Jump to content


Photo

Mimicing emergency vehicle lights


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Jeremy M Lundborg

Jeremy M Lundborg
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 05 September 2010 - 06:01 PM

*Mimicking*

I have a shot in which a character is looking out a bedroom window with curtains to an off-screen ambulance in the driveway. The lights from the vehicle will illuminate her face and I plan on having very little fill behind her in the dark bedroom. I will be shooting on 5219 (500t) and I'd like to shoot at a f4.

Can you please recommend some ways in which to mimic that type of source with adequate power? I've seen everything from multiple lights bought at party stores to a rental of police style lighting rails that sit atop the vehicles themselves. Ideally it has enough throw to expose around an f4 and be far enough away to make the effect realistic.

I'd love to be able to do this effect within a reasonable budget, as it is only for one shot.

Thank you.

Edited by Jeremy M Lundborg, 05 September 2010 - 06:03 PM.

  • 0

#2 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 05 September 2010 - 09:06 PM

OK -- How about a couple juniors in the driveway, spotted all the way. Red gel on one, blue on the other. Electricians on each to pan them back and forth over the window. They'll go by quick enough that it won't read as a panning source.




-- J.S.
  • 0

#3 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:07 PM

I did this in a professional stage production of "Driving Miss Daisy" in the bombing scene with a pair of High End Cyberlights programmed to sweep right to left, shutter off, reset to initial position, shutter open, and then sweep again. Moving mirror fixtures are much more agile than moving yoke fixtures and work best for this sort of effect.
  • 0

#4 Michael E Brown

Michael E Brown
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts
  • Gaffer

Posted 06 September 2010 - 12:02 PM

What time period and county does this scene take place in? That should tell you what kind of effect and colors you need. In the US, I've only seen an ambulance with blue lights once. And that may have been on TV. Most are red and white.

Older time period would dictate a rotating or flashing halogen effect.
Newer or current time period would dictate flashing strobe tubes or LED.

Flashing halogen is easy. Setup some 2Ks gelled red and maybe 1Ks in white on the windows hooked to a dimmer set to chase. Or have two electricians run them up and down on hand squeezers in sync.

For rotating, you could use the same fixtures above and just the guys rotate them back and forth. However, older light bars almost always rotated constantly in one direction. It might look better to have someone else cut the light after it passes and reset in black. Don't forget rotating lights would also cause reflections from other surfaces they would hit also.

For strobe, a couple of large stage strobes like Martin Atomic 3000s gelled red and white would do. You can set those to strobe on their own without a controller via the on board controls. Very bright!

LED would be fairly easy except for the programming - rent a 6' Color Kinetics ColorBlaze and a controller. Setup a red/white chase and or strobe. May need to take meter readings to determine if you need a second fixture.

Edited by Michael E Brown, 06 September 2010 - 12:03 PM.

  • 0

#5 Jeremy M Lundborg

Jeremy M Lundborg
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:22 PM

What time period and county does this scene take place in? That should tell you what kind of effect and colors you need. In the US, I've only seen an ambulance with blue lights once. And that may have been on TV. Most are red and white.

Older time period would dictate a rotating or flashing halogen effect.
Newer or current time period would dictate flashing strobe tubes or LED.

Flashing halogen is easy. Setup some 2Ks gelled red and maybe 1Ks in white on the windows hooked to a dimmer set to chase. Or have two electricians run them up and down on hand squeezers in sync.

For rotating, you could use the same fixtures above and just the guys rotate them back and forth. However, older light bars almost always rotated constantly in one direction. It might look better to have someone else cut the light after it passes and reset in black. Don't forget rotating lights would also cause reflections from other surfaces they would hit also.

For strobe, a couple of large stage strobes like Martin Atomic 3000s gelled red and white would do. You can set those to strobe on their own without a controller via the on board controls. Very bright!

LED would be fairly easy except for the programming - rent a 6' Color Kinetics ColorBlaze and a controller. Setup a red/white chase and or strobe. May need to take meter readings to determine if you need a second fixture.



The time period is contemporary, definitely. Although after reading these responses I like the idea, which was inadvertently suggested in your post, of it not being held to a specific period and taking some creative license with the flashing lights.

Thank you for your responses.
  • 0

#6 timHealy

timHealy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1252 posts
  • Other
  • New York

Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:36 PM

Flashing halogen is easy. Setup some 2Ks gelled red and maybe 1Ks in white on the windows hooked to a dimmer set to chase. Or have two electricians run them up and down on hand squeezers in sync.


Your other ideas are OK, but 2k's don't really flash. They kinda take a long time to run up to full and then a long time to run down. Smaller bulbs would be better for a cop light effect. The 2k would work if an operator was panning the light through the set.

I forget who makes it but there is a spinning cop gag that utilizes a 1k par bulb into a spinning mirror and has a dimmer to control light intensity a control for the speed of the spin. And has gel frames to stick whatever color you want. It is about a 12 inches by 12 inches by 24 inches or so. Great gag.

Led lighting bars work nicely to if you want to emulate modern cop cars with there flash packages.

Best

Tim
  • 0

#7 Chris Keth

Chris Keth
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4427 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:06 PM

I've done this one before and was happy with the results. I got 3 1ft by 1ft mirrors and taped them into a triangular tube with the mirrored sides facing out. Use clear packing tape so you don't cut down on the mirror area. That mirror thing was set onto a record turntable from a thrift shop and it was taped down. I gelled a couple lekos red and a couple blue and banged them into the spinning mirror.
  • 0

#8 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:23 PM

Chris, that is a brilliant idea I'm going to store for whenever I have something like this come up!
  • 0

#9 Anand Modi

Anand Modi
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Student

Posted 02 December 2010 - 01:47 AM

I just did something similar to what Chris described - 3 1'x1' mirrors attached to a 3-sided plywood box. Primary red & blue gels on the mirrors. A hole drilled in the bottom of the box, fitten with a PVC pipe sleeve, sitting on a c-stand with the arm removed. We set the mirror box as close as we could get it to a 400W joker without it hitting the barndoors, and had a pair of hands to spin the mirrors on cue.
  • 0

#10 James Neihouse

James Neihouse
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Orlando, FL; Santa Barbara, CA

Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:59 AM

I just did something similar to what Chris described - 3 1'x1' mirrors attached to a 3-sided plywood box. Primary red & blue gels on the mirrors. A hole drilled in the bottom of the box, fitten with a PVC pipe sleeve, sitting on a c-stand with the arm removed. We set the mirror box as close as we could get it to a 400W joker without it hitting the barndoors, and had a pair of hands to spin the mirrors on cue.


I've just recently seen this done as well, it works really great, in fact it's the best I've seen and I've tried this with all of the above mentioned techniques.

Good luck,

JN
  • 0


Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Opal

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio