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INT - Dark Bedroom With No Lights On


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#1 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:38 AM

So I encountered an interesting situation in a short I shot this weekend. I'm curious how others would have attacked the problem.

A woman goes to bed and is attacked during the night. The script specifically says that there are no lights on. The scene must be shot during the day necessitating window blackout and thus no possibility of seeing city lights out the windows. The film is B&W.

What do you do?


I came to grips that nothing I do can possibly be motivated by any kind of realism. I basically made up a source of rimlight that came from generally the center of the room. I tried to keep it a happy medium between not looking too hot but also being hot enough that the B&W frame wasn't too muddy-looking. I walked a china ball on a dimmer that was half spraypainted black so I could fill enough to see eyes, expressions, etc. I figured that any more than that would leave the realm of believable.
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#2 Shubham Kasera

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 02:00 AM

So I encountered an interesting situation in a short I shot this weekend. I'm curious how others would have attacked the problem.

A woman goes to bed and is attacked during the night. The script specifically says that there are no lights on. The scene must be shot during the day necessitating window blackout and thus no possibility of seeing city lights out the windows. The film is B&W.

What do you do?


I came to grips that nothing I do can possibly be motivated by any kind of realism. I basically made up a source of rimlight that came from generally the center of the room. I tried to keep it a happy medium between not looking too hot but also being hot enough that the B&W frame wasn't too muddy-looking. I walked a china ball on a dimmer that was half spraypainted black so I could fill enough to see eyes, expressions, etc. I figured that any more than that would leave the realm of believable.

sounds interesting
i would be thrown into such a situation very soon
we will be shooting an interior room at night with no possible light source and that too in a real location and in day time
im planning not to black out the windows as it makes it look like a studio
instead im planning to use a lot of ND sheets to make the window atleast 3 to 3.5 stops down from the exposure so as to record a little detail. im planning to place net curtains on top of them.
as far as room lighting is concerned, im plannin to have very little soft blue fill which is totally absent in the other end of the room where there is no window.
however overhead rim lighting isnt too bad an idea

cheers
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 04:13 AM

sounds interesting
i would be thrown into such a situation very soon
we will be shooting an interior room at night with no possible light source and that too in a real location and in day time
im planning not to black out the windows as it makes it look like a studio
instead im planning to use a lot of ND sheets to make the window atleast 3 to 3.5 stops down from the exposure so as to record a little detail. im planning to place net curtains on top of them.
as far as room lighting is concerned, im plannin to have very little soft blue fill which is totally absent in the other end of the room where there is no window.
however overhead rim lighting isnt too bad an idea

cheers


In your situation, you could color the rimlight sort of a sodium vapor color. With the color contrast of that against the blue fill, very little rimlight could go a long way.
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#4 JD Hartman

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:15 AM

You could have tented the window and still had a subdued source outside, cut further by the blinds and curtains. If that wasn't possible and the room was large enough the light from the window could be setup out of the frame for the shot.

Edited by JD Hartman, 16 March 2009 - 11:16 AM.

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#5 Hemant Tavathia

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:17 AM

My approach would be threefold:
1. Creating overall Fill for the room: I'd probably put 2K Mighties through softboxes wrapped around them- then have them rake the ceiling- assuming that the ceiling would not be seen. This should create an overall fill in the room. The editor can take it down in post if too much is seen.
2. Production Design and Wardrobe: Work with my production designer and Wardrobe people- Light colored walls for background and light colored wardrobe on the actors that is darker than the wall in their background.
3. Eyelight/backlight: For Eyelight- A soft source that the actor's pupil would reflect. For Backlight- nothing fancy, just enough to give some separation.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:00 PM

Because you're shooting in B & W you can't rely on colour for separation, you need to create tonal separation. What you can get away depends on how much you see of the bedroom and if you can see the window in the shots.

Personally, I would tend to suggest light coming in from outside and hitting part of a wall and shape the lighting from that, keeping the light hitting the characters to a minimum, so they seem almost silhouettes against the wall. Perhaps using low key lighting to catch any character details needed for the story or even to give a touch of shaping down one side.

What you can do also depends in the film's genre and the story you're telling.
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#7 Bruce Southerland

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 04:51 PM

I would tent off the windows so that I had room to light the scene from outside the
windows, as if ambient & moonlight from outside were coming through the windows.
And maybe a little fill.A scene that comes to my mind is the final scene of Rear Window,
where Jimmy Stewart is sitting in the dark waiting for the villian to come in the room. I seem to
remember there being catchlights in his eyes as well, though I'm not sure of that.
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#8 David Rakoczy

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:19 PM

You could have tented the window and still had a subdued source outside... - JD Hartman


I would tent off the windows so that I had room to light the scene from outside the
windows, as if ambient & moonlight from outside were coming through the windows.
And maybe a little fill.


Same here.. along with having say a 1k or 2k in the room to 'wrap' that Window Light.. after all, if there are no others sources in the room that is all you are left with.. the light coming in through the window, which more often than not, can actually be very bright especially in B&W. You can even place a Prop (i.e. a bush) outside the window inside the tent and light it so you have (some) depth out the window. Hang some small decorative lights for 'city lights'... have a sheer on but not covering the window subtly blowing in the breeze.. add the exterior audio and bam you are in the city!.. remove the 'city lights' and add the sound of crickets and you are in the country...
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