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Creating lighting...the cheap way


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#1 Jose Figueroa Baez

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 11:54 AM

I am DP on a small indie feature. The script calls for lightning in a scene. Some of it is simply in the background but then there is a scene where the lightning becomes the only source creating a sillohuette, and setting up a reveal about a character. I only have some studio lights, some work lights and posibly a set of 4x4 Kinos and some Devas. Is there a cheap way to create a lightning effect without an HMI and the specialized equipment that create the effect??? Any help would be greatly apreciated.

Edited by Jose Figueroa Baez, 14 April 2009 - 11:55 AM.

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#2 Christopher Arata

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 01:04 PM

Just my opinion....I have never tried this & have only used lightning strikes once, but lightning renders best as short, intense, multiple, burst of light. I have heard of some guys using studio strobes from still photography to render the effect so you might want to look into that?

From the equipment you listed things that come to mind are CTB or gel of your choice, flags & dimmers, and some fast and in sync Grips & Electrics or out of sync who knows that might work better.
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#3 Aaron Moorhead

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:37 PM

Flashes from studio strobes work okay and are probably cheaper to rent than lightning strikes (check them with the flash setting of your meter before you get on set, to be sure you're right), you can even get away with flashes from a bulb on a DSLR if it's a closeup. However, you probably can't get a good result from the dimmers and gear you listed. I'm cutting a project right now that tried it for gunshots, and the result was so weak that I had to go into After Effects and create an entirely new flash effect in post.

Good luck!
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#4 Jose Figueroa Baez

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:58 PM

you can even get away with flashes from a bulb on a DSLR if it's a closeup.


I own a Canon 580EX II, which is pretty powerful. Do you think I could use that??? I'm gonna test it first since you suggested it. Thank you for the ideas and the help.
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