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#1 Steve Maisch

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:19 PM

Cinematography novice here. Have shot like 3 shorts, all have done well, but for our new project, I am really trying to focus on lighting and cinematography. We have a scene where a man in a wheelchair is sitting about 3 feet away from a window, staring out of it. The window has slatted blinds. The effect I want is to have the light from outside beaming in, illuminating the man, but to have the definitive lines of shadows from the blinds on his face. So its light, shadow, light shadow, etc etc up and down his face.

When I test this in a dark room with light streaming in from just outside, it is a very pretty and soft image, but the face is washed with light, not harsh lines. Any suggestions?

I am using a Canon GL2 with a wide angle adapter.

ImageTest2.jpg


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#2 Serge Teulon

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:32 PM

Hey Steve,

That photo is bathed in very soft, overcast light. That type of light will not achieve what you are after.

The effect that you are after means that you'll need a hard hitting source. Once you've set it up then play with the tilting of the blinds.
David Mullen achieved some great results on one of his films by using a 4k xenon.

Also look at the topic in new posts under the heading of "Ugly Shadows".
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#3 Steve Maisch

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:34 PM

Hey Steve,

That photo is bathed in very soft, overcast light. That type of light will not achieve what you are after.

The effect that you are after means that you'll need a hard hitting source. Once you've set it up then play with the tilting of the blinds.
David Mullen achieved some great results on one of his films by using a 4k xenon.

Also look at the topic in new posts under the heading of "Ugly Shadows".



Excellent Serge, thank you for responding to my first post, yeah! I shall try a few more test shots and post them after I read teh topic you suggested.
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#4 Rich Steel

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:35 PM

I'm assuming your just using natural daylight as you haven't mentioned the use of any particular fixtures.

I'd personally use a dedolight DLH4 Fixture with a projection adaptor but I'm in the fortunate position of owning it. There are numerous ways of doing it though.

Do you have access to any lighting kit? if not, again there are lots of DIY ways of achieving the look.

Here's a link to some great examples:

http://cinepad.com/filmnoir/blinds.htm

and here's another pretty good link to tell you how to achieve it:

http://www.videomake.../article/13548/
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#5 Steve Maisch

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 07:04 PM

I'm assuming your just using natural daylight as you haven't mentioned the use of any particular fixtures.

I'd personally use a dedolight DLH4 Fixture with a projection adaptor but I'm in the fortunate position of owning it. There are numerous ways of doing it though.

Do you have access to any lighting kit? if not, again there are lots of DIY ways of achieving the look.

Here's a link to some great examples:

http://cinepad.com/filmnoir/blinds.htm

and here's another pretty good link to tell you how to achieve it:

http://www.videomake.../article/13548/



Heading off to read that article now. This is what I came up with in testing with what Serge suggested. All my lighting is DIY. I have shoplights, cone lights, and two small lights with diffusers. Pretty much all put together with hardware store parts.


ImageTest4.jpg
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 09:16 PM

If this is a day interior, and it's sunny outside, you can use a 4'x4' mirror board to angle the real sunlight through the blinds. That's one of the cheapest methods, though it requires sunlight outside at an angle that works for the mirror.

For stage work, I've pulled the fresnel out of some big tungsten units for a harder pattern.
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#7 Steve Maisch

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:16 AM

If this is a day interior, and it's sunny outside, you can use a 4'x4' mirror board to angle the real sunlight through the blinds. That's one of the cheapest methods, though it requires sunlight outside at an angle that works for the mirror.

For stage work, I've pulled the fresnel out of some big tungsten units for a harder pattern.



This scene will be at night, so I will probably tint it blue or a cooler color to simulate moonlight. It is supposed to have a dark, sad feeling. THe man in the wheelchair is dying and about to commit suicide to ease the pain (just to give you an idea of the mood I am going for).
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#8 Shubham Kasera

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:15 AM

This scene will be at night, so I will probably tint it blue or a cooler color to simulate moonlight. It is supposed to have a dark, sad feeling. THe man in the wheelchair is dying and about to commit suicide to ease the pain (just to give you an idea of the mood I am going for).


hello
i think the mirror suggestion is the best, provided u have sunlight there
if not, i would advice you to use a tungsten light, like a solar, and open the lens..
this way the light coming through will be hard.. you could hang a full blue gel in front of the lens and hence match the color temperature to that of day light
shooting with natural light streamin in will not give u hard shadows
try directing the light from a far off distance from the blinds to give you a harder shadow
and if u say its night, then you could also suggest light coming in through the street lamps and play with tungsten light instead of moonlight
moonlight doesnt really create hard shadows of the blinds on the walls..
try using a brighter color wall as the shadows will merge in that color..

cheers

shubham

Edited by Shubham Kasera, 19 February 2009 - 09:17 AM.

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#9 JD Hartman

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:20 AM

This scene will be at night, so I will probably tint it blue or a cooler color to simulate moonlight. It is supposed to have a dark, sad feeling. THe man in the wheelchair is dying and about to commit suicide to ease the pain (just to give you an idea of the mood I am going for).


1/2 CTB or 1/2 Straw may give you the look you want. Since it's DIY, an open face floodlight, like a 500w Halogen worklight could be used here. Blackwrap can substitute for the lack of barndoor on a worklight. You might want to have some ND gels on hand to cut the intensity.
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 12:56 PM

1/2 CTB or 1/2 Straw may give you the look you want.

Hey JD,

How is 1/2 Straw supposed to give him a cool, bluish moonlight effect? Just nitpicking...
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#11 Steve Maisch

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 01:49 PM

1/2 CTB or 1/2 Straw may give you the look you want. Since it's DIY, an open face floodlight, like a 500w Halogen worklight could be used here. Blackwrap can substitute for the lack of barndoor on a worklight. You might want to have some ND gels on hand to cut the intensity.



Is it best to do colored gels on set, or modify the color in post? (we use Sony Vegas 8).

Thanks for all the help guys.
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#12 Scott Bryant

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 02:36 PM

Walter Graff also covers this well in his videos. Might be worth a look.
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#13 JD Hartman

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:27 AM

Hey JD,

How is 1/2 Straw supposed to give him a cool, bluish moonlight effect? Just nitpicking...


The CTB will give him the color he's looking for. I should have been more explicit and stated that Straw or Bastard Amber could be an option, instead of the usual blue moonlight.
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#14 DS Williams

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 02:49 PM

Is it best to do colored gels on set, or modify the color in post? (we use Sony Vegas 8).


Don't rely on post for you look. Create it on set.

I'd set up your camera for tungsten balance and set up a 1k or 2k tungsten fresnel with a 1/2 or even full CTB outside the window, then play the blinds and the position of the fresnels, lens, ect, until you achieve those hard lines.


I just did a scene like this where I set up 3 lights believe it or not outside the window, but the lights were supposed to act as the late afternoon warm sun. So I used daylight balance in camera.

Edited by Daniel S Williams, 20 February 2009 - 02:50 PM.

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#15 DS Williams

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 02:53 PM

Also,

the smaller your source, and the less diffused it is, the stronger and sharper your shadows will be.

That's why soft boxes are so large, they diffuse small point sources

You had that girl too close to the blinds, and it was overcast outside so the light flooding through was soft light to begin with.


I'd block out the sun completely outside using a tarp or blankets or muslin ect, then set up my lights so that they shined through the window.

Watch for double shadows if you're using 2 or 3 lights.

Edited by Daniel S Williams, 20 February 2009 - 02:53 PM.

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#16 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 09:04 AM

The further you move your hard source from the blinds, the more defined the shadows will be.

The smaller the physical size of the bulb is, the sharper it will be. Sometimes a good trick is to cover the reflector in a lamp with some black wrap, so that just the filament is doing the lighting. This makes it much harder. Also, like David mentioned, removing any fresnels etc makes the source harder.

A bigger source far away is to prefer as it creates more parallel beams (like the sun). If the rays are not parallel it looks like a movie-light, especially on blinds.

In my experience using a hard source to create sunshine on an overcast day never really looks right. So if you can shoot it on a sunny day (even though the sun might not be in the perfect position for your window shot), that would make your life a lot easier.
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