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Soft Top Lighting w/ Drop Ceiling


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#1 Tim Sutherland

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:26 PM

I'm going to be shooting a short in a small (13' x 17' room with a table in the middle and windows on one end. It has a drop ceiling with 2 2'x4' fluorescent lights in it. However, they're not in the places I need them for giving my actors soft top light.

I'm looking for something like these shots from State of Play, photographed by Rodrigo Prieto:

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So I was thinking of a few options:

1) Replace the overhead floros with kino tubes, tape kino tubes to the ceiling where I need them that they don't exist.

2) Remove some ceiling tiles and put a 1K/650 with a small chimera as high up as I can get it and shine it down.

3) Remove some ceiling tiles, put some 1ks up above the ceiling tiles, bouncing off of some beadboard of foam core down into 216 or tough spun.

I'm inclined to go for #1, but we don't have any kinos and the budget is super tight (I know that kinos are cheap to rent, but any rentals basically come out of my pocket).

With number 2 and 3, I'm not sure how realistic it is to mount the fixtures above the drop ceiling. I could hang them below, but I don't want them getting into my wide shots since the room is not that big.

I plan on using some bounce and china balls for key and fill as necessary. There will be some pracitcals in the room and some 300/150w fixtures rigged up to act as recessed lighting near two opposing walls.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 08:39 PM

Source-4's are good for bouncing into parts of the ceiling where no fluorescent fixture exists.
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#3 Eric Schmiedl

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 03:42 AM

2) Remove some ceiling tiles and put a 1K/650 with a small chimera as high up as I can get it and shine it down.

3) Remove some ceiling tiles, put some 1ks up above the ceiling tiles, bouncing off of some beadboard of foam core down into 216 or tough spun.


Be careful that there's enough ventilation for the lights up in that ceiling, and that nothing else happens to cause a fire! Drop ceilings often have little air movement and lots of dust.

(also check that your instruments are OK burning vertically...)
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#4 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 07:49 PM

If it is a drop ceiling (tiles), can't you put scissor clips up there and do what you want with them?

Also, I am actually working with Rodrigo Prieto right now on a movie (ones of the nicest DPs I've worked with... very cool guy) so if you'd like I could ask him about what he did in those shots if we get a chance.


-DW
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 08:10 PM

if you have a drop ceiling you can do a number of things.

First if you have the ceiling in the shot you can simply buy and add more practical fixtures where you need them. Typically they are 2 feet by 2 feet or 2 feet by 4 feet in the US. Buy them from home depot or your local hardware store and put a plug on it and run the power wherever you don't see the cables. Just be sure you have the right bulbs for the fixture you are adding meaning t-8 or t-12

If your ceiling is not in the shot then you can add and hang, or do whatever you want.

best

Tim
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#6 Tim Sutherland

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 09:20 PM

I'm pretty sure Rodrigo had them build in the fixtures where he wanted since that location was a huge set across two stages that he got to help design the practicals. I'm not so lucky.

I don't want to hang fixtures, even though we won't see the ceiling most likely because by the time I hang something, it's going to get low fast and not be as soft as I'd like, except maybe a Kino.

I'm thinking I will either break down and rent Kinos or maybe some source-4's like David suggested. Since I don't need daylight source-4's, the tungsten ones are fairly cheap to rent and I could use beadboard or foam core to shape where it bounces from. That might be easy to set up and work with on our tight schedule.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 11:03 PM

A few times I've had a drop ceiling that was on the low side. We removed some tiles and put kinos on top of the frame for the tiles and grip clipped them into place.
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