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Lighting a hospital at night


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#1 Drew Ott

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:06 PM

I'll be shooting a short in a month or so, and one of the scenes takes place in a hospital at night. I'm going for that super-white feel that is common in hospitals.

We will probably shoot the location during the day, so any day-for-night interior tips would be greatly appreciated. I often like to have some sodium-colored light coming in through windows to sell night time, but we probably will not be shooting on the first floor, and the budget is not high enough to rig lights outside on the building.

I'll be using mainly daylight balanced fluorescent fixtures. One shot is a steadicam shot down a hallway (no idea how to light this), and the rest of the scene takes place inside a room. I might mix tungsten practicals with daylight fluorscents in the room. Is that a bad idea?

I'm looking for this sort of color white: http://flickr.com/ph...eart/207430150/ except at night and motivated by the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. Not sure how to do this...

any advice? Sorry if this sounds like a lot of rambling.
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#2 Jim Keller

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:36 PM

Do you have the freedom to black out the windows? Not having daylight streaming in is the most important thing for making an interior look like nighttime.
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#3 Evan Pierre

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:10 PM

Do you have the freedom to black out the windows? Not having daylight streaming in is the most important thing for making an interior look like nighttime.


I was thinking of something like this, bringing in blackout curtains and then gelling the windows to look like nighttime light.
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#4 Michael Belanger

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:56 PM

I'd probably go with blacked-out windows and alternating the fluors on the ceiling on and off, giving pools of light and shadow up and down the cooridors, glow coming form adjoining rooms, etc.
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#5 Dror Dayan

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:14 AM

A very useful thing to do is also to change the neon lights to a color temperature that suits your needs better, and maybe play around that temperature with your key and fill lights, balancing them to fit the neons.

all the best,

dror
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#6 Scott McClellan

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 12:46 PM

Dror made a good point- If you can afford to do it (and have the time)- switch out the fluorescent practicals with Kino bulbs to your desired color temp- Kino bulbs aren't usually too expensive to rent and are made to fit in fluorescent fixtures. Otherwise you can balance your lights to what's there with a little CTG or something.
Mixing daylight and tungsten isn't a bad idea, depending on what you want. It'll give you a very warm yellow and blue mix of light (check out just about any scene in Eyes Wide Shut as an example of this)- might not be right for the sterile look you mentioned here, but might be great.
Hospitals sometimes have all sorts of windows in doors and between rooms etc. that you could maybe cheat as outside windows and push an orange-ish light in through for your street light effect? Just a thought- may not be possible, depending on the location.
You might also want to over expose your BGs a little to help wash out some detail and create that white, sterile look.
Good luck with the shoot.
-S
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#7 Drew Ott

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for all the advice so far. Unfortunately switching out bulbs is out of budget.

If I am to overexpose the background, how many stops is reasonable? I am shooting on a canon XHA1.

The Eyes Wide Shut look might be nice. Gives me something to think about for sure.
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