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#1 Leelon Daniel Scott

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:21 PM

I am a student shooting a short film and am looking for some advise. I have some experience in lighting and understand the basics of how to light, what instruments to use, etc.

The film I'm shooting will be set in a 10 x 10 ft room, which is to resemble an insane asylum. I want it to feel super unnatural and a little surreal, so I want the lighting to be extremely even. Of course, I want a little gradient on the walls to give depth and separate my subjects from the background, but I want the subjects to feel "odd".

I was thinking about putting a silk on top of the room, lighting it with 4 Arri 1k Studios from each corner pointing in (flooded), or placing a standard florescent light (like you would see in a work shop) next to each wall with two in the middle for fill. Inside the room, I would use Arri 350s or 500s all diffused evenly, or with soft-boxes. I don't want too much of a backlight, but on one character I want the light behind him to seem gray.

I'm still putting together a budget for this guy so I'm not sure if I want to shoot HDV or 16mm. I don't have a lot of experience with 16, but I know how to measure light and what stock to choose. I don't know how to load or what camera to choose. Some help there would be nice too.

Thanks for the help guys.
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#2 Alex Hall

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:59 PM

It sounds like you have a good idea of what your going for and also an idea of how to go about it. I would recommend testing some of your ideas. if you haven't already, and work from there.
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:17 PM

I am a student shooting a short film and am looking for some advise. I have some experience in lighting and understand the basics of how to light, what instruments to use, etc.

The film I'm shooting will be set in a 10 x 10 ft room, which is to resemble an insane asylum. I want it to feel super unnatural and a little surreal, so I want the lighting to be extremely even. Of course, I want a little gradient on the walls to give depth and separate my subjects from the background, but I want the subjects to feel "odd".

I was thinking about putting a silk on top of the room, lighting it with 4 Arri 1k Studios from each corner pointing in (flooded), or placing a standard florescent light (like you would see in a work shop) next to each wall with two in the middle for fill. Inside the room, I would use Arri 350s or 500s all diffused evenly, or with soft-boxes. I don't want too much of a backlight, but on one character I want the light behind him to seem gray.

I'm still putting together a budget for this guy so I'm not sure if I want to shoot HDV or 16mm. I don't have a lot of experience with 16, but I know how to measure light and what stock to choose. I don't know how to load or what camera to choose. Some help there would be nice too.

Thanks for the help guys.



Maybe I'm not reading this correctly, but I am a bit confused. You said that you want the light to be even, but the next sentence you want a gradient. :unsure:

Relative to this "even" light (which I assume is some kind of blown out white), you also want a "gray" light behind a character. I'm not sure what a gray light is exactly. You can make the wall appear less-white.... assuming the character is in a stark white suit, if you underlight the white background by a few stops, it will appear darker (grayer).

The "surreal" feeling could be achieved by overexposing, which would mean that you would provide more light than the film is designed to take. OR (and probably a better choice) you could use a filter... something like a White ProMist or a heavy Soft Effects which will diffuse the light on the edges. With all white walls, you'd probably pick up the effect more off the white costumes than anything else, so this is where testing will really be beneficial.

As far as camera choice and/or filmstock, again, if you are able, testing is invaluable so that you find the best medium that will capture the look you need.
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#4 Leelon Daniel Scott

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:51 PM

Thank you so much for the quick replies.

Maybe I'm not reading this correctly, but I am a bit confused. You said that you want the light to be even, but the next sentence you want a gradient. :unsure:


What I mean is that I want to separate the subject from the background. If everything is evenly lit, the subjects would blend into the background. What I want to do is establish the depth of the room and that it is in-fact a room, not just a white space. The way I think I can do that is by establishing a light gradient down the wall. I also want to make the space feel very small so by lighting it in that way, I would establish that.

What I mean by "gray light" behind the character (the doctor) is that I want him to appear different from the patient in a very slight way though light.

I've never shot on film before, apart from a test shot where I had someone do pretty much everything for me, so I want to experiment to broaden my skills in filmmaking. Film is crazy expensive and way out of my budget, but I think I might be able to swing it with a few friends. I'm not sure though what stock to select if I do shoot on film. I know I should choose an indoor stock (because all of my lights are 3200k), but I don't know if I should use color reversal or negative. I want something with a medium film grain (something noticeable but not like Kodak Vision 2), and I don't want super saturated colors.

you could use a filter... something like a White ProMist or a heavy Soft Effects which will diffuse the light on the edges.


Now if I did shoot on film, would I absoultly have to do that effect in camera or could I do it in post?

Thank you guys again so very much. My school doesn't offer ANY film courses at all - its all video - so I'm definitely in strange waters here.
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#5 James Martin

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:16 AM

Perhaps you could see about hiring out (if you can afford it - ask you local rental houses nicely) a real HD (not HDV) camera. Something like the HPX-500 or one of the other solid state cameras will most likely be a lot nicer than what you have used in the past, will give quality comparable to 16mm film (don't tear me to shreds - I don't want this to turn into a film vs video thread) and will be a lot cheaper than film (once you factor in processing etc etc...).

(P.S. the reason I recommend solid state here over, say, HDCAM is that with HDCAM you'd need to find someone with a tape machine and a computer capable of bringing in the footage - not always easy for no money!)
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#6 Leelon Daniel Scott

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:10 AM

Perhaps you could see about hiring out (if you can afford it - ask you local rental houses nicely) a real HD (not HDV) camera.


I would love to, but it rents out for the entire amount of my production budget per day plus I want to get experience with 16mm. What about finding a 1st AC to have loading done for me?

Damn the budget. =[
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#7 James Martin

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 03:29 PM

I am sure you would be able to find a 1st AC to do loading. There will be many experienced in it. Perhaps you could get someone to teach you how to do it? Maybe get the camera a day before, practise with a dead reel of 16mm in the daylight, then try in the changing bag?

Could I ask, how exactly is it that you are getting 16mm for cheaper than HD? Are you getting a very good deal on lab stocks and work?

I recently did a calculation of HD (Sony HDW-750P) vs. Super16 and I worked out that even if I got the 16mm camera for free, if I was shooting over an hour a day I would still save money even paying full whack for HD.

That is, however, just where I am. Full whack for HD for me means around $750/day for the 750p kit with lenses etc...
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#8 Leelon Daniel Scott

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:42 PM

Could I ask, how exactly is it that you are getting 16mm for cheaper than HD? Are you getting a very good deal on lab stocks and work?


I wish that were true, unfortunately I was slightly misleading (by mistake). The CAMERA rental (excluding stock/processing/transfer) is 550.00/day. The full HD camera I wanted to use is 1500.00/day.

I'm thinking due to my budget I will be shooting on HDV simply because I forgot to factor in so much.

Making movies is expensive. :(
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#9 Leelon Daniel Scott

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:42 PM

Could I ask, how exactly is it that you are getting 16mm for cheaper than HD? Are you getting a very good deal on lab stocks and work?


I wish that were true, unfortunately I was slightly misleading (by mistake). The CAMERA rental (excluding stock/processing/transfer) is 550.00/day. The full HD camera I wanted to use is 1500.00/day.

I'm thinking due to my budget I will be shooting on HDV simply because I forgot to factor in so much.

Making movies is expensive. :(
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#10 Leelon Daniel Scott

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:22 PM

So, I've been thinking about my lighting design some more.

How easy is it for a silk to burn?

Thanks.
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#11 Jeo

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 11:54 PM

So, I've been thinking about my lighting design some more.

How easy is it for a silk to burn?

Thanks.


So I take it that you are getting gear from a school or something.
You should be able to rent a hvx200 or hpx for around $200 a day. That will give you much more info to work with than hdv That is important if you want to color control your footage in post.
I've always felt that a major reason "film looks better than digital" in the student/newbie world is because it often gets a skilled colorist to telicine and digital rarely gets color control.

Is sounds to me like your more interested in lighting than film stock right now. Shooting digital will allow you to pay more attention to the lighting because you won't have to think about the film and because you can see your image on a monitor.

A 10x10 white room gets small fast, Light can be hard to manage with soft sources like fluorescents It can bounce all over the place if your not careful. 4 1k ceiling bounces can kill a space that small. Also keep in mind how much Depth of field you want. the more light you add the more you have in focus, You can ND down but why add burn that much light just to take it away.

How high is the ceiling?
Can you hang fixtures?
How many different angles are you shooting?
What are the charicter doing? Sitting at a table, pacing, meditating?
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