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lighting a parking


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#1 Cristian T

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 07:31 PM

Hello there!
I'll try to give you all the information you need to imagine how the scene will look like.
Im about to shoot a short scene which is set in a parking garage like this one:

Posted Image

There is no much light, and my camera (with a DOF mounted) won't handle in a dim light situation like this one. So, I need some lights there.
The scene is about a person who just enter the parking and goes towards his car. He walks a while, about 50 m, so I'm thinking about some wide shots there covering the whole parking and the person. I have no idea how to set the lights since there are some wide shots too.
If you didn't understand, please tell me, and I'll make you some storyboards if I have to, :))
I just want to ask your advice about setting the lights.
Don't laugh, I'm not very experimented :D

Thank you!!!
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#2 Robert Aldrich

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:09 AM

[quote name='Cristian T' date='Jul 20 2008, 05:31 PM' post='243122']
Hello there!
I'll try to give you all the information you need to imagine how the scene will look like.
Im about to shoot a short scene which is set in a parking garage like this one:

Posted Image

There is no much light, and my camera (with a DOF mounted) won't handle in a dim light situation like this one. So, I need some lights there.

I would say, take off the DOF mounted device and only light the area you want to see (the actor and a few surrounding details).

One of the purposes of selective focus is to make the audience see what you want them to see. Here, just use lighting instead of focus to make the audience see what you want. Light the actor, the rest will be dark unless you want to also add some interesting lights in the background somewhere.

If this scene were darker, by the way, an actor walking right down the middle of the lane would be silhouetted and even highlighted by the overhead lights nicely. If you had no other way to light it, it still could work.

See attached darkened image.parking2005_dark.jpg

This is still a bit brightly-lighted, so you could use a filter in Adobe Premiere called "Lighting Effects" to selectively darken areas of the video you don't want to emphasize, or when shooting, just lower the lighting with flags (to block the light) on the posts, cars, and other areas of the shot. If I had no other way to light the actor, I'd at least have him walk down the center area where the light is the strongest to center attention on him alone.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:43 PM

These are actually rather easy to light. Hard overhead lights can be just about anywhere, no major motivation issues. You have those nice big concrete beams to hide stuff behind. There's generally a lot of bare plumbing overhead, and you can clamp more pipes on to get support for lights where you want them.

It'll take some time to rig and strike, and you'll need lots of ladders. Check it with your director a few days before, block everything and make a shot list. From that you can plan where to add pipes and lights. If it's big enough, it may even be nice to have a pre-light day so you can fiddle with the pipes without as much time pressure.




-- J.S.
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#4 Cristian T

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 08:31 AM

Thanks a lot guys. I really apreciatte your effort!
Robert Aldrich, very detailed information, thank your for your time, I didn't expect such a complex advice. Very useful! :D

Cheers!
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#5 Robert Aldrich

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:25 PM

Thanks a lot guys. I really apreciatte your effort!
Robert Aldrich, very detailed information, thank your for your time, I didn't expect such a complex advice. Very useful! :D

Cheers!


Thanks Christian,

I come from that El Mariachi school of "do-it-for-almost-nothing", but boy, I'd sure like to have more resources some day! Still, if you don't have that, be creative instead!

Robert
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#6 Robert Aldrich

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:11 AM

Thanks a lot guys. I really appreciate your effort!
Robert Aldrich, very detailed information, thank your for your time, I didn't expect such a complex advice. Very useful! :D

Cheers!


Now you got me interested enough to try to "light" this in post. I used the Adobe Creative Suite CS2 Premiere Pro for this picture, I first used the "lighting effects" preset, using 3 "lights", (actually just brighter spots in the scene), and lowered the overall intensity.

It didn't come out right, so I used the brightness/contrast effect to make it a little more effective.

Still, I think it's much better, as John is obviously used to doing, to just light it right in the first place, you get so much finer control over the light levels that way. There is nothing more satisfying to a cinematographer than to have the editor say, "It looks great just the way it is!" and not have to do anything to your images in post.

But if you are out of time or money, at least you can do something like this. The audience probably won't notice anything, but your filmmaker friends will, and that is the worst kind of criticism!

Also, if I was doing the lighting in this scene, I'd try to at least put some highlights on the cars leave a large area of the image kind of dark and spooky, (depending on story material) and somehow darken the huge posts with their numbers, and of course, highlight the talent from the sides somehow, as he or she walked by.

That would just be a shot of the talent walking down the middle, I have no idea what your story demands, but if there were other close/medium shots, reversed or whatever, I would then have a lot more creative control on lighting to show intensity of emotion or what ever is going on.

Check out the American movies where garage scenes are taking place, and you can see this is the kind of thing they do, nothing new there.

RobertLIGHTING_EFFECTS.jpg
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#7 J. Lamar King

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:17 AM

If I were lighting it I would hit all of those numbers on those poles from above with some small tungsten fresnels creating hot hits that would give you great depth. Then create pools of top light for the character to walk through. If you had the character walk in profile to to the lens side to side instead of from front to back in depth, you could hit him with a side light from far off that would cover the actor during the whole walk.

P.S. don't clamp onto sprinkler lines. it's illegal and dangerous.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 24 July 2008 - 01:19 AM.

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