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Lighting a Space Helmet


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#1 Josh Henderson

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 11:48 AM

Hi I'm currently in prep for a dramatic short that takes place entirely in space suits - no shuttle, no station, just floating in space. Will be shot on RED One.

At the moment, the plan is to have one very hard light (ie the sun). We've talked about in helmet lighting, but aren't sold for the look in this case. So far my thought is to fill from the edge - either top/bottom/left/right to minimize the reflections.

I guess the question is: does anyone have any tricks for fill light through a reflective surface?
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 01:22 PM

I could be a bit out in left feild, but have you considered using Christmas tree lights? If they are strung randomly they could be made to look like a star field in the reflection, and still be able to provide a low level ambiance that would fill more naturally than doing a side, side, top bottom fill.
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#3 Josh Henderson

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:02 PM

I could be a bit out in left feild, but have you considered using Christmas tree lights? If they are strung randomly they could be made to look like a star field in the reflection, and still be able to provide a low level ambiance that would fill more naturally than doing a side, side, top bottom fill.



Not out of left field at all. I've thought of using them on other projects before, and I tried buying an LED set after this past Christmas, but they had already cleared out.

My only concern is to fill the convex surface with reflection highlights.
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#4 Alex Malm

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 11:42 AM

My only concern is to fill the convex surface with reflection highlights.


Would using a polarizer help eliminate some of those reflections?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 12:47 PM

Having worked on "Astronaut Farmer" there is no solution -- anything pointed at the actor's dome faceplate will be reflected. There is no angle where the light won't be seen in a dome.

Your best bet is for the reflections to be logical. Hard sunlight creating one hard spot reflection. Any fill would come from whatever the sun could be bouncing off of -- a space station, the Earth, etc. If there is no object for light to bounce back into the face, then there would be no fill. Any conventional fill would be reflected in the helmet. Polas won't help.

This is why Hollywood often designs space helmets with something other than a dome faceplate and/or with internal lighting. There are these ribbon LED's now that can be dimmed.
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#6 Tom Jensen

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 03:56 PM

Wasn't there an interview in AC with Dean Cundey?
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#7 PETER KREKLOW

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 04:56 PM

Would using a polarizer help eliminate some of those reflections?

Polaziers will eliminate reflections, you need to have a polazierd gel on the light source and on the lens. The light source must be 45 degrees off axies of the lens. Dial the lens polizer till the light reflection is gone. Note: old school animation camera man used polazried light to shoot actetate animation cells.
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#8 Mei Lewis

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 01:44 PM

I used to think that having lights in a helmet lighting an astronaut's face was crazy, there was no way that would happen in real life, it would just dazzle them and make it hard to see.

But it's psychologically important to be able to see the face of the person you're tlaking to, and being in space is a very isolating thing, so I think they could plausibly be included for that reason.
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#9 Josh Henderson

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:40 PM

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and help.

When I looked at the helmet again, there was no way to add a light inside - the dome was far too wide, and string lights would slow us down too much.

The solution that we chose was to use no fill most of the time (there were nice moments when the suit reflected onto their faces). The director decided that he wanted no reflections so we placed the reflection as far into the dark of the helmet as we could for the shot so that the reflection can be removed in post. We also tried a few back lit shots with low level fill and a couple where we edge lit the actor in a profile shot and refracted the light through the visor in a close up. We sacrificed the hard HMI key for (interestingly enough) a Sky Pan with a white reflector which has the hard bare bulb but with some wrapping ability at the distances we were working at (10-15 feet roughly).

I rated the RED at 160 ASA which gave some very crispy whites on the suit without blowing them out (only the reflections blew).
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 02:21 PM

In "The Astronaut Farmer" I dressed the Mercury capsule with tiny flo worklights that could be reflected in the visor (got this idea from "The Right Stuff" -- in real life, the lights inside the capsule were behind the astronaut's head to light what he was seeing, plus provide light for any cameras in the capsule).

But in one scene, the power goes off while the capsule is on the dark side of the planet, so other than some weak moonlight that passes through the overhead window now and then, it's pitch black.

So for one close-up where he was using a flashlight to work on a panel, I basically had a spotted Dedolight pointed at whatever his hands were working on, as if it were the flashlight beam, so that I could expose the face for the bounce back of the light hitting the hands. In his helmet, you saw the bright reflection of his hands and that was lighting his face.

Later on during the re-entry scene, I bounced orange light off of smoke blowing past his window to illuminate his face.
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#11 julie kain

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 04:00 AM

Hi,

I think use this Led 5-light Hat Light and you can get right now.

May Be this will helps you
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