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Naturalistic Lighting in Bathroom


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#1 Cory Smith

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 07:51 PM

Hello,

I will be shooting a S16mm film in a few weeks and one of the scenes will take place in this bathroom (it will be framed in more or less the same way and there will be an actress in the scene).

I'll be shooting on Kodak Vision3 500t 7219 with an 85 filter and was wondering if anybody has any recommendations for lighting this scene. I want it to look naturally lit from the window, so I don't want to implement any tungsten sources. I also don't want the window to blow out because it has an interesting color to it which I want to preserve (this isn't too noticeable in my picture).
The camera and tripod will be blocking the entire doorway, and there isn't much more room inside for lights. There is a light in the ceiling, so I was thinking I could do something with that to add more daylight by switching out the bulb and adding CTB, but I'm not too sure what to do.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

DSC_0231.jpg
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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:29 PM

I also don't want the window to blow out because it has an interesting color to it which I want to preserve (this isn't too noticeable in my picture).
The camera and tripod will be blocking the entire doorway, and there isn't much more room inside for lights. There is a light in the ceiling, so I was thinking I could do something with that to add more daylight by switching out the bulb and adding CTB, but I'm not too sure what to do.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

DSC_0231.jpg


If you don't wan't the window to blow out, you will very likely need some 5.5k lights inside, to balance the exposure. You can get some daylight Kinos rigged above the sink and leave it at that, or some low wattage daylight source outside the window in addition to the actual window being tented to prevent the sun to overpower you fixture -- with or without the Kino over the sink. ;)
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#3 Cory Smith

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:57 PM

If you don't wan't the window to blow out, you will very likely need some 5.5k lights inside, to balance the exposure. You can get some daylight Kinos rigged above the sink and leave it at that, or some low wattage daylight source outside the window in addition to the actual window being tented to prevent the sun to overpower you fixture -- with or without the Kino over the sink. ;)


Unfortunately I am unable to light from outside the window and only have access to a Dedo Light Kit K4300M. I was planning on using those with full CTB.
I am wondering if I should make an investment in some chinaballs, or at least replacement bulbs for the bathroom. Would replacing the overhead bulb with a daylight bulb work out, or would that not be enough light?
Also, I probably should have mentioned that the window is frosted glass, so you cannot really see out of it to begin with, so when I said I didn't want it to blow out I just mean that I want the texture/color of it to be somewhat apparent.
thanks for help!
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#4 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 09:27 PM

Consider using some CTOND gel on the window and adding some fill in the room. This way you can keep the Dedos tungsten and not lose the light intensity you would with CTB on them.
You would also gain some stop since you would not need the 85 filter on the camera.
With 7219 this situation should be just fine.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 05:58 AM

I'm with Dan on this one. CTO ND the window down then fill with soft source to the side; a china ball would work for that, or full silk.
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#6 Cory Smith

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:02 PM

I'm with Dan on this one. CTO ND the window down then fill with soft source to the side; a china ball would work for that, or full silk.


Yeah, that definitely seems to be the option that most people suggest. But wouldn't doing that not give me the daylight/bluish look that I am after? I am sort of confused about the difference in the final look of using tungsten balanced film and adding CTO on the window versus using tungsten balanced film with an 85 filter and gelling my lights with CTB. Wont the first option result in a warmer look and the second a colder look?
Thanks again for the help!
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:08 PM

And 85 filter is full CTO. So by adding the filter to the camera you're correcting everything going into the camera to tungsten. Hence your window will be "white," and any tungsten lights NOT gelled with CTB will be orange.
Addind CTO to the window (with or without ND) will just change the window to appear "white," on tungsten film and then allow you to use tungsten lighting without adding CTB to the heads.
It should also be noted, that CTO gel removes less light than CTB. If memory serves, full CTO is about a 2/3 stop loss and full CTB is around a 2 stop loss. Hence why it normally makes more sense to correct daylight to tungsten as opposed to tungsten to daylight.

If you want a daylight bluish look then you'd have to leave the window uncorrected, or what might be better is to use 1/2 CTO on the window and 1/2 CTB on your tungsten lighting. It'll be "cooler" but not super blue (you could blue it up more or less later on in telecine as well). Often, when I work with mixed lighting, I keep my windows @ 1/2 CTO and leave my tungsten units as they are, or sometimes 1/4 CTB. I like the interplay of the warm and cold, though often windows go far too blue for my liking.
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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 03:46 PM

It's really too bad you only have Dedos, they are the wrong tool for the job. You need 5500K lights. If you want the light to appear like it's coming from the window, then it needs to come from that direction. By adding too much fill light from inside the bathroom, you're going to lose that feeling.

Ideally, I would stop down or put up a net outside the window to lower the overall exposure to retain some highlight detail
outside. Then use an HMI to throw a hard slash of light on the tub and lower half of the back wall (gelled tungsten probably will not be strong enough, unless it's a 5K or bigger). You could try several gelled 1K parcans with a VNSP globes (very narrow spot), but it might not be enough. Then add a 4 bank Kino either above the window aimed down, or if it's too contrasty then punched up into the ceiling for ambience. But try to keep it all coming from the window direction if that's supposed to be the only light source in the room.
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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:47 PM

Best bathroom scene I have ever seen was "The Fountain" in the bathtub.
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#10 David Rakoczy

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 05:04 PM

If you are shooting from the angle you are at in the still (?).... and going by what you described the look to desired.. and you only have small units.. I'd look at gelling the window with just CTO and placing a diffused tungsten Lamp camera left and wrap that natural window light. You can then time the scene warmer or cooler depending on the time of day and feel of the scene.

Have Fun with whatever you do!
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#11 Cory Smith

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:13 PM

thanks for all the advice everybody!

luckily a Kino Flo 2 ft Four Bank Select light kit is now available for me to check out at my school's equipment office, so i have that in addition to the dedo kit now.
any advice on how exactly to rig the kit above the mirror or shower? i don't have any experience with that at all.

thanks again
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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:18 PM

How high is the cieling? you can pop the tubes out of the kino flow and gaff tape them to the ceiling if you have to. Done that a few times. and then run the cable to the ballast on the floor.
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:45 PM

How high is the cieling? you can pop the tubes out of the kino flow and gaff tape them to the ceiling if you have to. Done that a few times. and then run the cable to the ballast on the floor.


+1 on the tape. You just pop all the tubes out and set the fixture aside. That would probably work out nicely right above the bathroom mirror for when there's business there.
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#14 Cory Smith

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 10:21 PM

Sounds good! I'll definitely try that. Thanks!
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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 07:08 AM

If you want it to look like the natural light coming thru the window (as you expressed)... the placement of any overhead Lamp will be very important... unless you want it to look like it is lit from an overhead. Frankly, bouncing a Lamp or mounting a Lamp in the ceiling is how most people would light this but I like what you described in your initial post and that (too me) is much more cinematic (and sophisticated) and takes a bit more finesse to achieve, but in my opinion... will look much better!

The only way I'd be taping them to the ceiling is if you have 5500k Kino Globes, you could tape one/two to the ceiling above the tub against the mirror wall and butted against the window wall.... this way you can wrap that window light around and into your actors face assuming he/she is looking into the mirror. You won't need to Gel the window and that will allow even more daylight to stream in... you will need to cut it off the wall as not to reveal the source.

If it fits your story, I'd recreate what you have pictured.. that is a nice (natural) image.

Good Luck!
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#16 Cory Smith

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 07:40 PM

So I did a lighting test of sorts this past week with the Sony HVR Z1U just to get a general idea of how things will look. I ended up putting the Kinos (pointed towards the ceiling) in this opened cabinet on the left side of the bathroom. The resulting image did not really mesh with what I have in my head, as everything ended up looking like it was lit from an overhead white light, not the daylight streaming in from the window. I am shooting on the Aaton XTR Prod with Kodak Vision3 500t 7219 this weekend, and I will definitely try taking the Kino tubes out of their casing and taping them above the window, but I have a feeling that I will end up with the same problem of things looking overly lit and flat.

Also, in the test shoot I did, with all four 2ft. Kino tubes powered on and directed toward the ceiling, I only had an f-stop reading of 2.8 on my actress' face (I rated the film at 320), which seems really low to me, especially since the scene looked over-lit to me.

Just wondering if anybody has any extra tips for ensuring I get that natural look I am after, while still having enough light to not shoot with my lens all the way open.
I should also add that I don't want my actress to be too dark, as her expressions are important to notice in the scene.

Thanks for all the help once again!
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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 09:04 PM

if you want daylight streaming through the window; then you need to throw a light through the window; something very hard, and haze up the room.
you could also opt to under-expose the whole scene by a stop or to. problem is the bathroom is light colored. Were I you, i'd just leave it "natural" as in your shot, a little tiny bit of fill if needed and let the window got slightly over.
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#18 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 11:48 PM

So I did a lighting test of sorts this past week with the Sony HVR Z1U just to get a general idea of how things will look.

Cory, would you mind posting a still frame so we can see?

I ended up putting the Kinos (pointed towards the ceiling) in this opened cabinet on the left side of the bathroom. The resulting image did not really mesh with what I have in my head, as everything ended up looking like it was lit from an overhead white light, not the daylight streaming in from the window.

Yes, the problem with bashing a light into the ceiling is that the light goes everywhere. This technique is normally used to create a fill light on the shadow side, so you would place it toward the opposite wall from the window and squeeze the doors down until you subtly lightened the shadows.

You will have the same problem will spill if you tape bare bulbs up. You can control the light by using black wrap or 2" matte black paper tape to cover the sides and top/bottom of the kino fixture to flag unwanted spill off the walls and keep the light directional. If the kino came with an eggcrate (louver), then putting that in will also help keep the light directional.

Also, in the test shoot I did, with all four 2ft. Kino tubes powered on and directed toward the ceiling, I only had an f-stop reading of 2.8 on my actress' face (I rated the film at 320), which seems really low to me, especially since the scene looked over-lit to me.

How fast are your lenses? I wouldn't worry about having enough light with those readings, 7219 has tons of shadow detail - it's almost impossible to underexpose it so badly that there's no detail in the shadows. It would probably look more like your still if you let the room go dark by two stops or so. As long as your key reading toward the window is around middle grey you should be fine.

I think the key point I want to get across is that if you like the look you're getting in the original still, then you don't want to alter it by adding lights from different directions. Respect the natural light source, the window. It is basically a side-y, diffused rectangle of light that is being flagged off of the ceiling and back wall by the window frame and wall. Think of them as large flags cutting off the soft source: a topper, two siders, and a bottomer. That's what gives the light a moody look, it is carefully controlled.

Now add the actor into the scene. Let's say you like the lighting on the background but you need the key to wrap more around the actor's face as she stands in front of the mirror - right now, the window is acting like a 3/4 backlight on her. So you need to augment the window light. Then where does the new light have to be to create the desired effect and still seem to be coming from the general direction of the window? And where will it be out of frame? That should tell you where the light needs to go. Luckily, you've got that curtain rod to help you rig that light, though you may need a beefier support. Now diffuse and flag the light the same as the window.

I would be tempted to add some kind of shadow pattern on the wall next to the mirror to break up the light a little as it's a bit flat.
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#19 Miguel Angel

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 01:37 PM

So, let me think about a different way.

What happens if you scout the location in a hour which you have the sun giving in the window, 3/4 or similar?

Bye.
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#20 Evan Pierre

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 01:54 PM

Sounds good! I'll definitely try that. Thanks!


If working in a location with painted ceilings that doesn't belong to you, you MUST be careful with gaff tape. It can rip paint right off of walls (as I learned the hard way once.)
Do a test with a small piece of gaff tape on a corner of the ceiling, rub it in nice and good then see if it pulls off paint when removed.

If it does, use 2 inch paper (aka painters) tape.

Best of luck to you!
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