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Conrad Hall night eye light how to


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#1 Ashley Barron

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 03:14 AM

Hi,

There are night scenes in American Beauty where there is a very subtle, soft light that hits the eyes/mid face which creates a glow in the eyes and brings the face out a bit more from the darkness.

The shots that come to mind:

CU Benning's characters cries alone after failing to sell the house
MS Spacey's character smiling to himself in bed after he fights with his wife
MS Cooper's son as he looks at Spacey's bloodied head after he'd been shot

There are many of these shots with this light (also featured in Road to Perdition).

My question - does anyone know how it's done and what lighting fixture Hall used?

Any opinions please!

Thank you,
Ashley.
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:30 PM

Could you produce some stills showing specifically what you're talking about?
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 09:59 PM

I don't know which fixture Mr. hall used but you can do it with a small fresnel fixture. You just put pretty heavy diffusion behind the doors and then door it way down to just a slit. I've done it on film rated at 320 with a 300W fresnel that had double 216 on it. The light went right above camera and was scrimmed down accordingly.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 10:00 PM

Here's one of the stills he's talking about that I have around as well

Edited by Chris Keth, 30 September 2008 - 10:01 PM.

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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 10:13 PM

Here's another I remembered from the film and pulled:
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 10:40 PM

God, such a beautiful film. So pissed off that someone ripped off my copy of it. . .
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#7 John Dekker

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 05:17 AM

I worked on "Jennifer 8". I was the lighting best boy on the film. When Randy Woodside, the gaffer, sent up his lighting package list it had everything from the smallest peanut bulb to Raybeams. I mentioned how this one of the largest and most varied packages I'd worked with and he replied, "Conrad likes to paint with a broad pallette." It was true. He would use everything we had and more. He was quite adept at utilising stuuf he found around the set. I guess the answer to your question is, with him it could have been anything. I don't think he had a set way of doing things. Probably not a alot of help but I got to tell a Conrad story. :-)
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#8 John Dekker

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 05:21 AM

I accidentally replied twice and I can't seem to delete this 2nd one. :huh:

Edited by John Dekker, 04 October 2008 - 05:25 AM.

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#9 Sing Lo

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 09:13 PM

I tried that with Dedo DP Eye set with diffusion glasses on the front of Dedo zoom projection attachment. I cut an "eye mask" shape on cine foil and insert it on the Gobo holder, then adjust the level of diffusion to soften the edge of the glow area.
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#10 John Dekker

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 12:00 AM

That's cool Sing. I've taken black wrap on a standard frame and cut a small butterfly or "vogue" as they used to call it. It's a great effect. I've also used a black silk in front of a pepper to give a slight fill with a specular dot in the eyes. I've used a "razor light" which is a flourescent (usually 2' kino) in 2 adjustable pvc tubes. A 1k zip with a McFrancis (still don't know the origin of that one). An actual obie light. a flashlight bounced into a bedsheet. A "kamio" kino ring light that fits to the lens. A china ball next to the lens. A light bulb. A 24 lite dino bounced off an unbleached muslin back through an unbleached muslin. A piece of showcard. A paper towel with a couple of cigarette burns....I love our job. I have a copy of the 1935 ASC book and they have all sorts of stuff like this. It's amazing how little has changed over the years and yet so much.
JD
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 07:45 PM

Another way I've done this is with a sheet of new blackwrap. New because it's easier to cut without tearing. You just make one cut with your knife, nothing more. Punch a fresnel through that and it will make a little slit. You can open up the slit if you want it wider and move it closer or further from the lamp to adjust the softness of the slash.

I suppose you could put the cut blackwrap in a source 4 and have a fixture that can adjust the softness all by itself.

Edited by Chris Keth, 07 October 2008 - 07:47 PM.

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#12 robert duke

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 11:07 PM

I bounced a 650 off a 4x4 solid. very little fill and just a hint of eye light.
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#13 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 08:09 PM

I bounced a 650 off a 4x4 solid. very little fill and just a hint of eye light.


Makes for a very big eyelight. I haven't tried this yet; knowing that it will work, I imagine it must be hard to control in a small room.


You can snoot any light 300w-1000w and put a piece of blackwrap with a slit in it on a c-stand. Works great for product photography.
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#14 Sing Lo

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:14 PM

For weak eye light, I would try to roll a few meters of rope light into a coil like a pancake and tape it on a white/ silver foam board reflector disc.

You can make a poor man's Kamio Flo by making a donut shape reflector with a coil of rope light. OK the only downside is that it is tungsten, and weak in output. This is my idea. Cheap and cheerful :P
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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 09:39 PM

I think they did something similar in Lord of the Rings with Christmas lights on hangers for Galadriels star-shaped eye-light. Or I might be making that up-- though I'm 95% sure hearing that somewhere.
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#16 Tom Banks

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 12:00 PM

Another way I've done this is with a sheet of new blackwrap. New because it's easier to cut without tearing. You just make one cut with your knife, nothing more.


This seems to be the best method I've found to achieve the look referenced in the stills above. The main thing to watch out for is keeping talent on their mark. I usually end up going softer to keep the eyelight from standing out too much if the actor moves up/down.
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#17 Evan Pierre

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 01:49 AM

For weak eye light, I would try to roll a few meters of rope light into a coil like a pancake and tape it on a white/ silver foam board reflector disc.

You can make a poor man's Kamio Flo by making a donut shape reflector with a coil of rope light. OK the only downside is that it is tungsten, and weak in output. This is my idea. Cheap and cheerful :P


For a weak and indirect eye light I just like to use a bare lightbulb on a hand squeezer then mounted on a c-stand or whatever is handy.
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#18 Toby Gorman

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 02:34 PM

That's cool Sing. I've taken black wrap on a standard frame and cut a small butterfly or "vogue" as they used to call it. It's a great effect. I've also used a black silk in front of a pepper to give a slight fill with a specular dot in the eyes. I've used a "razor light" which is a flourescent (usually 2' kino) in 2 adjustable pvc tubes. A 1k zip with a McFrancis (still don't know the origin of that one). An actual obie light. a flashlight bounced into a bedsheet. A "kamio" kino ring light that fits to the lens. A china ball next to the lens. A light bulb. A 24 lite dino bounced off an unbleached muslin back through an unbleached muslin. A piece of showcard. A paper towel with a couple of cigarette burns....I love our job. I have a copy of the 1935 ASC book and they have all sorts of stuff like this. It's amazing how little has changed over the years and yet so much.
JD


Hi JD,

Great to see you on the forum, I am very much looking forward to your contributions!

I had the pleasure of working for you for a few days on The Invisible a few years ago when I had a temporary Canadian work visa, and if my Canadian residency ever comes through I hope to one day work with you again! In the meantime I will continue struggling in London :)

Toby
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Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Technodolly

CineLab