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Numerous lighting questions


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#1 Trevor Trombley

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 02:37 PM

Hello,

I'm a producer/writer/director who wants to better my DP and Gaffer abilities. Recently I have been working away at hunting down financing for a million dollar feature I co-wrote.

But since that kind of money doesn't just fall out of the sky, and I am eager to get a film made I decided to make a ultra low budget film in the mean time. I feel the script is strong, but being that I can't afford a professional crew. My crew will be fresh out of film school and Volunteers.

I'm ponying up the cash so I need to know how I can get the best bang for my buck.

Two scenes in particular have me stumped as to what lights I should use. (Note: We are using the Panasonic HPX 170 with the M2 Encore.)

EXT. BACK ROAD SCENE - NIGHT

This scene has a girl hitchhiking along the highway alone, and she gets picked up by a jacked up truck. (NOTE: There are no street lights for practicals)

Most of the scene would be of her speaking to the driver. as she debates if she should go with him or not. (behind her you can see the lights of the town.) Possibly motivation for a tungsten rim/back light. What about the motivated light source coming from the cab of the truck on her face? Key light, possibly a small kini flo?? As for fill, what would motivate that? Headlight spill from the truck? Maybe the red light from the tail lights??

What should i use to define the background? a couple 2K lights with 1/2 CTB to simulate moonlight?

These solutions seem the easiest to play with, but what about the wide shots? I'm considering no more than three wide Master shots. Should i film just after the sun has set before it's too dark and use available light. The Headlights would silhouette the girl on it's approach which will look good I think. But what about when she is talking to the driver?

I'm sure these questions have been asked a hundred times. But I appreciate any input.

One last question. I bought a book on film and Video lighting, which talked about Maxibrute Par lights and how they used to be the work horse for night exteriors. Are these lights a great solution if budget restricts using 12K HMI's? I looked around and the price of a maxibrute is 3000 with the bulbs costing 26 dollars compared to a 12K HMI being 30 grand.

Thanks guys.
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#2 David Rakoczy

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 04:13 PM

An Amazing read:

FILM LIGHTING
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 05:46 PM

I think a good place to start would be to look at some low budget films with similar lighting situations and see how they handled it. I would start with film noir, films like "Detour", "Kiss Me Deadly", "T-Men." Also take a look at "In Cold Blood" and "The Godfather." I'd also look at modern films like "Zodiac" and "Babel."

I think you're on the right track. Think about where the light would be coming from and motivate your sources from there. Also, consider using poor man's process for the driving interiors - that's where the car is parked in a dark location (usually an interior stage, but it could be a warehouse, a field at night, wherever), and is rocked back and forth by grips to provide the illusion of movement. It's much simpler to light without having to worry about a moving car, fewer safety concerns, etc.
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Visual Products

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