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#1 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 06:29 AM

This December I'm shooting a documentary in India. It's about an Israeli rock band going on tour all over India inside a big tour bus.

large part of the journey will be inside the bus, due to the long distances between the cities in India, and I've been toying with the idea of lighting the inside of the bus a bit.

i want to keep it as realistic as i can, and only raise the inside ambiance level so i could get better exposure of the outside of the bus.
im not looking for perfect exposure and it should stay overexposed outside, but not more than 1-1.5 stops i'd say.

I think that NDing the windows will be problematic. the band will be sitting at the rear of the bus on both sides and NDing both sides will bring the ambiance down too much.

any ideas? light recommendations ? other solutions you think off? any help will be great!

I'll be using sony EX3.

thank you.
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#2 Serge Teulon

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 07:17 AM

Hi Nadav,

There are a few options but it does boil down to your budget.
One that springs to mind that won't cost a lot of money is using some strip lights. Just in case you don't know, they are a like a bunch of lights inside a see-through kind of hose pipe.
They are easy to put up, rugged and don't consume much space. Plus they look great out of focus.
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#3 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 07:57 AM

This December I'm shooting a documentary in India. It's about an Israeli rock band going on tour all over India inside a big tour bus.

large part of the journey will be inside the bus, due to the long distances between the cities in India, and I've been toying with the idea of lighting the inside of the bus a bit.

i want to keep it as realistic as i can, and only raise the inside ambiance level so i could get better exposure of the outside of the bus.
im not looking for perfect exposure and it should stay overexposed outside, but not more than 1-1.5 stops i'd say.

I think that NDing the windows will be problematic. the band will be sitting at the rear of the bus on both sides and NDing both sides will bring the ambiance down too much.

any ideas? light recommendations ? other solutions you think off? any help will be great!

I'll be using sony EX3.

thank you.


If you have the money there are a some mini kinoflo sets,used alot for lighting the inside of cars.. or a good hardware/building supply shop will have the consumer version! but much cheaper.. some can be powered by consumer batteries which might be better than from bus(depends on what state the bus is in!) and even have magnetic backing.

If this is a famous group,then the bus should be ok.. but take care when taping/clamping the lights.. so they dont fall on their heads when they are all pissed off on a 12hr bus ride.. otherwise it could be a very short doco. !

You could also try a small LED lite panel mounted on the camera.. dimmed down low.. easy option but the lighting will be flat.. but all of this would only really be of use evening or night time..

Day time... in India.. I,d say try to avoid being straight onto the windows.. hopefully they have blinds/curtains anyway.. or bring your own muslin sheets/nets/diffusers that you might be able to rig up.


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 03 November 2008 - 07:59 AM.

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#4 Matthew Buick

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 08:13 AM

How about attaching LED's or Fairy Lights the the Bus ceiling to get a nice toplight ambience. They should just run off the cigarette lighter inside the bus, or some sort of 12 volt battery. Sorry I can't be of more help than that.

Edited by Matthew Buick, 03 November 2008 - 08:17 AM.

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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 08:19 AM

How about attaching LED's or Fairy Lights the the Bus ceiling to get a nice toplight ambience. They should just run off the cigarette lighter inside the bus, or some sort of 12 volt battery. Sorry I can't be of more help than that.



Just found this beauty at Maplins http://www.maplin.co...?ModuleNo=47376
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#6 Matthew Buick

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 08:35 AM

Serge, I could almost kiss you! :lol:
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#7 Serge Teulon

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:03 AM

Thank god you are up in Newcastle!!!
:lol:


That strip light looks great, doesn't it?!

Edited by Serge Teulon, 03 November 2008 - 10:04 AM.

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#8 Umpornpol Yugala

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 11:56 AM

To my concern about this is how u gonna juice up all lights. Battery operated lamp I guess. lighting at night is OK but in daytime sunlight is around 5000-6000 FC, forget about lighting to fill. The cam u gonna use, I just guess 2 stops over is crab. Try to find creative way to frame the shot. Use reflector instead.
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#9 Matthew Buick

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 03:29 PM

Well said mate!! :lol:

But I think I'll order the white ones when they're available. It seems I'll have to be a bir of an electrician to get it running.

12V DC, that's a car battery, innit?
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#10 Michael Collier

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 06:14 PM

your trying to get a lot of light in if your trying to get to 1-1.5 overexposed outside. On purely bus power (that which the alternator provides) you will be hard pressed enough to throw enough light in, Esp. during sunny days, or days where the sun backlights the road.

I know ND seems out of the picture, but if the band is always at the back of the bus, then why not ND just the back windows, leaving the forward windows to let un-attenuated light in. That way soft light will flood in from the front of the bus and make a nice soft frontal light. Then you can boost the ambient even further with kinos down the length of the bus.
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#11 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:25 PM

Thank you all for the advice.

I'm weighing again the idea of using ND on the windows. Maybe placing them strategically will do the trick and give me the exposure I'm looking for without loosing the ambiance inside the bus. Only problem is that i need to find a modular way for installing them since at night time i will naturally want to take them off .

do you know of any kind of roll-down ND or anything similar that might do the trick?
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#12 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 03:07 AM

Thank you all for the advice.

I'm weighing again the idea of using ND on the windows. Maybe placing them strategically will do the trick and give me the exposure I'm looking for without loosing the ambiance inside the bus. Only problem is that i need to find a modular way for installing them since at night time i will naturally want to take them off .

do you know of any kind of roll-down ND or anything similar that might do the trick?


Why take them off at night? it will be dark anyway.Alot of these tour buses have tinted windows anyway.You know really what is going to make this doc good or not,are the moments you catch,even if underexposed or a blown out background... I think your sound is going to much more important.. esp if you are doing it yourself.
Have you seen some of those early rock doc,s when they first had low profile mag,s on 16mm camera,s.. so they could actually walk through a door way!
Look back in anger.. an early one about Bob Dylan .. some early Rolling stones ones.. .. lots of underexposed and over exposed stuff, but great content.. In my experience.. except for 5min interview that you,ll wait 4 hrs to get.. you wont have any time to do much pre lighting at all.. you just have to think on your feet.. go for a silhouette if the back ground is burning out.. its more being in the right place at the right time..
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#13 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 06:33 AM

Why take them off at night? it will be dark anyway



probably because i want to see better outside the bus. I'm not sure ND on the window will help me in situation when i drive through a city at night and want to get as much exposure possible from outside the bus.

You know really what is going to make this doc good or not,are the moments you catch,even if underexposed or a blown out background... I think your sound is going to much more important.. esp if you are doing it yourself.
Have you seen some of those early rock doc,s when they first had low profile mag,s on 16mm camera,s.. so they could actually walk through a door way!


Thank you for that tip. Being a "Lighting" section in a "Cinematography" forum I'm looking for more technical advice about the challenges I'll facing in those same areas (lighting and cinematography). The aspect of content and having 'great moments' is of course important for itself (probably much more than how to light a bus) but is not on debate here. it is how to get those moments better on camera when they happen. Also i believe that in this case it'll be important for those great moment to even be registered since the band will be responding to the outside world and it'll help to see what they respond to on the same shot.

Look back in anger.. an early one about Bob Dylan .. some early Rolling stones ones.. .. lots of underexposed and over exposed stuff, but great content.. In my experience.. except for 5min interview that you,ll wait 4 hrs to get.. you wont have any time to do much pre lighting at all.. you just have to think on your feet.. go for a silhouette if the back ground is burning out.. its more being in the right place at the right time..


Of course that during the shoot ill have to be light on my feet and quick to response, as always. I shot 5 feature length documentaries , and just finished a 6 episode TV series here in Israel so I have some experience with documentaries (also many shorts) . I know there will be little time for anything and there will be many moments with poor conditions ill have to swim through. but i believe there is nothing wrong in coming prepared as much as you can. even when doing documentaries. it always helped me and even saved my skin from a major screw-up many times (excuse my french).

Thank you for your help. and I also love the movies you mentioned.
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#14 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 07:50 AM

probably because i want to see better outside the bus. I'm not sure ND on the window will help me in situation when i drive through a city at night and want to get as much exposure possible from outside the bus.



Thank you for that tip. Being a "Lighting" section in a "Cinematography" forum I'm looking for more technical advice about the challenges I'll facing in those same areas (lighting and cinematography). The aspect of content and having 'great moments' is of course important for itself (probably much more than how to light a bus) but is not on debate here. it is how to get those moments better on camera when they happen. Also i believe that in this case it'll be important for those great moment to even be registered since the band will be responding to the outside world and it'll help to see what they respond to on the same shot.



Of course that during the shoot ill have to be light on my feet and quick to response, as always. I shot 5 feature length documentaries , and just finished a 6 episode TV series here in Israel so I have some experience with documentaries (also many shorts) . I know there will be little time for anything and there will be many moments with poor conditions ill have to swim through. but i believe there is nothing wrong in coming prepared as much as you can. even when doing documentaries. it always helped me and even saved my skin from a major screw-up many times (excuse my french).

Thank you for your help. and I also love the movies you mentioned.



No disrespect intended... just sort of thinking/writing out loud.. if you want the int of the bus to be 1 to 1.5 stop ratio you,ll need a feature film like lighting rig AND ND on the windows :).. or at least a hell of alot of Kinoflo,s and hope for some dark cloudy days.. Have you seen Almost Famous... (think that was the name) lots of inside bus footage.. maybe there is something in AC about that??
Pretty good film too.

Sorry if I offended you.. good luck with the shoot.. could shoot all the bus footage green screen... only joking..


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#15 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 09:35 AM

Now thats more like it :) !!

great tip, I haven't seen that one and going to grab it today. (although I'm not a big fan of Cameron crow)

Sorry for the cynicism in my reply. i know you meant to help but i felt a little bit like I'm being lectured about documentary film making when all i asked about was lighting the darn bus. B)

i know it will be impossible to achieve only 1.5 over exposed outside and i guess that giving that number was misleading. what i actually meant was that I'm looking for an overexposed look, but i want to retain as much detail as i can. i guess ND will be my solution. ill check it out the first few days and decide.

ill post some photos from the trip.

thanks again.

p.s. just spoke with the producers about the green screen but they couldn't fine a studio available for the entire month so we are flying anyway. :lol: :lol:

Edited by Nadav Hekselman, 05 November 2008 - 09:39 AM.

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#16 Ram Shani

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 11:18 AM

the camera you plan to shot with has great latitude so try to test it.play with different gamma setting and the blacks and the knee.

maybe take with you some light n.d guards so you can use them

also you can rent this http://www.rosco.com.../litepad_ho.asp

at utopia they have great set going from 5cm*10cm up to 50cm*50cm
all work on 12volt

good luck
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#17 Nadav Hekselman

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 04:09 PM

Thanks Ram,

I actually just finished shooting a short drama with the ex3 and was also very impressed with its latitude. it really blew me away doing car driving shots with a side mount.I got excellent detail from the windows with no ND, no light in mid sunny day. I used Cine1 with some tweaks. here is an example in which the outside was especially over exposed. held up really well i think.
vlcsnap_196787.jpg
about the light-pad, for sure I'm renting one, but not from Utopia since we are renting all gear from India. I love it, very soft and realistic. (only when its really needed of course).

:)

Edited by Nadav Hekselman, 05 November 2008 - 04:11 PM.

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#18 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 05:22 PM

Now thats more like it :) !!

great tip, I haven't seen that one and going to grab it today. (although I'm not a big fan of Cameron crow)

Sorry for the cynicism in my reply. i know you meant to help but i felt a little bit like I'm being lectured about documentary film making when all i asked about was lighting the darn bus. B)

i know it will be impossible to achieve only 1.5 over exposed outside and i guess that giving that number was misleading. what i actually meant was that I'm looking for an overexposed look, but i want to retain as much detail as i can. i guess ND will be my solution. ill check it out the first few days and decide.

ill post some photos from the trip.

thanks again.

p.s. just spoke with the producers about the green screen but they couldn't fine a studio available for the entire month so we are flying anyway. :lol: :lol:



Yes see what you mean.. didnt mean to lecture ! keep us posted.. and good luck.
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#19 Michael Collier

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 05:50 PM

Thank you all for the advice.

I'm weighing again the idea of using ND on the windows. Maybe placing them strategically will do the trick and give me the exposure I'm looking for without loosing the ambiance inside the bus. Only problem is that i need to find a modular way for installing them since at night time i will naturally want to take them off .

do you know of any kind of roll-down ND or anything similar that might do the trick?


Don't know of any pre-made solutions, but if the ripple doesn't affend your asstetics too much then you can apply bits of velcro to the cut fittings of ND and on the sill. Then at night rip them off and store it for morning. You'll get ripple of course, thats the trade off for the flexibility. If that doesn't offend your astetic too much then go for it.
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#20 Michael Collier

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 05:52 PM

(sorry double posting...worked too long yesterday lighting for elections)

Edited by Michael Collier, 05 November 2008 - 05:52 PM.

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