation about drugs (visual styles) by Joshua Reis posted recently, take a look of his job, perhaps helps you.
I think you can obtain more interesting effects doing in camera as Chad say using shift and tilt lenses or kaminski lensbabies... Obviously using the correct lighting you could achieve a great work
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#11 Ken Zukin

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 02:09 PM

Why not a simple montage? Check out "Dark Passage" -- a b/w (Bogart-Bacall) film from the 40's. There's a nice flashback sequence in the film -- simple and effective. Music will be important too.
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#12 Nik Samal

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 02:39 PM

depends on how this old guy is supposed to be buzzing off it. acid can be borrrrrrring as.
my mate did some at a music festival one time and he kept swaying back and forth. turns out he was watching the big screen whilst morrisey was swinging his mic round and my mate thought morrisey had turned into a giant and was trying to hit him with the mic. fun.
but the point of this is maybe think about perception as well as colour and lighting? though this thread is for lighting
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#13 Paul Bruening

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 02:51 PM

Holy Cow! Tripping with Morrisey. He was recently here in town recording at Sweet Tea Records. My wife and I totally hoped to bump into him around town for a totally suck-up moment. Totally. It would have been panic on the streets of Oxford.
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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:12 PM

Try and get hold of a film called "The Trip" directed by Roger Corman ,written by Jack Nicholson, think Peter Fonda is the lead actor ,might give you some ideas its really weird .


Ooooh! You beat me to it! :)

I like this film a lot as you already know! :)
I guess you could watch yellow submarine which was supposed to be a trippy animation although personally I'd rather watch "dougal and the blue cat" although it can get a bit frightening in places with the power mad blue lady in the castle trying to mess everything up and turn everything blue!
Thankfully Dougal and the gang manage to thwart her plans....

...unlike in real life. :(

love

Freya
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#15 Ollie Bartlett

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:16 PM

its true... taking acid would result in the creation of the most genius lighting plans and shot lists ever devised by man, so clever in fact that they might have to be kept secret from those not tripping, from those around you that aren't on the same level as you, from those whose eyes havnt been opened.

... in the morning though, none of these brilliant plans, not even those written in what seems to be peanut butter (you hope) on your lounge wall will make the slightest bit of sense.

what about using things like source 4's to light background walls. with some colour and a decent a gobo slipped in, you could very easily shift the focus of the projected background pattern using the lens on the light, subtly changing the environment around the character. could be a bit theatrical, but it depends what youre going for.

additionally, someone showed me this a while ago.



good, caustic, brain fizzing sound design could be key for you.
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#16 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:18 PM

Two movies I love for the way they're lit in these types of scenes are "Altered States" and more comically a short by Wim Wenders which I forget the name of but its part of the "Ten minutes older: The Trumpet" shorts collection. "Altered States" does some great stuff with some unmotivated (or motivated in the minds eye I guess) sparklers and fireworks going off in the background early on when he first tries the Peyote. Im not sure your going to find anything definitive here but somethings I would look at would be Camera rigs the actors can wear like a Snorre cam perhaps with a set of Shift Tilts and a misaligned shutter effect like in a Paul Cameron film or like "The Limey"'s dream sequences.
Good Luck.
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#17 Xavier Plaza

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:59 PM

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I remember years ago have seen the Natural born killers making of where someone I guess Stone say in the particular desert scene (EXT-DAY) all the crew use acid or mushrooms, perhaps my memory betray me but I remember that. Anyway i guess Natural born killers could be other perfect example, how to achieve the drugs effects using the cinematic language...
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#18 Billy Furnett

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 06:51 PM

That Peter Fonda flick made me laugh when I saw it, it?s awesome! lol

1. Kaleidoscope/ Greenscreen effects of course.
2. Little instances of slow shutter speed effect so movement leaves trails, or tracers.
3. Random quick double exposure instances so the character is stepping out of himself.
4. Overhead project colored liquids of varying density.
5. Your character should look at his hands and see them as having a pulsing glow.
6. He should be fascinated by textured surfaces as if they have sudden pronounced topography.
7. Shapes and patterns (Like wall paper) have movement as if vying for dominance.
8. The walls breath and ripple at times.
9. Geometric optical illusions.

10. The pattern recognition (matrixing?) effect (Like pictures in clouds) produced by projected sand art is kind of like tripping at times. It?d be out there to see that kind of process projected on the walls as his sand art drawn thoughts and emotions.

But if the character isn?t tripping for the whole thing, then like was suggested, montage it:

Focus goes in and out for a second>
Guy is kind of squinting and unsteady>
He waves his hand in front of his face >
and sees a trail in slow mo>
Freak out MUSIC STARTS>
He stares open mouthed at a Lite Bright>
Pan over to the clock: 4:20 >
Match dissolve on the clock: 9:15 >
Pan back over to find him still looking at the Lite Bright mouth still hung open,
?I could totally get into this.? >
He?s hugging a house plant crying ?I never knew you felt this way either!!? >
He?s frantically painting a mural on the kitchen floor with condiments >
He?s running down the middle of the street naked except for the living room drapes,
?If I don?t believe in the letter M it can?t hurt meeee!? >
BLACK>
BIRDS TWEET >
He opens his eyes to see someone staring down at him,
?Are you Jesus?? ? ?Uh huh, I?m Jesus alright!!? >
Reveal he?s like on ground outside of a shopping mall and ?Jesus? is really a custodian sweeping up cigarette butts,
?Cooool.. Can I get your autograph dude?? >
Show the completed mural on the kitchen floor >
End.
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#19 Sebastian Andexer

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 09:14 PM

If you want to simulate an acid trip its going to be all in the production design, actors etc... Lighting will only go so far.
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#20 Liam Thomson

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:26 PM

Hahahh thanks everyone, i know its not technically lighting, and i suppose i could have put it in general but i figured this section would get the best feed back and it definitely did. the general extent of the acid trip takes place in a living room and then he runs to a forest. I am definitely going to use some of these ideas though. This freedom excitse me alot, i just hope the small budget (aka nearly zill) wont get in the way.

We're shooting on a SI-2K mini for whoever was asking and we have a 12-100 zoom and two primes 9.5 and 35.
we basically have the gear of a independent production at our disposal which is excellent. But i think we're going to have to get creative in post

also im going to look into those films suggested see if any further ideas will come from them. . . or maybe i should just go drop some acid and see what happens.

Any further ideas would be greatly appreciateD!!!!
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