Low budget lightening
Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:44 AM
We're shooting a project in the next few months and I have two questions.
1) What is a good, low budget method of creating a flash of lightening outside of a window. I had thought of using a few different camera flashes, with different strengths, and shooting them off almost at the same time. I have to do some tests to see how well that would actually work though.
2) Secondly, we have one shot in the film, a locked-down wide shot at dusk, that needs some composite work. On the horizon, we see some storm clouds building up with heat lightening inside, lighting up the clouds. I would rather avoid if possible making the clouds and lightening CG. I was trying to figure out a way to "create" my own clouds and film them for the composite shot.
I did something similar to this in a short film, where we shot a cut-out of the moon, which was backlit, through a fishtank and poured half and half in. Then we filmed it in super slow mo and it gave a great moon-and-clouds-at-night effect which we composited into our film, but this is a little trickier since its day.
Any and all thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:57 AM
Storm clouds rolling in were done in "Close Encounters", "Dragonslayer" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and other 80's movies by use of a large tank with an inversion layer of half salt water, half fresh water on top, with an injection of some sort of white paint using needles into select areas. The clouds of white paint stayed above the inversion layer. Very tedious to shoot and every take requires draining the tanks and starting over again, and you need fairly large tanks. I'm not sure exactly how the inversion layer was created -- I think they filled the tank halfway with salt water, then put a sheet of plastic on the surface, then filled it carefully with fresh water, and then carefully pulled the separating sheet out?
You're better off shooting your own plates of real approaching storms, perhaps undercranked to speed up the clouds. Or even time-lapse with a DSLR. That way you can match the lens focal length better to the plate with the actors.
Posted 02 November 2009 - 02:53 PM
1) What is a good, low budget method of creating a flash of lightening outside of a window.
The cheapest of all is just to turn the camera off and immediately back on again. As the speed dips, a few frames get heavily overexposed. To be believable, you can't have any bright lights in the room. All the light should come from outside, because this brightens everything. If you're shooting sync sound, do both head and tail sticks, so you can pull up the track at the flash point. (And of course the lightning can't hit on a line.... )
Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:24 AM
Posted 02 December 2009 - 03:51 PM
A flashy little unit that packs a powerful punch, the Dataflash AF1000 features technical advances that place it in a class by itself. This individually addressable strobe can be used in a variety of settings to simulate lightning or as a continuous illumination source. It features an advanced xenon flash lamp system and multiple ultra high-power flash heads that can be controlled by any DMX source. Regulate rate, duration and intensity remotely with full DMX-512 remote control. Trigger several simultaneously for powerful white light flashes that simulate lightning storms. It’s available in a yoke-mountable non-weatherized or weatherized design to withstand the rigors of touring or demanding performance conditions. Optional accessories include different colored domes, available in clear (standard), red, blue, violet and green.
Edited by Denny Lajeunesse, 02 December 2009 - 03:54 PM.
Posted 02 December 2009 - 11:12 PM
although this is a low budget effect i would never recommend attempting it without a highly experienced electrician involved.
its funny. over the years when ever a lightning effect is required i share that story with production when they inquire about a low budget solution. after hearing the part about flames they never seem to hesitate to cough up the money for a proper lightning strike.
Posted 03 December 2009 - 09:00 PM
Another Lightning Thread
Posted 03 December 2009 - 11:03 PM
Posted 03 December 2009 - 11:44 PM
Here is how the roll call went on Pumpkinhead... Camera you ready?... ok... Let's lock it up!... Smoke it up!... Wind!... Leaves!... Lightning!... Camera!... Monster!... ACTION!!!!!!!!..... cut ...... back to one!
Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:27 AM
Also be aware of what rules are in place regarding strobing for your project. You don't want to be causing epilectic fits.
I have to agree Martin Atomics are very good for this kind of work if you are on a budget. They aren't a clunkly backyard solution either. They can be Either operated by an electric using a detonator(the atomics hand held dmx controller) or off a console. They can also be linked so you can use a number of them together. For example on a previous show I did we used two through windows then one bounced into foamcore for fill.
Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:17 PM
At auctions, garage, estate, farm, tag sales they often go cheap.
Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:01 AM
Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:05 PM
That was really helpful! Thanks, but I just want to know the formula for the ink.
This flickr set has a bunch of good photos showing the process of filming a cloud tank. I believe rollers placed in the tank are used to help guide the plastic sheet out of the tank, so it slides horizontally between the two layers.