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Thinking PRACTICALLY


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#1 Charlie Balch

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 12:31 AM

Hey cine members,

I am DPing a fifteen minute short coming up and I will capturing a story involving a janitor and an after hours office building. The mood I am trying to portray is somewhat like a jazz club in which I can play with alot of textures and convey a strong mood through the scene itself. Imagine a cubicle setting as the backdrop.

My tools involve a Red ONE with slow Nikon Lenses and a small arsenal of 5200 degree lights (A 1.2 HMI and four 4bank Kinos) I have a couple ARRI kits on reserve as well but I want to be very careful with the CTB levels and the balancing.

My main question is how do I reveal this world that that janitor is working in and still create a feel that it is night in an abandoned office. I am working through what might work as practicals (Exit signs, desk lamps, etc)

Let me know if you have any thoughts/ideas,

Cheers,
Charlie

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 08:55 AM

Kill the overheads, that's for sure, and then the ones that are on can suggest that he's in a jazzier club (try to haze some stuff to catch beams of light coming from off screen), I like the exit signs for green and red lights, and then at some point, since i suppose this is fantastic, and that in his mind he is in a jazzy club, just abandon the "logical," way of doing thing, and light it like a jazz club.
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#3 janusz sikora

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 09:41 AM

abandoned office... world that janitor lives in... jazz club

wish you come up with logic in your lighting
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#4 Brian Rose

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 09:54 AM

abandoned office... world that janitor lives in... jazz club

wish you come up with logic in your lighting


Ditto on that sentiment. I don't see the logic behind your lighting. Is this film realist, or fantasy, or a blurring? Probably the biggest mistake a DP can make is "over light." I've seen many films that are lit in a distracting way, that reeks of Demo Reel filler and muscle flexing, when it should serve the story. I think you should revisit what scheme you're after.

And on a practical level, I'd say use the lighting that is available to your advantage. Start by switching out the overhead florescents, and go from there...
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#5 Charlie Balch

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 02:57 PM

Ditto on that sentiment. I don't see the logic behind your lighting. Is this film realist, or fantasy, or a blurring? Probably the biggest mistake a DP can make is "over light." I've seen many films that are lit in a distracting way, that reeks of Demo Reel filler and muscle flexing, when it should serve the story. I think you should revisit what scheme you're after.

And on a practical level, I'd say use the lighting that is available to your advantage. Start by switching out the overhead florescents, and go from there...

First off, Thank you all for your comments.
I feel like I over-emphasized the jazz club element to my lighting scheme. The elements from a jazz club atmosphere that I would use are the dimly, yet dramatically lit, room along with accenting practicals. The way i worded my previous question conveyed the scene as stage with super hot lights, which it is not. I intend to light very minimally and intentionally. Brian you raise a great point not lighting for a reel, but lighting for the story. Another motivation for the "jazz" feel is the composition. In pre-production we have been given samples by the composer and they contain a very jazzy tone. Adrian and Brian: I couldn't agree more with killing the overheads and building up from there. And Janusz, I fully intend to light in a logical way and build a world for the story to exist in, I over-emphasized my intentions.
Thanks again...
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#6 verlon allen

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:59 AM

First off, Thank you all for your comments.
I feel like I over-emphasized the jazz club element to my lighting scheme. The elements from a jazz club atmosphere that I would use are the dimly, yet dramatically lit, room along with accenting practicals. The way i worded my previous question conveyed the scene as stage with super hot lights, which it is not. I intend to light very minimally and intentionally. Brian you raise a great point not lighting for a reel, but lighting for the story. Another motivation for the "jazz" feel is the composition. In pre-production we have been given samples by the composer and they contain a very jazzy tone. Adrian and Brian: I couldn't agree more with killing the overheads and building up from there. And Janusz, I fully intend to light in a logical way and build a world for the story to exist in, I over-emphasized my intentions.
Thanks again...


To me, it seems your fairly limited to "effect" by the lights on hand (1.2 HMI and Kinos/ one hard, depending on the lens you use, and many soft sources). I can understand wanting to favor the blues, as to my knowledge the red is bias in this regard, however I would bring those lights that you have on reserve into play.

Do you have considerations for the windows? The Tungsten package along with a little gel play could be used to throw a some light on background elements or the ceiling for mood, or to sell that you are several stories up (this would be mimicking street light, i would not use it for moon light personally). Too, this juxtaposed to the 5600 (white if camera is daylight balanced) could add some color separation between foreground and background elements.

Practicals can really help as well. Do you have an art department on the project? If so, I would talk to them about what they have on hand, if not take it into your own hands and...well get your hands on some lamps (from friends and the like).

As for the over heads, another thing to consider is that some office buildings have two settings for their overheads, one that uses all of the lights in the unit, and one that uses a single bulb, every two or three units per row of lights.

Can you get access to the space before hand and do a little prerig/ test? The best option for you may be to get in there and play with a few units.

As with any project, many ways to go.

Good Luck,
V
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