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Advice on lighting this room please


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#1 John M

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 04:16 PM

Looking for advice on how to light this room. A lot of the shots will be wide angle and low to the ground either Glidecam or Dolly in on what will be a subject in the middle of the room. I'm after a very cold looking, pastel like colour. It will be shot on either a RED One or SONY XD EX3.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 05:09 PM

How do you want it to feel? Making it "cool" is easy, swat tubes for 5600K and or white balance to cool them off in the camera or do some work in post, or probably all 3 (i'd change to 5600K tubes and then perhaps use an 81EF filter on the camera and a warm light somewhere in frame (on the table as a practical) to give some color variance. So long as you like a toppy over-head light, then you're good to go, provided those fixtures give you enough stop (and I don't see why they wouldn't). Perhaps hide a "white light," comming in from off screen, though say an unseen door or window to act as a rim and let it blow out a bit..

Suppose it all depends on how you want it to look.. got any examples of what you're going for? I mean, how cool, how contrasty, whose in the shot, why, what do they want etc...
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#3 Kyle Reid

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:05 PM

The pastels will be helped more by the production designer, and so far the location looks like a go for that look. It's a cool space and you could light it in endless ways.
What kind of lighting units and grip equipment will you be using?
What's the scene?
What's the tone of the movie?
What's the genre?
How many and who are the actors, Women and/ or men? Kids?
What kind of action will happen here?

We need way more information about this to participate in this process.
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#4 John M

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:50 AM

It's actually a Horror but more of a Psychological one than a gore fest. At this point it's only two people on set. That desk will be replaced by a stainless steel table. It's a rather sadistic type torture scene between a man and a women. Fair bit of camera movement involved and those overheads will be in some of the shots. The movie Northfork is fairly close to what we are after overall. I realize that it was shot on film and there was quite a bit involved. I've never dealt with Fluorescents before.

Edited by John M, 17 August 2010 - 07:52 AM.

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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 08:56 AM

You know, in that case I'm uncertain is a soft-top lit room is really appropriate. I might kill more of the floros except for a few and then place some type of industrial looking work light very bright overhead beaming down on the table. That's just me, though.
I'd let the few floros go blue-ish, steely even, and keep the center light "not as blue." That's just me though.
I think, in any frightening film, you need to embrace darkness to allow the audience's imagination to "put things in the shadows."
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:39 PM

Why use that room if not for its flourescents? There's basically nothing else to it. If the flourescents aren't what you want, find a place with more headroom so you can hang some lights.




-- J.S.
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#7 David Desio

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 03:54 PM

without knowing the psycological context of the scene it's hard to say whether the stark look of the room is appropriate vs. the moody shadow drenched alternative. either way though, don't forget to get with your wardrobe person and set designer. What colors the actors are wearing will play a huge part in the look.
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#8 Michael Epple

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 02:35 PM

I think it looks great as is. It already is a pastel yellow. If you want it darker, underexpose somewhat in the wides and then when you get in tighter you can model it more to your liking to some degree. You can also strategically unscrew some bulbs if you want it to feel more sourcey. Other than that, keep the lights off and bring in practicals. I have to agree with John that this room is nothing without those lights and you should find somewhere else if it doesn't already look like what you want. You can only cheat so much before you start shooting yourself in the foot.
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 02:42 PM

If you don't want your production to look like bad, low-budget video, I'd highly recommend against not correcting color balance of fluoros.

Sure you can do it as for "effect," but it seems that this "effect" is very popular, for some reason, with low-budget films. Couldn't be laziness; maybe they're all just after pure, uncorrupted artistic expression :rolleyes:




I assume these are practical fluorescent bulbs, which are, IIRC, in the low 4000s Kelvin. Unfortunately, looking at their spectral transmittance (light across the spectrum), there are HUGE CHUNKS of color information missing with standard issue fluoros that make them a poor choice to work with. Even if you COLOR BALANCE, you'll get crossover in colors of either the highlights or the shadows.

I'd highly recommend you switch to either 5500 (Daylight) or 3200 (Tungsten) -balanced professional bulbs if you can at all afford it, because you just won't be able to get a "normal" color balance with these types of bulbs.



If you're torn between tungsten or daylight bulbs, it really depends on the balance of the camera or film stock. In general, you want to use tungsten bulbs for film (unless you're carrying daylight stock), but with digital it depends on the camera. I remember reading that the RED is noisier with either tungsten or daylight balance; forget which as I haven't worked with it.

Edited by Karl Borowski, 11 September 2010 - 02:43 PM.

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#10 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 02:56 PM

I think it looks great as is. It already is a pastel yellow. If you want it darker, underexpose somewhat in the wides and then when you get in tighter you can model it more to your liking to some degree. You can also strategically unscrew some bulbs if you want it to feel more sourcey. Other than that, keep the lights off and bring in practicals. I have to agree with John that this room is nothing without those lights and you should find somewhere else if it doesn't already look like what you want. You can only cheat so much before you start shooting yourself in the foot.



I'm absolutely with Michael, what a great location! It's cool already! do nothing except augment what's there. low wide angle shots using the room. I have to agree that if you can't use this room as is you need to relocate.
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 03:01 PM

As there's quite a bit of fluoro's, if you can't afford to swap them out, you can always overpower them and shine a ton of bounce light out of the corner. I can't really tell from the photo if there is enough room for that, though.



Using it "as is" unless these are in fact color corrected tube and the green cast on my monitor is an illusion, will give you very ugly color.
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#12 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 03:25 PM

As there's quite a bit of fluoro's, if you can't afford to swap them out, you can always overpower them and shine a ton of bounce light out of the corner. I can't really tell from the photo if there is enough room for that, though.



Using it "as is" unless these are in fact color corrected tube and the green cast on my monitor is an illusion, will give you very ugly color.


when I say "as is" I'm referring to the room as a location. I think from that photo I could do a lot with that location visually. when i say "augment" I'm referring to exposure, colour, and camera angles. I can't tell someone what's an ugly colour.

However if your going for a particular colour pallet, Karl is right, you might think about more controllable sources .
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#13 Michael Epple

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 04:55 PM

I agree that changing out Fluos would be beneficial if you have the time/budget/manpower. But at what looks to be a hundred bulbs that seems to be a tough battle to fight with a Producer. Also, pretty or beautiful is subjective and can also not be what reinforces the story/scene. I do disagree though about overpowering them. I think that would look worse than the subtle color tones that are missing with non-full spectrum lights. Obviously, this gets into a taste discussion which is irrelevant because we're not the DP or director and from the date of the original post, this scene might have already been shot. But hell this is a forum, right?

Also, as a general rule, all silicone (digital) chips are biased towards reddish light so using a daylight source will get you the most balanced/consistent/realistic look. Red is especially challenging because I believe that their matrix is not set very well for tungsten conditions and it takes a knowledgeable colorist to really get everything out of your print. Obviously though, this is also another tough battle since it usually costs more to light with all daylight sources.
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#14 Jason Cowan

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 10:29 PM

I remember reading that the RED is noisier with either tungsten or daylight balance; forget which as I haven't worked with it.


The RED is more likely to produce a noisy image with Tunsten balances, because it's sensor has a native color bais of about 5000 Kelvin. The camera favors cooler light and with warm light it has a lack of data in it's blue channel, thus producing noise.
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#15 Timothy Bird

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 04:49 PM

you need to embrace darkness to allow the audience's imagination to "put things in the shadows."



I agree with Adrian, if there is a way to get more shadows like shutting a few fluros off and under-exposing a bit? Either that or just get on a sound stage (if you have the budget) and light from above. Maybe get a flicker master on some lights to create that awkward alone feeling. Thats just my opinion as well.
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