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#1 Ram Shani

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 03:01 PM

hi
i just finished to shoot a feature film. and one of the most hard time i got was with situation were the actor is standing at the door of his store which is all window.
i couldn't make it look good, to have good exposure in and out.
even if we were shooting at the right time for the exterior it was very hard to make the interior look with "real" day light.
and with good day light the exterior was all burn out

so i ask for any tip's from you all

all the best
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 03:38 PM

You gotta fill him in somehow. I'd keep him -1stop on the INT and the ext +1 stop for some realism. Fill would be best with HMIs or other daylight fixtures unless you geled the window with 3/4 (my prefference) or full CTO. Fill could also be done with bounce board ext to bounce back the ext light. But to fight the sun you either need big guns further away or go with tighter shots with your heads closer in.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 05:09 PM

If the store front isn't too big, you could butterfly it. That gets you a soft light from above with consistent direction and intensity for most of the day. If you need sunlight, use a big HMI where you want it.





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#4 Eileen Ryan

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 10:35 PM

hi i just finished to shoot a feature film. and one of the most hard time
i got was with situation were the actor is standing at the door of his
store which is all window. i couldn't make it look good, to have good exposure in and out. even if we were shooting at the right time for the exterior it was
very hard to make the interior look with "real" day light.
and with good day light the exterior was all burn out. so i ask for any tip's from you all.


I agree with Adrian’s comment below. The question is what's the biggest HMI you can use? What size you can use will be determined in large part by how much power is available to you.

You gotta fill him in somehow… Fill would be best with HMIs or other daylight … But to fight the sun you … need big guns....


Assuming that you can’t afford a generator, the largest light that you can plug into a u-ground Edison outlet is the new Arrimax 1800. But where it draws about 17 Amps, you have to make sure you are plugged into a 20Amp circuit because it will blow the more common 15Amp circuit. The largest light that you can safely plug into any circuit (since you don’t always know the amperage of the circuit you are plugging into) is a 1200W HMI with a power factor corrected electronic ballast (11 Amp) or a magnetic ballast (13.5 Amps.) A non-power factor corrected electronic ballast will draw 19 Amps and blow a 15 Amp circuit, and even a 20 Amp circuit if there is anything else plugged into it.

If you are not familiar with Power Factor Correction (PFC), it is more sophisticated ballast electronics that utilizes a RF Mains Filter to restrict the flow of harmonic currents back onto the supply service. A PFC circuit realigns voltage and current and induces a smoother power waveform at the distribution bus. As a result, the ballast uses power more efficiently with minimized return current and line noise and also reduces heat, thereby increasing their reliability.

For this reason, all major manufacturers include PFC circuitry in large HMIs (12-18kw), and offer PFC circuitry as an option on medium-sized ballasts (2.5-6kw). However, because of the added cost, weight, and complexity of PFC circuitry, manufacturers have not until recently offered PFC circuitry in HMI ballasts smaller than 2.5kw. Except for one notable exception, when manufacturers do offer PFC circuitry in smaller ballasts it is at a premium, adding as much as a $1000 to the cost of a 1200W ballast for instance. Ballast manufacturer Power-to- Light, on the other hand, is including PFC circuitry in their ballasts at the same price point as other manufacturer’s non-PFC

There are a number of 240 volt outlets in a typical house, office, or industrial plant in this country that you can also use to power 2.5 – 6kw HMIs. The most common are air conditioner outlets, dryer outlets, range outlets, outlets for large copy machines in offices, and the outlets for motorized equipment in industrial plants. Many of these household and industrial 240V receptacles use a three wire system (no neutral) because they are designed to power single phase motors or heating elements that draw a perfectly balanced load and return no current because the single phase service legs are 180 degrees out of phase and cancel each other out. Where a 4kw HMI with PFC electronic ballast, operating at 240 Volts draws roughly 18.5 Amps on each leg of a single phase 240V circuit, its’ load is well within the capacity of these circuits. Where 4kw ballasts are typically wired with a 120V 60Amp Bates Plug (Stage Pin), you will need a 120V Female Bates to 240V adapter. I keep an assortment of adapters because all these 240V receptacles use a different pin configuration. Where most magnetic 4k ballasts only operate at 120V this method is not an option with magnetic ballasts because they will draw 40Amps.

The only way to power 120V 2.5kw & 4kw HMI magnetic ballasts on wall receptacles (without a tie-in) is from 240V circuits through a 240v-to-120v step down transformer. There is a lighting rental and sales company in Dedham MA by the name of ScreenLight & Grip (SL&G) that manufactures a 60A transformer/distro for the Honda EU6500is generators that they modify. Like it does with the enhanced 240V output of their Honda EU6500is Generator, their 60A transformer/distro will convert the 240 volts supplied by these industrial and household 240V receptacles to 120 volts in a single circuit that is the sum of the two single phase legs of 30/50 amps each. In other words, out of a “30A/240v” or a “50A/240v” circuit their transformer/distro makes a 60A/120v circuit that is capable of powering bigger 120V lights, like 2.5kw & 4kw HMIs with magnetic ballasts (even Quartz 5ks, mini brutes (5850W) or Six Light Mole Par (6000W)).

There are even benefits to be gained by powering 2.5kw & 4kw electronic ballasts (PFC or not) on 240V circuits through a 240v-to-120v step down transformer. Most 2.5/4kw electronic ballasts (like the Power Gems (PG) 425CDP, the Power-to-Light (P2L) 425LVI, and Arri 2.5/4 EB w/ALF) typically have an operating range of 90–125 & 180-250 Volts. At 120V they will draw approximately 38 Amps, so you will be able to run additional large lights (like 1.2kws) on the same circuit if, rather than plugging the 4kw PFC electronic ballast directly into the 240 receptacle (operating it at 240V) and monopolizing it, you plug it in through their 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro (operating it at 120 Volts), you will be left with 21 Amps to power additional lights on the same circuit. That’s a lot of additional power to waste by plugging the 4k directly into the 240V receptacle. And, since an electronic ballast “ramps up” gradually during the striking phase, you don’t have to leave head room as you would with a magnetic ballast. By operating the light through the Full Power Transformer/Distro you can more fully utilize the capacity of 240V circuit. For example, since the P2L 4/2.5 LVI ballast at 120V operates a 2.5k HMI luminary at 23 amps, you will still be able to power two additional 1.2kw HMIs (if operated by P2L 575/1200 ballast (11 Amps)), as well as a 800 Joker HMI (if operated by a P2L 800/1200 ballast (8 Amps)), off of the same circuit. That’s a lot of additional light to be gained by not plugging the 2.5 directly into the 240V receptacle.

- Eileen Ryan, Boston Gaffer
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#5 Justin Hayward

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 11:03 PM

If you can’t light it they way you want, I tend to go with the lesser of two evils – expose for the outside and silhouette the actor. Then bring up as much fill as you can for close-ups if you need to.

I like that shot in “The Constant Gardener” where Ralph Fiennes is silhouette in a garage against his wife Rachel Weisz who waves goodbye from a properly exposed outdoors. Everything is sharp as they’re stopped down for the exterior. As she walks away they open the aperture, blowing out the exterior and bringing up Ralph Fiennes, but simultaneously throwing the exterior out of focus due to the open stop. So, now Ralph Fiennes is properly exposed (and sharp) against a very out of focus, blown out, background.

I guess that would be truly splitting the diff.
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#6 Guy Holt

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 11:55 AM

i just finished to shoot a feature film... it was very hard to make the interior look like "real" day light... any tip's t


In order to make the scene look natural you usually have to do more than just fill the interior, you should also bring in a sun source. If the sun is shining directly on the window you should silk it for two reasons. First, it will be hard to balance direct sunlight. Second, the sun moves. If it is a big scene that takes a while to shoot you will notice the movement of the sun when you edit it all together. The best approach is to silk the real sun so that you take any directionality out of it, and then bring in your own sun source for consistency.

If you are shooting on a low budget, your best bet is to use 4ks because you can operate them on common 240V wall outlets or our modified Honda EU6500is inverter generator. A set-up that would give you the most natural look would be to silk the sun, use a 4k Fresnel outside for a consistent sun feel, and then use a heavily diffused 4k Par inside to fill. Diffusing the 4K inside will take the “source-i-ness” out of it and using a 4k Fresnel outside will give you the crisp direct sunlight feel. To operate both 4ks without having to tie-in or rent an expensive diesel tow generator (with all its hidden costs), I would suggest you use one of our step-down transformer/distros that Eileen mentions above on a 240v receptacle in the store to power the inside 4k. To power the outside 4k, I would suggest a second step-down transformer/distro powered by our modified Honda EU6500is inverter generator.

I have found a package of two transformer/distros and two modified Honda EU6500is generators to be all that is necessary to shoot independent features. For night exteriors, you use one generator with a transformer distro to power a 4k Par to light the deep background. The second generator with a transformer distro powers is used to power smaller HMIs or Kino Flos that light your talent action area. Using two generators allows you to light both foreground & background (the sign of good production values) without having to run tons of cable. You might also consider using our 18 Gallon Extended Run Fuel Tank for the EU6500is supplying power to the 4K Par lighting the deep background. Our Extendend Run Fuel Tank will run the generator for a continuous 18 hours, so that you can set it and forget it, without worrying about it running out of fuel in the middle of a shot (use this link for more details.)

When shooting interiors (like the one discussed here), you use one of the transformers on a 240V range or dryer receptacle to power a larger light inside; while using the other transformer to run a 4k Par along with a 1200 Par on the Honda EU6500is outside. I have used this same combination of wall outlets, 60A step-down transformer distros, and Honda EU6500is generators to eliminate the need for tie-ins or a tow genny on many of the historical documentaries I have gaffed. For example, I have used this same package repeatedly at a historical mansion in Easton MA called the Ames Estate.

Posted Image
(Scene from "Unsolved History" powered from 50A/240V range outlet through step-down transformer/distro at the Ames Estate)


A popular state fee free location, the Ames Estate, like many historical house/museums, does not permit tie-ins and the electrical wiring in the house is so antiquated that it is unusable. Fortunately, they have a 50A/240 volt circuit in the carriage house for a welder they use to repair the mowers they use at the park. Our standard mode of operation when shooting there is to run 250V extension cable from the welding receptacle to a 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro placed in the entry hall of the house. Using a 60A Siamese at the Transformer/Distro, we then run 60A 6/3 Bates extensions, down to the library, to the second floor, and back to the maid’s pantry. At the end of each run we put another 60A Siamese. A 60A snackbox on one side of the Siamese gives us 20A branch circuits. The other side we leave open for a large HMI or Tungsten Light. Now we can safely plug 1200 & 2500W HMIs, or even a 5k Quartz, into our own distribution anywhere in the house.A good example of this approach is an American Experience program titled “The Most Dangerous Women in America” about Typhoid Mary that I lit for PBS. For part of her life Typhoid Mary was quarantined on an island in New York's East River.

Posted Image
(Typhoid Mary in quarantine on an island in New York's East River. Note the view out the window of the East River shoreline at the turn of the century.)


Because New York’s East River today looks nothing like it did when she was in quarantine, we used a 30' blowup of a picture of the East River at the turn of the century rigged outside the windows of a house in Arlington MA. As you can see by the production stills I have attached, the requirements of this production were very similar to what Ram Shani faced. We had to strike a delicate balance between the interior and exterior levels. We wanted to overexpose the exterior by one stop so that it would look realistic and hide the fact that the exterior was a blow-up. As you can see in the production still of the exterior of the actual location used for the quarantine island, we rigged a solid over the porch windows and the blow-up to keep the sun off both. That way we could light the blow-up and interior so that it remained consistent even though the sun moved on and off the porch in the course of the day. To take the edge off the blow-up, we used a single scrim outside the window to help throw it out of focus.

Posted Image
(The actual exterior of Mary’s cottage was the backyard of a house in Arlington Ma with a 30’ blow up of a picture of New York’s East River shoreline at the turn of the century.)



To maintain continuity between shots, we brought a 4kw HMI Par in a window on one side of the room as a sun source and a 1200 par through a window on the other side as a northern light source. We powered both heads off a dryer plug in the laundry room of the house using one of our transformer/distros. The two 2.5k Par lights used outside to light the blow-up were powered by a Honda EU6500is through a second 60A Full Power Transformer/Distro. Since the Honda EU6500is could be placed right on the lawn, we were saved from running hundreds of feet of feeder back to a tow generator.

Posted Image
(A child dying of Typhoid Mary filmed in a bedroom of the Ames Estate)


We have been able to use this same basic package at numerous museums and historical houses throughout New England including Sturbridge Village. Fortunately for us, to make ends meet, many historical houses rent themselves out for events and weddings. For that reason, they usually have at least one updated service with 30 or 50 Amp 240 volt circuit for the warming ovens of caterers.

Posted Image
(The New York City Health Inspector filmed in the library of the Ames Estate)


Use this link - http://www.screenlig...ransformer.html - for more production stills of PBS and History Channel historical documentaries shot entirely, or in part, with our 60A Full Power Transformer/Distros and modified Honda EU6500is inverter generators at the Ames Estate.

Guy Holt, Gaffer, [url="http://"http://www.screenlightandgrip.com"] SreenLight & Grip, Boston[/url]
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#7 Ram Shani

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:43 AM

thank you all for the very detail answers

i forgot to say that i didn't had any problem with light or power
i had 4k par, 2.5hmi ,and 3/ 1.2par
i also silk the direct sun all the time
and make my own sun using the light's or just go with the soft sun from the silk
but i still wasn't total happy when i had to shoot to the windows
i fill from inside but to me it was all the time look lit even when i used heavy diff or bounce
i tried to shoot at the time when there was no direct sun outside, but this create anther problem for the light in the interior going down too
and i need to light it from out
you can look at some pics here:
http://www.facebook....mp;id=687375748
http://www.facebook....mp;id=687375748
http://www.facebook....mp;id=687375748
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#8 JD Hartman

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 03:56 PM

Seems obvious, but did you apply ND to all the windows as well as difusing the natural light with a silk?
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#9 Paul Bruening

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 04:30 PM

I'm for Justin's suggestion. It'll look artsy-fartsy and save you a ton of grief and time. Get the rest with angles that don't force the exposure into extremes. Bitch-slap the director if you have to.
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#10 Ram Shani

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 06:29 AM

no i didn't use ND on window but i had green blinds which help a lot

'Bitch-slap the director if you have to"- i wouldn't go that far :(
we need to give solution to the problem not say it's not possible
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:34 PM

no i didn't use ND on window but i had green blinds which help a lot

'Bitch-slap the director if you have to"- i wouldn't go that far :(
we need to give solution to the problem not say it's not possible


The best solution is light and lots of it. How much juice can your electrician get out of that location? What's the biggest HMI's you can get your hands on? You're talking about competing with the light power of the sun. It takes a lot. As well, how good is the air conditioner in that location?
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#12 Paul Bruening

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:47 PM

Here's some more crazy ideas: Can the director re-script to use the location at night? Little cans here and there to depth-up the exterior and all the interior stuff isn't baking to a crisp under enormous, hot lights.
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#13 Ram Shani

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:42 AM

i think it gone to far
i just wanted to discuss this situation and how other deal with it
and how do you light this kind of things with out make it look lit
the movie is over by now:)

p s
look up of the list of light i had
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