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lighting w gels - short film (toilet scene) 35mm


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#1 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:00 AM

Hey guys,

I am about to start a production (in 3 days time) on another short film, on 35mm, and am having some difficulties figuring out the lighting in one of the scenes.

the scene is set in a toilet, a very SMALL toilet, and we want to make it look 'different' in a way it looks, by using heavy gels in our lighting set-ups and colouring background walls different colour to the subject.

Posted Image

the problem is the location, since it is so small, the colour from the back walls is spilling onto the subject too much and neutralizing it is becoming a nightmare of a game. I thought I run the scenario pass you and see if anyone has any suggestions...

So, we want the walls to be GREEN - heavy GREEN, and yet, we want the skin colours to be natural... (odd ha?).

i tried couple of different hings, but since the space is so small, i am finding it difficult to HIDE the lights anywhere. The best I could come up with is to use the toilet's two 4 foot long tubes on the ceiling and gel them up green. (hoping i wont get any flicker at 25fps). I put 2-3 green gels on each. That gave me a green look for the entire room as you can see in the photos...

Posted Image

then I thought i use minus green (magenta) gels to put onto the keno flow (4 x 4ft long kenos) that are going to be stuck to the auto polo that scratches above the subject. The test i did with the photos below are with two (2) 4ft kenos on just a c-stand. Unfortunately i will have to remove the tubes from the housing to tape to the autopolo direct, and do some skirts to prevent spilling too much (just point downwards).

Posted Image

Do you have any ideas on how else i could light the walls green and the subject to stay colour balanced correctly?

i dont think i have any room for the lights that are bigger then keno flows suspended from the ceiling. i could position any light i want next to the camera, but that will cast shadows and look ugly (and limit space aroudn the camera as i doubt i can do any traces or similar in that space too)... it is really cramped

any suggestion would be most welcome

someone suggested that i maybe try and use magenta only and fill the whole room with it and then colour correct it in a grade to get it to work!? apparently the walls would become green then?!

thanks!
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#2 John Brawley

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 08:25 AM

the problem is the location, since it is so small, the colour from the back walls is spilling onto the subject too much and neutralizing it is becoming a nightmare of a game. I thought I run the scenario pass you and see if anyone has any suggestions...

So, we want the walls to be GREEN - heavy GREEN, and yet, we want the skin colours to be natural... (odd ha?).


Hi Lav.

ba boom tish. Sorry mate...coouldn't help making a lav gag.

That's pretty green aint it ? Do you mean something more sickly and pale ??

I had a similar issue. I had to shoot an entire film in a toilet. The director wanted some pretty crazy shots that could only be achieved if we actually build it as a set. I told him it couldn't be done unless it was built as a set, thinking to put him off and change his expectations....he built the set !!!!

We had a few establishers and then most of the rest of it was a set he built himself. Im pretty proud of the way we integrated the two spaces. See if you can guess which is the real location and which is the set.

you can take a look here

From memory, it was lit all from above using 1/2CTB on tungsten and some WFG. There was then a little poly used around camera and that's it.

We shot Fuji 500T. Then in the grade we could have it set where we wanted.

This is an uncorrected RAW still from the set to compare to the grade.

If you want the skin tone to be more *neutral* i'd use a small soft box on the camera to fill in just to push the skin tone back to normal. something like this....


Good luck !

jb
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#3 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 09:09 AM

Hi Lav.

ba boom tish. Sorry mate...coouldn't help making a lav gag.


oh wow, i walked right into that one - asking questions about the toilet with a name like that... for the record, my name means LION in Serbian ;)

good to see hear from you mate!
Hope you are keeping busy. The short looks great!

Unfortunately, we cannot build the set nor can we leave the toilet premise and i got no one to talk into cutting the scene out since i am co-directing it as well ;)

Couple of scenes take place there, but they make up some 20% of the film in total, so we won't be there for too long.

I do want it to be that green tho... I know it looks wild and different, but we are going for something 'extreme' in this film and are hoping to use colour to tell the story, so the stronger the green, the better. It is a surreal world our main protagonist is in.... away from reality. \

Sure, it will look odd and no doubt we will all get a headache after a while, but the colour in those stills is really what im hoping to get onto 35mm. My main worry is that that much green will always spil onto the subject.

The idea of using a small soft box on the camera is good. i might consider that. i do have some wide shots there - like the initial stills of the toilet (that exact framing, but in 2.35:1 ratio) that would be harder with softbox on it, but for CUs it might work...

I recently did a short that Paul Seipel shot, you can see it here AFFAIR that had that 'light' green tones brought into it in the grade... Your grade reminded me of it a bit...

But this one is meant to be very very green.
Any thoughts on neutralising that hard of green colour?

the rest of the film is wack too - uses heavy yellow gels and more green... but other scenes are huge, with locations across 2 different UNI campuses, a studio, church, etc... so we get more space to separate the background lighting to foreground.

Thanks John!
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#4 John Brawley

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:29 PM

Couple of scenes take place there, but they make up some 20% of the film in total, so we won't be there for too long.

I do want it to be that green tho... I know it looks wild and different, but we are going for something 'extreme' in this film and are hoping to use colour to tell the story, so the stronger the green, the better. It is a surreal world our main protagonist is in.... away from reality. \

Sure, it will look odd and no doubt we will all get a headache after a while, but the colour in those stills is really what im hoping to get onto 35mm. My main worry is that that much green will always spil onto the subject.



OK, well you could try lighting the FG with the complimentary colour ? Again this is easier on a CU or mid. If you read this here then you'll see the idea is that two complimentaries will sort of sum together to create something more neutral. In practice this is much harder than it sounds. Red is the complimentary of green. And that's sort of starting to work with your tungsten (?) light on the face of your subject. There is a line of near white on his face. Certainly they are far enough apart to be able to grab the tone in the grade and correct. The issue will then come in your shadow areas where it will become more difficult. So then you just have to contain the spill from your *red* light....

I would think though in the wide it wouldn't matter as much because the skin tone's are much harder to *read* ??

This is not something I've ever done by the way, but you can test for it ?? The other bummer is that red gel will eat a lot of your light too...



jb
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#5 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 07:38 AM

hey mate,

thanks for that.

yeah, the light that is on his face is actually MAGENTA - which i think is the complimentary colour of green. The gel is actually labeled 'minus green' so that sort of explained itself to me in the title of the gel.

I guess my main worry is the wide shots, like you said... but perhaps I am being to anal about it and I ought to accept that in wide shots the skin colours won't be as relevant as my CU's and that I will have to live with what i can get.

I am trying to get more spot light action (with MAGENTA gel on them) happening from the ceiling of the toilet so that my subject can walk from one pool of magenta light into another... he will be 'green' in between, but hopefully (fingers cross) this won't be too much of an issue ...

In CU's I should be OK.

Today I went to Bunnings, trying to get a 2ft tube that I can wrap in Magenta and use for just above camera as my 'soft' light that might just help with those skin tones...

this will be interesting shoot no doubt...
ill report on how i got on after the weekend (shooting this scene on SAT).

thanks again JB!
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#6 Atticus Rease

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:03 PM

Dunno if this would work, but maybe try lighting the background neutral and then light your subject with a strong magenta. Then you could shift the whole thing towards green in post and it would take the magenta out of your subject while adding green to your background. Without testing I couldn't say if this would let you get the kind of extreme green you want though.
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#7 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 08:20 AM

hey mate,

that is a great idea, which i wanted to test out but never got around it. i tried it in my stills camera and photoshop but no matter how much magenta i tried to punch in, colour correcting it in photoshop was not giving me that 'green' that i wanted - but rather just a washed out, lime kind-a green...

I certainly wish i had another opportunity to do this test again, as i do think it could work...

cheers mate,
L
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#8 Mike Simpson

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:22 AM

Are you trying to get rid of all of the spill? Or just limit it? If you want 0 spill you could just do blue/greenscreen. If I saw an actor standing ithat super green room with no green on him at all I would probably just assume it was blue/greenscreen anyway =p
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#9 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:16 PM

Hey mate,

i'd love 0 spil, which might make it look like a bit of a 'green screen' but the subject will be moving in and out of that space - s3d space, as the walls go around the wall you are looking at and they are green too.

Perhaps it still might look like green screen if done well, but i presume i will never get rid of all of that green -

Ill definitely post some fotos i will take whilst on set tomorrow....
I wish i had a chance to do some tests with only magenta lighting the room - colour correcting it in post - proper tests, not just my one light with stills camera test.


thanks!
L
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#10 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 06:37 AM

Hey guys,

here is the still taken with my canon 30d on the day - as we were still setting up .. the end result would be close to this

I think that once we are in the telecine and able to do a colour grade (on film) it will look exactly like what we wanted ;)

we used many green and yellows in this film, with almost every scene lit in this bizzare way... (some of the long shots on open locations were particularly challenging to get that much colour into).

Posted Image

cheers
L
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