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#1 Michael Giannaccio

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 04:40 PM

I am DP on an independent that start shooting next month and it is a very dark piece. The opening scene starts inside a living room that is going to be lit by only moon light from a pair of french doors and a skylight. I wanted some opinions on what instruments and gels seem to create the most realistic looking moonlight. I will be shooting on 7219 stock.


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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:06 AM

Hi Michael,

Please do a search first before posting, you will find many threads on this forum about various ways of recreating moonlight. A lot will depend on how you want it to look, what mood you want to create, etc. Cool, neutral, hard shadows, soft shadows, etc. As always, start with a specific look in mind before picking your instruments.
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:17 AM

To begin, allow me to apologize for the response of my colleague in trade. One of my big pet peeves is when I, or someone else, posts a question and the only response is, "Look it up." While our forum archive is extensive, seldom are the scenarios identical, and often, the posts only partially answer the question. This forum is for people to help each other, and that is what we should do.

Now on to your problem. I was doing a very similar shoot recently, lighting a hotel room to suggest moonlight and nothing else. The space I was in was fairly small, a bedroom, and so I utilized a 1K light set midrange between spot and flood, to get fairly defined shadows, but not so bright or defined that I would reveal myself.

Does your scene call for moonlight and NOTHING else? If so, you could shoot with uncorrected tungsten light, underexpose, and give the whole film a blue bias in post/telecine. This way, you could use perhaps a bit less light

In my case, the scene had the person switching on a practical, which I couldn't gel, so I had to stick with tungsten 3200K as the balance, and put blue gels on the 1K for the moonlight. CTBs eat up quite a bit of light, which was why I used higher wattage. I wanted a fairly blue look, and so I used 2xCTO.

As for the the doors and skylight you mentioned, do you mean these are actually part of the set, and so you'll be lighting through them, or do you want to CREATE them using lights and cookies/flags?

Again, because I had small space, and couldn't rig a light outside, I ran thin strips of gaffers tape along a 1/4 scrim/flag, and rigged it a foot or two in front of the light for hard shadows. I manipulated the angle, to get nice, parallel shadows, to seal the deal.

Finally, I took a fairly low wattage light (it was older and wasn't labeled, but it was probably 300w, with a lot of blue gels, and rigged it under my camera tripod, for a lovely eyelight/fill.

That was my setup, and it turned out quite nicely, though it was designed to have a fairly high key to fill ratio, since the film is more of a horror piece and very moody.

You may want more even key to fill ratio, depending on your subject matter.

Hope this helps! Write if you need anything else!

BR
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#4 Michael Giannaccio

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 01:36 PM

I really appreciate your input and your time and thank you for not telling me to just search around, since I have done that but really just wanted more feedback.

I also have the talent switching on a practical during the scene so I too will have to stick with standard color temp for the timing. What I was thinking of doing is using HMI's for my moonlight with a stipple lens and use daylight kinos with opal for slight fill if I need it since in the complete moonlight scene since complete silhouettes are acceptable. Your lighting setup lends itself to what I'll be doing since the sets are not the most spacious sets, and the french doors are built in but I will have to create the skylight with a frame and some flags.

The story itself is a dark piece so it really lends itself to a high contrast look.

I was also toying with the idea of adding 1/2 to Full CTO to all of my tungsten instruments and leave the HMIs uncorrected and in the timing reduce saturation to give the moonlight a silvery-blue look and the tungsten instruments should fall into place as white light. Also if I do this I was planning on crushing the blacks down to give me a higher contrast ratio while reducing saturation. I am very weary of doing this on film since I haven't seen the results on anything other than digital specifically red one.


I'll probably end up shooting the scenes with normal tungstens for white light and use the naked HMI's for moonlight and see what I can do in the color correction suite.

If anybody has any experience shooting this way on film let me know how it turned out.

Edited by Michael Giannaccio, 31 March 2010 - 01:39 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 02:03 PM

The difference between tungsten and HMI is extreme enough to not need to double it by adding Full CTO to the tungsten. If you are matching an on-camera tungsten practical, probably 1/4 CTO is enough to warm up the unit to match. Leave the HMI's uncorrected if you plan on pulling the blue chroma level down, otherwise, try adding 1/2 CTO to the HMI's for a half-blue.

As to what units to use, it all depends on the look, the distances, and whether you are using a generator or are limited to a 20 amp circuit or under.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:44 AM

I really appreciate your input and your time and thank you for not telling me to just search around, since I have done that but really just wanted more feedback.

Well, I'm sorry if I came off like a dick. One of my pet peeves is when someone asks which lights they should use without ever mentioning what they want the scene to look like. Usually that means they haven't even thought about it. Clearly, you're not that guy. Again, sorry for the attitude.

I still have to ask though, do you want hard shadows or soft? What about color? Saturated or desaturated blue, blue-green, monochrome? How warm do you want the practicals to render?

That will help you figure out which units and gels you need. I would start with HMIs and kinos as a starting point. If you have sufficient distro to run large tungsten units then that may end up being cheaper rental-wise. If you're on a stage then skirted coop lights or kinos would work well for skylight, depending on the color you need.

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 01 April 2010 - 01:46 AM.

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#7 Michael Giannaccio

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:30 PM

Thanks for the reply, I totally understand where you're coming from with the posting thing and I appreciate your help.

I'm looking for harsh moonlight shadows, and I would like a slightly desaturated slivery-blue moonlight so it does't look hokey like so many moonlight scenes do. I'm weary of waiting until post to desaturate the blue HMI look so I have been searching for a good gel to use in conjunction with the HMI to give it a better look. A friend of mine mentioned that steel green would work, I've also heard moonlight grid cloth works well I'll have to run some tests and experiment but if you have had success with a certain gel I would love to know.

The best way I can describe how I would like the practicals to render is something close to the warm orange color in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". I attached a photo to something that is a similar look to how I would like the practicals to look. I realize that for that film it was most definitely done in the DI process with color correction. I think that warming the practicals within the frame with some 1/4 cto and the desaturating in the color correction suite and adding that yellow look will get me the look I'm looking for. I don't have a lot of experience with color correction and this is the first project where it will be my responsibility hence all of the uncertainty. The picture I attached represents the contrast ratio I am going for as well as the quality of light (harshness) and color as well obviously there is no example of moonlight in this but the moonlight look will transform to this look once the practicals are on and you will see the moonlight in the background of the image.

benjaminbutton.jpg

Edited by Michael Giannaccio, 01 April 2010 - 12:31 PM.

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#8 Michael Giannaccio

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:41 PM

Thanks that is extremely helpful to know I'll give it a try.

The difference between tungsten and HMI is extreme enough to not need to double it by adding Full CTO to the tungsten. If you are matching an on-camera tungsten practical, probably 1/4 CTO is enough to warm up the unit to match. Leave the HMI's uncorrected if you plan on pulling the blue chroma level down, otherwise, try adding 1/2 CTO to the HMI's for a half-blue.

As to what units to use, it all depends on the look, the distances, and whether you are using a generator or are limited to a 20 amp circuit or under.


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#9 Michael Giannaccio

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:51 PM

David,

Thanks that is extremely helpful to know I'll give it a try. I also liked the look of your work with "Manure" specifically the look of the 5th picture down on the website that look is what I am trying to achieve but of course with the daylight replaced by the moonlight.

The difference between tungsten and HMI is extreme enough to not need to double it by adding Full CTO to the tungsten. If you are matching an on-camera tungsten practical, probably 1/4 CTO is enough to warm up the unit to match. Leave the HMI's uncorrected if you plan on pulling the blue chroma level down, otherwise, try adding 1/2 CTO to the HMI's for a half-blue.

As to what units to use, it all depends on the look, the distances, and whether you are using a generator or are limited to a 20 amp circuit or under.


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