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Eye light for actors


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#1 Reinis Traidas

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 07:15 AM

Hello,

I've been starting out shooting some short films and I've just realized (via some feedback from established DOPs) how important it is to light the actors eyes. I've never really thought about this until now when lighting.

I was wondering what some of the more experiencing shooters out there use to add a nice, subtle light to be reflected in the actors eyes in a close up. Is there a solution that would add something in the eye without adding any unneeded light on the actors face or in the scene? Or is it just the way you position a light so that it reflects in the eye? Especially in a dark/dim or high contrast situation where you don't exactly want a lot of fill light - i.e. want to keep the face rather dark?

I would appreciate your comments.
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#2 Paul Maibaum ASC

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 10:53 AM

Lite-Panels "Ring Lite"

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#3 JD Hartman

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 11:12 AM

An Inky with diffusion on the barndoors works fine.
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 01:36 PM

An Inky with diffusion on the barndoors works fine.


That's what I use ;)
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#5 Kyle Reid

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 03:21 PM

I'll third the inky with some diffusion. That's exactly what I did for closeups on the last film I shot, and it was a quick and easy solution.
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#6 Gus Sacks

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 04:11 PM

Bouncing in some light from another source with a bounce board works for a typically omnidirectional fill.
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#7 Ryan Thomas

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 05:55 PM

One good thing to realize is that you can stick the inky on a dimmer or just scrim it down until it's not doing very much fill wise, but definitely doing it's job eye-light wise.

Basically, it doesn't need to illuminate anything, it just needs to be something reflective in their eyes.

Also, unless I'm doing some sort of rap video or something of the sort, I'm not too much of a fan of the ringlights reflections that it creates. It does show you some of the cool things you can do with eyelights though. For example, I worked on a music video a while ago where we cut a giant skull out of foam core and bounced light off of that to use as an eyelight. It made a little skull in the lead singers eyes and shooting his eyes with a 55mm macro came out very cool.

Edited by Ryan Thomas, 25 December 2009 - 05:57 PM.

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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 07:20 PM

Almsot anything can be reflected in the eye. Sometimes the key light is enough to create a nice reflection. Other times, the fill may do it -- I've seen plenty of close-ups where you can tell a 4' 4-bank Kino was being used for fill.

Or you can use a light on the lens or right next to it -- I've done the inky trick many times, or used a Dedo, or a LED Micro Litepanels, or a bare lightbulb, or a Kino Miniflo on the mattebox, or a small Chinese Lantern hanging right over the lens, or under it, etc. In a pinch, I once used the camera assistant's lens light.

One thing I used recently was a 1K Zip with two eggcrates on it, end-to-end, to create a snoot. Basically a trick to remove bags under the eyes but it also creates a nice eyelight.
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#9 Tom Jensen

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 07:30 PM

I love a little eye light. Photographically, it just makes the eyes pop a little. I think John Alonzo just used something like a clear Christmas light bulb. He said not only does it look nice but producers are paying for those eyes which are often what an actor is known for. People act with their eyes.
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#10 David Rakoczy

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 07:30 AM

Almsot anything can be reflected in the eye. Sometimes the key light is enough to create a nice reflection. Other times, the fill may do it -- I've seen plenty of close-ups where you can tell a 4' 4-bank Kino was being used for fill.

Or you can use a light on the lens or right next to it -- I've done the inky trick many times, or used a Dedo, or a LED Micro Litepanels, or a bare lightbulb, or a Kino Miniflo on the mattebox, or a small Chinese Lantern hanging right over the lens, or under it, etc. In a pinch, I once used the camera assistant's lens light.

One thing I used recently was a 1K Zip with two eggcrates on it, end-to-end, to create a snoot. Basically a trick to remove bags under the eyes but it also creates a nice eyelight.


I use this trick as well... but it is usually my 2k Zip just under lens with only one Globe (Bulb) burning.
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#11 Reinis Traidas

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:05 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll be sure to try out the 1K Inky trick next time around. I guess I'll have to play around with how close or far from the actor it has to be to reflect nicely and yet not add too much fill.

If I put it on a dimmer though, dim it way down and put it quite close to the actor, won't it cast excessively warm light on him?
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#12 John Brawley

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 02:19 AM

If I put it on a dimmer though, dim it way down and put it quite close to the actor, won't it cast excessively warm light on him?



Not if it's dimmed way down.

Remember the trick is NOT to light but to reflect a light into the eye. I've often used a dedo above the lens BARE but dimmed way down. I look down along the lens and set the level with the dimmer until i can *just* start to see the shadow as I wave my hand in front of the dedo. When it's close to the lens axis You won't even see this small shadow from the dedo.


I prefer an active eyelight but a passive light works well sometimes too, like a larger piece of card. You don't even need to light it.

jb
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#13 boy yniguez

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 06:45 AM

Lite-Panels "Ring Lite"



or the obie light:
http://www.filmtools...s-lp-micro.html
Litepanels Micro LED Camera Obie Light. Since the dawn of film making, Hollywood cinematographers have understood the importance of a good eyelight, one that literally gives life to the face. Now in the era of HD resolution, its even more important to fill in shadows on the face and bring the subject's eyes to life.

OBIE LIGHT
Compact light fitting designed to mount just above a film/stills camera lens for two reasons: firstly to create a characteristic glint in the eye of the subject of the photograph/film (it's known as the Eye Light), secondly to flatten out any lines/wrinkles in the face of the subject. The Obie Light is named after the actress Merle Oberon (known to friends as "Obie"). It was first used by her husband, cinematographer Lucien Ballard, in the 1940s to make lines and shadows disappear from her face which were due to scarring following a car accident. The Obie Light is normally heavily diffused.

Litepanels lightweight, yet powerful new camera light (obie light) was created in response to the overwhelming popularity of the company's MiniPlus model. The new Litepanels Micro harnesses the company's extremely efficient LED technology in an ultra-lightweight, extremely compact package. Users of DV camcorders can now enjoy a similar quality of luminous, soft, directional lighting, with the same warmth and great color quality that has quickly made Litepanels an integral part of television, broadcast news and motion picture productions worldwide.

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