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Unmotivated Lighting Quest


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#1 Brian Hamm

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:19 PM

I wanted to know what any DP's or Gaffers would do to light an INT ROOM NIGHT with no windows or practicals on. (no moon source, or flashlights)
Anyone come across a situation like this?

just curious...

i had to shoot a scene in a closet in this similar scenario.

Hard or soft cold or worm....

converse......
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#2 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:53 PM

Converse?... what... are we here for (your) entertainment?
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 12:44 AM

Definitely worm. Hey, you're the DP, you light it.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 01:19 AM

I wanted to know what any DP's or Gaffers would do to light an INT ROOM NIGHT with no windows or practicals on. (no moon source, or flashlights)
Anyone come across a situation like this?


Generally there is always a light source, even if it may just be light leaking from under a crack in a door. But honestly, if the point was that you were in a sealed room with absolutely no light pollution at all, wouldn't it be pitch-black?

You could just create this really, really dim ambience -- super-soft underexposed light that doesn't seem to be coming from anywhere -- but it's a bit boring, being so murky and low-contrast. But for a brief sequence before a practical light gets turned on, it's OK as a base.

Just avoid a white-walled room because by the time the walls looks dim enough, faces have disappeared into murk.
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#5 JD Hartman

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 03:07 PM

I wouldn't light it all, I'd use a camera sensitive in the infrared spectrum. Makes for a great climax scene in any porno.
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#6 Aaron Moorhead

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 04:19 PM

I would say EXTREMELY soft, several stops under (depending on the latitude of your medium), just rimming/topping (no fill) and slightly cold or neutral. If you go any strong color preference, people will infer the wrong things (warm - tungsten light source, cold - moonlight), which you don't want them to even subconsciously think about. Do you have to see anything very clearly in the scene, or is it just dialogue?
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#7 David Rakoczy

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:39 PM

I don't think there is an actual scene to be filmed. I believe this is more like a puzzle for us to 'converse' :rolleyes:

I am in the dark on this one :lol:
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:03 PM

I had to do a short with this exact description. No lights, all the shades drawn, no moonlight, etc. My solution was very, very low level cool soft light and slight unmotivated white rims to define shape. I wasn't really happy but the director was. I thought it got very boring very fast. I wanted some kind of source (a nightlight or a digital alarm clock would have done) so there could at least be directionality.
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#9 Steve London

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 01:56 AM

If a source is truly practical, can be seen in the frame of one of the shots in a scene, then I worry about its motivating the lighting and I try to carry it with an off-screen fixture if I need more light than the practical can provide, which is the rule.

If there is no source that's established in the scene then you needn't worry so much and can decide where you think a source belongs in this scene -- a table lamp or ceiling lamp in a night interior or an invented "window" supplying light, for example.

You can get the closet light down to zip but I think most people generally want to see something going on in dark places so unless it's essential to the story telling that you literally keep you audience in the dark then supply a little light and don't sweat that maybe real life wouldn't put any there.

Study how DPs you admire light night exteriors and you'll see plenty of unmotivated photons that look good and let you see the characters but aren't there in real life.

Motivation can be both underdone and overdone, IMO.
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