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Lightning effect


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#1 ephraim

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:22 PM

In an upcoming project that I'm shooting, we're supposed to create a lightning effect for a scene that takes place in a storm on a boat. We'll be shooting the scene on a stage.

I've never actually had to create lightning, so I was hoping to get someone's expert opinion on what kind of lights work best, and any other kind of other advice for lighting a storm scene on a boat. I've heard that you can use lightning strikes, but that's about all I know.

Edited by ephraim, 26 June 2008 - 03:23 PM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:28 PM

A hard point source with a shutter on the front. I know the old carbon arcs used to be used for this type of effect with shutters on front for flashing (though that was, iirc, back in the b/w days).
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#3 David Rakoczy

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:37 PM

Lightning Strikes are great.. and easily controllable... the old school method of mashing Carbon Arcs (rods) together in a plexi box deliver a more... 'organic' strike. We used Carbon Arc Strikes on Stan Winston's PUMPKINHEAD. I love the mashed carbon arc method.. but you have to designate a plant just for that as it draws a ton of amps. I don't recommend 'Shutters'.. I have used them and they just don't 'feel' real..(to me). If I had a choice, I would use the carbon rod method any day. There is a sample of Lightning Strikes on my Feature Demo Reel (at the beginning there is an Exterior Night scene using Lightning Strikes.

Edited by David Rakoczy, 26 June 2008 - 03:41 PM.

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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:39 PM

Agreed on the shutters not feeling real. I had forgotten about the mis-striking of the arcs. Don't see too many arcs here in Philadelphia. Plus I'd not want to phantom the Amp draw on those units!
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#5 David Rakoczy

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 05:23 PM

Lightning Strikes are great.. and easily controllable... the old school method of mashing Carbon Arcs (rods) together in a plexi box deliver a more... 'organic' strike. We used Carbon Arc Strikes on Stan Winston's PUMPKINHEAD. I love the mashed carbon arc method.. but you have to designate a plant just for that as it draws a ton of amps. I don't recommend 'Shutters'.. I have used them and they just don't 'feel' real..(to me). If I had a choice, I would use the carbon rod method any day. There is a sample of Lightning Strikes on my Feature Demo Reel (at the beginning there is an Exterior Night scene using Lightning Strikes.



That is why we had a separate Genny just for them. They really are fantastic. Lightning Strikes (tho Great) are more of a 'digital' Strike as the Carbon Rods are very, very 'organic' as they come up and dissipate with each Strike. Very Eerie!
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#6 Jonathan Bruno

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 01:24 AM

Do not use carbon arcs on a stage if you have never simulated lighting before. That's all I can say. The guys at lightning strike are usually really nice about showing you how to correctly operate their equipment. If you don't know, ask. They'll appreciate it. They don't want their stuff broken.
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#7 David Rakoczy

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 08:10 AM

[quote name='Jonathan Bruno' date='Jun 27 2008, 01:24 AM' post='239098']
Do not use carbon arcs on a stage if you have never simulated lighting before.

Why is that?... on Pumpkinhead we used them in a Living Room and a Kitchen... Yes.. we did.

Lightning Strikes are fantastic and don't make any noise... but if you have Wind, Leaves etc.. blowing around, an Arc Plunger can't be beat for it's quality of Light on each Strike.
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#8 timHealy

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 06:15 PM

Do not use carbon arcs on a stage if you have never simulated lighting before. That's all I can say.


I'd like to ask why too?

Hollywood did that for decades. I myself only once or twice.

Shutters on a light can work depending on the shot and the technician operating them.

Don't forget carbon arcs run off DC and Lighting Strikes have really great battery packs that make renting a separate generator unnecessary (as long as they are charged). Generators don't like em anyway, or at least the generator owners don't like Lighting Strikes hooked up to their machines.

best

Tim
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#9 David Rakoczy

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 09:36 PM

[Shutters on a light can work depending on the shot and the technician operating them.] Tim Healy

I totally agree Tim. An 'Artist' can get more for less.. no doubt.

I (believe) this thread started with a Boat in a Tossing Sea - a Storm... Rain, Lightning, Thunder. ... In that shooting environment 'sound' is not as much an issue for the DP with regard to his/her Lighting Effects because the 'Actual Physical Effects' drown out any Lighting Dept. noise.. so in that environment.. I would push for a Plunger or two... also, there is no 'learning curve' ... just push the Plunger and get what you want.. believe me.. a Plunger 'electrifies' the creative juices of the crew.. it does! Hearing that indescribable sound of the 'arc' really gets people 'juiced'...!

Edited by David Rakoczy, 28 June 2008 - 09:40 PM.

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