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Int. Night Scene


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#1 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 12:00 PM

I have a 35mm thesis film coming up where I want to light a realistic contrasted Int. night scene. Reading in previous threads I realize that the realism will come from good observation from the scene I am trying to portray, but I am still unsure how to create a realistic color temperature and intensity of moonlight.

What I'm really asking for is what have the experienced done before with lighting this type of scene, and what film stocks have been used to help aid the look?

Thanks for the help!
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 12:45 PM

Depending on how blue you want the moonlight to appear, it might be a good place to start with 1/2CTB on any Tungsten units you're using to make moonlight or 1/2 CTO on HMIs. My own personal preference is 3/4 correction (3/4CTB on Tungsten or 1/4 CTO on HMI) and then working with that a little bit in post if needed.
Also the perception of color will come a bit from the colors around it. here's some fun examples:
http://www.echalk.co...s/illusions.htm
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#3 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 01:11 PM

So I guess the next step in deciding how blue I would need the color would be to go out and put myself within a similar scene.

Do you happen to have any clips from how your Night Int. have turned out? I would be interested in seeing the results of specific colored lighting, results from 3/4 CTB or 1/4 CTO.

Thanks for the post!
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 01:16 PM

Ha, i'd love to give you some footage, but sadly, I lost my whole hard drive with all the selects. I'm working on getting it back; but it's 1G i don't have for a data recovery. . . . Another valuable lesson, back up your footage on more than 2 drives!
You can test with a DSLR as well to get a rough idea.
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#5 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:09 PM

Dang, no bueno my man, sorry to hear about that! Although, I do appreciate the tip.

As far as testing beforehand with a DSLR, do you personally do this before any production you shoot? Or is the testing normally done only when something new to yourself is being attempted?
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:25 PM

For me; all of the above!
I normally do my own tests on my normal SLR, when i'm playing with filters stuff like that. When I'm bout to go onto a scout I really enjoy having a DSLR with me (normally I borrow a friend's Nikon and bring out my old lenses) to get an idea of how the place works without me lighting it and get some ideas on framings and the like. I even have a small little point and shoot that does 16:9, which is nice and fits on my belt with my light meter.
Then when I'm on set, if I am nervous about something I'll shoot a DSLR shot approximating the camera (e.g. same asa same stop and 1/60th of a second (slightly off of the 1/48th of a film camera; but within the range of correction) and I'll pop off a shot, look at the histogram and review it really fast. I also enjoy shooting a shot or two of the actual people in the set-ups which later on I'll fiddle with in Photoshop and send off the colorist-- I normally work with the same one on film which is nice-- as a rough guide. I also will email those shots to the director etc and get feedback. It's a nice way of getting an "idea" of how film will react. It's no exact, but it's a good approximate and I trust the negative will have more information than the jpg i'm shooting anyway.
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#7 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 03:57 PM

Very helpful information Adrian!

Never thought about sending in DSLR images of the scene with photoshop corrected images to help your colorist. Do they respond well to these images? Do they really help aid the colorist in getting your final look?

Also, in this night int. scene, the context of it is that it is always a struggling time for the characters within this house. Are there any suggestions as far as mixing color temperatures (green, yellow) and playing with high contrasted faces or anything else that would help benefit the feel we are going for?

Thanks for the help!

Edited by Spencer Hutchins, 06 November 2008 - 03:58 PM.

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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 04:22 PM

It depends a bit i'm sure on the colorist you're working with. They should feel as much a collaborator as anyone and not just a button pusher. I know the one I work with is always eager to turn to me and say "let me show you something," and after a few magic buttons a wonderful image comes up which fits perfectly. The point being, don't be Stalanistic with your stills. They should exist only as a rough rubric; a skeleton upon which you will build the final look of the film. I tend to think of the reference stills I generate for the colorist much in the same terms as the image/video references the director gives me. Often, something like "this is the feeling i want to evoke." From there the rest gets figured out. I hope that makes some sense.
Now; without knowing the story/location etc if it's a time of their struggling, and searching inside of themselves for answers; they are uncertain etc, it could be interesting to have them in a dark room, in which there is no light; and have them "enveloped" by this darkness. Have some moonlight streaming in through the windows and perhaps something tungsten coming in softly from "another room." The moon light hits them as your "key," and falls off creating the strange forms I often see when I wake up in the middle of the night and look at my room (granted I'm looking at it under street light as I'm in a city). That's just a quick Idea I had had and I think it also reflects some of my own preferences; that I like motivated lighting which looks "natural," and by that I mean I wouldn't normally mix moonlight with a fixture in the room for illumination because when I turn on my lights @ home I don't see any moonlight ;)
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#9 Spencer Hutchins

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 08:08 PM

I like the idea of have 'the range' rather than 'the mix' of the color temperatures coming from another room. Seems it would give for one, more contrast and have a lot of dark portions in the scene... and two make it a more interesting image to look at with the distinct two color differences. The idea kind of reminds me (and I humbly say this knowing my incompatibility to his work) of Mr. Conrad Hall's "American Beauty", in the WS of the scene where Kevin Spacey goes outside to 'party' with Wes Bently. (Couldn't find an image)

I understand how having a practical on would in real life over power the moonlight coming from a window, but is there a way to keep both these color temperatures visible is she was reading during the scene? Maybe the lamp doesn't have as large of a spread, or is focused somewhere else particular?

Thanks for the replies guys!
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#10 Malik Sajid

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:47 AM

Adrian! how do you use your DSLR for the references? I mainly concerned about the shutter speed. How you match the shutter speed of the DSLR with that of the motion picture camera? And what if you are using digital dv cams? what is the relation b/w shutter speed of DSLR and the frame rate fps?
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 08:18 AM

I just use 1/60th for most of my exposures. The difference between 1/48th and 1/60th isn't grand enough to as to throw everything off. Also for a miniDV camera i'd use 1/60th as they set at 1/60th.
If it was PAL area, I'd use 1/50th if available on the camera; else 1/60th still works fine. You're actually with 1/60th loosing a bit of light because the shutter speed is faster; but it's not going to hurt you that much. It's just for rough evaluations/references and I've never had a problem with it.
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#12 Malik Sajid

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:23 AM

Can a DSLR camera work as a light meter?

If i use the settings of the my DSLR camera in my sony 250p camera, i mean the shutter speed as you said 1/48 or 1/60 th of a second, it will suggest me the aperture for a properly lit image (but that can be viewed only in a small LCD ).

Is this a fine approach? How can my DSLR camera help me setting the appropriate settings?
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#13 Sing Howe Yam

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 03:17 AM

Can a DSLR camera work as a light meter?

If i use the settings of the my DSLR camera in my sony 250p camera, i mean the shutter speed as you said 1/48 or 1/60 th of a second, it will suggest me the aperture for a properly lit image (but that can be viewed only in a small LCD ).

Is this a fine approach? How can my DSLR camera help me setting the appropriate settings?



I would only use this as a reference for something or just a rough idea of where you're going with by using the DSLR (be it lighting, angle selection, etc.) I would not use a DSLR as a lightmeter for shooting 16mm or 35mm or any motion picture stock. DSLR's don't have the same characteristics as the film stocks. I've seen too many people go this route because they treat it as an on the spot assurance.

I've learned the hardway about this. I was gaffing a show and for a particular shot I kept pulling this fill away from someones face and relied on a white tea cup when raised to the actors face to give a decent amount of bounce back. I snapped a photo of it on a Canon DSLR to match everything 1/60 shutter, matching stop and matching ASA. Look fine on the DSLR and I went ahead with it. Before I saw the DSLR picture I was thinking I needed to push in the off screen bounce source in a little more, but I didn't because of the DSLR! Well what I learned when dailies came back that the face did not get as much fill from the cup meaning I should have moved my off screen bounce in for more of a base fill light. Which left the actor about 1 stop to 1.5 stop underexposed. The DP was able to push it out enough in post without increasing grain so I got lucky. The only time I use a DSLR is just for a reference but never for final decisions.

Sing
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