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Kickers, edgelights, rims - all about them.


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#1 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:55 PM

I'm watching Reservoir Dogs right now. Everyone always has the perfect kicker and it looks great. It got me wondering about everyone preferences.

What are your preferences for kickers? How hot do you make them? What fixtures do you like particularly? Do you make them white or do you like to color them?
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#2 John Allen

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 09:28 PM

I think it highly depends on the situation. If there's a practical light that can justify putting a hot kicker on the talent then I would do that, but if there isn't one then I like to keep it low, just hot enough to create a separation from the backround.

I also like to ask myself, "does it complement the feeling of the scene?" For example, is the scene supposed to be very dramatic and dark, which in my opinion, depending on the location and practicals of course, would consider maybe even just having a key light. Or is the talent supposed to be beautifully lit, which I think the kicker usually is pretty good for beauty. But like I said, it's almost impossible to say exactly what you would do unless you know the situation.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 11:14 PM

The when is less of what I was looking to pull out of people than the how. Everyone will ahve about the same answer to that question: when it's appropriate/motivated/I feel like it. I'm curious in exactly how people like to make their kickers. How hot, what fixtures, etc. It just seems like everyone has their own preferences and I like to hear about them.
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#4 Malik Sajid

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 06:47 AM

I'll be grateful if you could post the references
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#5 John Allen

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 08:37 AM

Oooh ok I think I understand now. I'm kinda a lover of both worlds, which I guess still doesn't help a whole lot, but I like it when the kicker is hot and I like it when there's just a little strip of light on their shoulders.

As for white/colored kickers, I like it to have a whitesh color, but I've always understood that the white color just came from overexposing the kicker. But I could definitely be wrong, and if I am please correct me, cause I always want to learn.
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#6 David Regan

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 09:35 AM

I really like motivated kickers, which I think look great when you have an idea of the source. For moodier, int. scenes with practicals, I love soft wrapping kickers. Almost too soft to call a kicker really. This was made with just a baby bounced, took some tweaking to get the angle to look right, then it's flagged off the left and back walls.
CU_Diffusion.jpg
I just really like the way you get that light spilling around the hair/neck, in a way that the practical never really would do, but still looks nice. (I think lol)

Or I've done the opposite extreme, which in this example is a 1.2k HMI with a wide lens blasting through the window on the left.
Edgelight.jpg
Normally I would never do something this hot, but since I can see the source, and have established it I think it sells, as the script is supposed to be set in a very hot portion of the summer, (Of course its actually freezing) so I wanted to get that feel of the obtrusive burning rays of sun coming into these peoples lives.

Again its sorta tough to talk about these without mentioning the why lol.
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#7 Serge Teulon

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:24 AM

If its interiors and direct, I like the little 300 fresnel. It looks great "naked" and gelled.

Edited by Serge Teulon, 31 October 2008 - 10:25 AM.

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#8 Matthew Buick

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 12:41 PM

I've always liked my kickers warm, to me they mean warmth, i.e, a lamp to the side of a person or object. And as I like to make them a very slight sort of glancing light I think I'd get away with a kicker in most shots. In a situation where the setting is cold and hostile I'd just rely on the key light. I'm not sure what I think of motivated kickers, in the situations where I've used kickers it's been pretty obvious what they've been. I like to leave some guesswork to the viewer as to what the kicker, back light, side light is. :)

Isn't our job the best on Earth! ;)
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#9 dan brockett

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 05:19 PM

I prefer an Arri 150 or 300 with a piece of diffusion to enlarge the source. I find when shooting interviews, I often have no idea what the talent is going to look like. I usually setup the 150 or 300 as a hair light but if the interviewee shows up and is bald or balding, of course, we don't want the hotspots that a hairlight will cause on a bald head.

A few years ago, I had to interview an older gentleman who was an exec at one of the studios and this situation arose, he had hair but very thinning. I had the 150 on a 40" arm on a C-stand so I just took it and swung in low about the height of the talent's waist behind him on the opposite site of the key source. I really liked the modeling that it added to the side of his face in contrast to the soft frontal and under fill I had going. It looked great, I wish that I had a still of it for you, but I don't.

Kickers are always fun but I travel a lot and have a limited kit when I travel so I don't always have a free light available to serve as a kicker, but when I do or a I am shooting at home, I like to try to work one in on interviews, stand ups and certain scenes. IMHO, a kicker just enhances the 3D effect that we are all trying to light for.

Best,

Dan
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#10 Daniel Porto

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 05:39 PM

I like to leave some guesswork to the viewer as to what the kicker, back light, side light is. :)


The average viewer couldn't care less
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#11 Ramesh Jai

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 06:13 PM

The average viewer couldn't care less


Nor an average DOP..
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#12 Daniel Porto

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 09:05 PM

Nor an average DOP..


Speaking for yourself?
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#13 John Allen

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 09:57 PM

Nor an average DOP..


Yeah I know, I look at everything. In other words I care about all the techniques in the cinematography of a film.
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 11:08 PM

First few times I watch a film I notice nothing (or try to) and just go for the story. Then the next few times; well i start making notes; pausing, rewinding, listening to commentaries, googling etc. . .needless to say I can't rent dvds....Dvd ownership/watching is my heroine...
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#15 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 12:20 AM

I like to mix it up...obviously, but one of my favorite ways is a small fresnel source, maybe 300w with a half CTB. I think it balances well with a warmer key. Sometimes a piece of 216 on it as I don't like the quality to be super hard. Too hard and it looks kind of thoughtless. It's nice when there is still some texture of the face coming through and not just overexposure.

Depending, it's nice when it's not just an edge, but scrapes the side of the face and you can mold the shadow area created by the key along the jaw line and temple. This doesn't always look good to me on women, but makes guys look pretty badass.

I talked about this in another thread recently, but I'm actually getting a little tired of kickers and backlights. Just a personal thing I guess. I haven't completely sworn them off, but have definitely cut back. They seem really "lighty". Looking for things that seem less obvious or that are more transparent.

Good topic Chris.
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#16 Daniel Porto

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 12:42 AM

I suggest that whoever loves edge-lights to watch Out of Sight.

The result: You may need to put on a new pair of underwear
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#17 Malik Sajid

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 05:29 AM

Depending, it's nice when it's not just an edge, but scrapes the side of the face and you can mold the shadow area created by the key along the jaw line and temple. This doesn't always look good to me on women, but makes guys look pretty badass.


Good one Chad.......
I'll be grateful if you could explain this a more. if possible post the references.
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#18 Tobias Marshall

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 02:51 PM

I find a strong kicker very artifical at times, unless it is motivated. I struggle to watch most big budget hollywood pictures, as every shot has a 'perfect 3/4 backlight' whether or not there is a reason for, which I find cheap and very unimaginative.
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#19 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 03:34 AM

I agree with everyone that says it depends on what you're going for. My last year at school I shot two different project and one called for natural lighting and the other I had a more stylized look for the film.

The backlight here is motivated as "moonlight". The source was a 4 bank kino flo with daylight bulbs behind the van. I also added the red light inside the VW bus to put her within a colored frame (the scene was taking place at a party where her interest notices her, hence framing her within the doorframe with the red). I find this lighting setup natural, the backlight is not harsh, just a hairlight. This might not be natural to anyone else, some people might have liked it more if it were at 2 banks or at 2ft setting on the kino. This is my go at natural for a film set in the '70's


For my more stylized look these are some pulls from the actual film. Both characters had different lighting, the girl in yellow is much brighter for story purposes while the girl in red has a devilish influence so I played her more in the dark. Extremely stylized and I shot in an old abandoned RJ Reynolds warehouse and sold the light coming through shafts in the ceiling.

This is not really a backlight but a hard top light that pops her out, in a since she is backlit too from the bounce coming off the column. I feel color can also be a natural way to give characters a pop. Source 4 Leko rigged above. I also had the actress dye her hair even more blonde then it was to have it pick up the light even more.


This is a pull from her intro shot. I just use the natural sheen off the concrete and the blown out windows to edge her naturally. The light hitting her is multiple source 4 lekos hitting her straight down goal posted.


This is for the devil girl, no backlight at all. In the shot she walks out of the darkness into her key light and then out of it back into the darkness.


So I completely think it's all based on what you're going after. The stylized project I shot was me trying the bob richardson effect with a cross look (unfortunately I couldn't get an reversal film to cross!).
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#20 john Spear

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:48 AM

I like your work. Would be nice if I could see the video. I don't know how you are doing with time but we are currently interviewing DP's (not camera) for a feature in Florida. 35 day shoot 6 days a week. I wouldn't mind bringing the DP from somewhere else if need be. Its a romantic comedy. Paid. Low budget.
nice work, keep it up.

John Spear

spifilms@yahoo.com

look at this post: http://www.cinematog...n...c=34796&hl=
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