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#1 b marsolan

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:40 AM

Hey I just joined this forum and I need some help. I have by own production company and I have an extra room in my office. I want to make this a room to help teenagers get into production. I snapped a picture of this room.

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I just ordered green screens to completely cover the entire room and carpet. So here is where I need the help. I want to know if there is anyway to attach lighting to the ceiling to produce continuous lighting around the 2 walls shown. I am a videographer by trade, so I KNOW that the light has to be spread evenly. My whole thing is that I have a TON of lighting that can be moved, so I can light the subject and the floor accordingly.

The other thing is that I dont want to spend a billion dollars on this project. Is there anything I can get at like Home Depot?

Hope You guys can help!

DJ KuRvY
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:49 AM

There are little scissor clamps with baby spuds on them at grip houses -- they can be clamped on the metal rail between the panels in a drop ceiling, as long as the light being hung is very lightweight (like Dedos). Otherwise, generally you'd either: (1) pop out a ceiling panel and look for some stronger architectural elements (beams, pipes, etc.) to clamp onto, or (2) use menace arms or goal-post rigs to arm out lights. A goal-post rig is two strong stands with a pipe between them, raised up to the ceiling, to create something to hang lights off of. A menace arm is a pipe armed out from a very strong stand.

It's hard to avoid getting some professional grip gear for some of this -- like clamps with baby spuds or holes to take a baby pin, or gobo heads from c-stands, whatever the lighting unit itself needs in order to be mounted. Also, if you do a menace arm or goal-post rig, it helps to use beefy stands like combo stands w/ heavy sandbags at the base, for stability.

Certainly, though, it may be possible to create a lighting grid from the ceiling with pipe, clamps, and chain from a hardware store IF you can find something in the real ceiling above the drop-down panels that can handle real weight. With safety chains added. Or clamp vertical pipe from floor to ceiling (you'll need a heavy base of some kind) on each side of the screen that allows you to clamp a horizontal piece. Again, it better be well-secured.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:10 PM

Given that you are working in an office space with low ceilings, I'd give some thought to installing more of the same units that are already in the ceiling. You can route the wiring on the same paths as the existing wire, following code, of course. Sometimes you can score some of those units for pretty cheap. It would make a cleaner installation. Then you can run lights on stands for sculpting.

This is not a great idea. I was just considering maintaining the property value and keeping the landlord happy. This is usually a better thing to do in a space with higher ceilings and some more elbow room. But, you do what you can with what you have.
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#4 b marsolan

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for the idea. I own the entire building and I have installers. (So... labor is cheap) I have been reading since I posted this. Is it possible to flood the key from above with some type of hallogen light? Like should I mount the light directly above the green screen shining down?

Also, I read that when you are illuminating the subject it is better to light him/her from above also so you dont cast shadows. Is this true?
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:51 PM

You have three problems to solve: 1) You want decent lighting on your subjects. 2) You don't want their shadows to fall onto the green screen. 3) You want broad, even lighting on the green screen. The easiest way is to separate your subjects from the background. Use a 45 degree or more down angle on your subject lights. That way your light angles will still be at a usable and flattering angle for the subjects. But, they won't throw long shadows on your green screen. If the lights are broads, their splash may be enough to illuminate the screen.

That is just a rule of thumb for utility lighting of an FX shot. Mostly for mediums and closer. For your student's purposes, it may be enough. On a commercial production, it doesn't often end up that easy. Many times, you have to try and match the lighting to the background layer that you will composite onto. That is a real challenge.

Come to think of it, that low ceiling might be your friend. Bounce PAR or fresnel light off the white ceiling panels to get the angles, subject sculpting and screen illumination and avoid all of the installation hassles altogether. That would meet your three requirements, keep the set-up cheap. keep the set-up versatile.
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#6 Alfeo Dixon

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:23 PM

Hey umm DJ,

David's idea of Dedo's is a great one. You could line up a about a 6 to 12 (2 to 4 on the 10x and 4 to 8 on 16x8) of the Dedo lights with barn doors about 6 to 8 feet out. Try some defusion on the inside of the barn doors so the light won't spill downwards. You may need to black wrap the instrument it's self for spillage. That should give you a nice even spread on the green fabrics. You may want to also make them meet in the corner, this would allow for more shooting possibilities.

If you get too close to the wall and your angle is too steep, your light will fall off and not spread properly. Putting more overheads fixtures along the walls will also do the same and fall off too quickly to give a nice even key.

Best of luck

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Edited by Alfeo Dixon, 09 December 2008 - 02:27 PM.

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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 07:06 PM

Often you want some backlight to wash-out green spill and provide separation (depends though on how closely the lighting has to match the background plate's lighting) so that may mean some lights right at the top of the greenscreen. But you also need lights hitting the greenscreen evenly. Plus you need lighting for the subject.

As much as possible, as Paul said, it helps to light the green separately from the subject, with as much distance between the subject and the green as possible, due to green spill (light hits the green and bounces back onto the subject.)

I often light greenscreens with Kinoflo tubes from all sides.
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#8 J. Lamar King

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 07:17 PM

If you own that building and this is going to be a studio space for a while you should consider seeing what is above that drop ceiling. If it gains you a couple of feet and sturdy rigging points why not remove it or a portion of it?
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#9 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:21 AM

Hmmm... good point! You guys rock!
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#10 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:28 AM

1 Last question. If I want to install a Track bar (The kind that holds up lighting in a house). I like the dido light idea with the clamps but I want a more professional look. I did light tests yesterday. I have a Lowel V 500w GDA and that seemed to FILL? the key AWESOME, however I have some Lowel Pro 250 watt lights and it does not seem to spread too evenly. Is there any tips on where and what kind of lights would work good there? Can I hang the dido lights? BTW there are all kinds of Dido lights. Can anyone send me a link with the kind of lights which you are referring. I hope that I am not being a pain in the A$$.

Kurvy
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#11 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:34 AM

Well. I just went and got a ladder and lifted the tile. There is so much room up there you can walk up there. :) I talked to the installers in the other office and they said whatever I need installed no big deal.
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#12 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:38 AM

I also just purchased 3 more 10 x 20 green screens. The wall on the left I dont think is the right color. I am going to roll the wall with green and also the carpet. And one for a spare.
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#13 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 09:47 AM

These lights are a pain. I am so confused on what to buy. I found this great site also. This is where I ordered my green screens from www. a mvona.net . The prices was pretty decent also. I see all kinds of florescent kits for when I am actually going to light my subject. However, it is the roof that I am worried about.
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#14 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 11:25 AM

Ok. I made a decision. I am going to order 6 Lowel V-lights 500 watts for the green screen. I am also going to buy a Elation stage pack with a dimmer system. ( That should take care of the relective light problem)

Just a few things:

I have got to give you guys a complement. This is the most efficient run board on the internet. All the other boards that I posted on I did not even receive a response. You guys are wonderful!

2nd- I am a Videographer and ever since this project and a small film I never realized how TRULY important a Cinematographer is! I am not sure if its a good thing for a Videographer to admit that but... my hat goes off to you!

DJ KuRvY
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#15 JD Hartman

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 12:43 PM

Before you remove the dropped ceiling, check to see that it isn't used as the air return for the HVAC system, most are. That will result in uneven heating and cooling of the space. If you are planning on permanently lighting the greenscreen, V lights aren't going to be very effective. The greenscreen should be lit as evenly as possible from top to bottom and side to side. Better to buy some used "cyc" lights. They have a reflector designed to disperse the light evenly just for that purpose.
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#16 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 01:15 PM

Since it's your building I'd pull the tiles and grid, painting everything up there flat black. If the airspace above the tiles is an A/C plenum you'll need to install replacement ducts but that's not a real big deal.

I was the master engineer/resident lighting director for an Equity SPT that converted a dance rehearsal room to a black box theatre. We weren't able to pull the ceiling tiles because the host theatre complex wanted to reserve the option to use the room for a different purpose in the eventuality the black box didn't work out. I was able to add additional light pipes beyond the three the facility installed, eventually ending up with a grid system. The floor structure above was supported by cast in place concrete beams and I supported the added pipes with aircraft cabling passed through horizontal holes that I hammer drilled through the beams. That's a lot safer than if I had used anchors installed from one side of the beams. We also replaced the original white tiles with black tiles which stopped a lot of light spill in the space.

If you elect to leave the ceiling tile grid in place, the space above the tiles is an air plenum, and you run any cables above the tiles you MUST use plenum rated cables. Plenum rated cabling does not generate toxic fumes in case of overheating or a fire. You can imagine the result if cabling in a plenum space is generating toxic fumes which then get sucked into, and distributed by, the building HVAC system.
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#17 Serge Teulon

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:10 PM

Hey DJ,

Sounds like you got the answers you needed.

Out of curiosity, is DJ KuRvY your real name?
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#18 b marsolan

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:19 PM

The police know me as David "John" or DJ.

www.youtube.com/djkurvy
www.myspace.com/deejaykurvy


Thanks for the help.

Kurvy
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