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Cheaper, larger Incandescent fixtures colour corrected over HMI's?


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#1 Mavric de Beyer

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 01:12 PM

I’m shooting an Interior night scene (largish dining room) for a thriller spoof short film. The basic idea is to have the typical moonlight come shafting in through a few large windows, which will give the characters inside a rim. Fill and ambience are achieved with small tungsten lamps motivated by various practicals around the room. My big concern is budget. We won’t have enough to fund the hiring of a few HMI’s for each window, say at least 3 or 4. Could only really afford 1 or 2 1.2K HMI’s. And that’s pushing it already. Its said that an HMI lamp would output around 4 times more light than a tungsten lamp of the same wattage. So my question is, is it still viable to light using substantially cheaper but larger (5K or even 10K) incandescent bambino fresnels and still get that beaming in effect, and just gelling the lamps to get that moonlight silvery blue? With regards to gels, what would anyone recommend?

Thanks in advance
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#2 Gabe Spangler

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 03:01 PM

I'd say you'll probably be fine with a couple of 1.2K HMI's. The thing with a bunch of 5K's or 10K's is, how're you going to power them? You'd need a genny. Plus, that much light seems to be overkill for a night scene. With that much light, it's going to look like daylight coming in those windows. Is this some gigantic room or something, with twenty-foot windows? If you want it to look like soft moonlight, move the lights back and use some sort of diffusion, like a big silk frame or something similar, otherwise it won't look like moonlight - it will just look like bluish exterior street lights, not the moon. Just my opinion.
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#3 Dustan Lewis McBain

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 12:04 AM

I would agree. You need to think of how much power you can supply. I would say to rent one hmi 1.2 or something that suits your budget. A mix of natural light, and tungstens. You can't get the same look if you color correct your tungsten to match the hmi, however you could create a different kind of mood. What does the script call for? Natural, experimental, expressionistic... Use practical lights also. Do some tests, and work with what you got!
Also, one way to make use with small budget could be to cut out your wides and shoot closer in. You mentioned various windows. If you were using only 1 hmi, you could move your light around to accommodate your shot. But if your lights seem to be missing from the general light in the scene i would say forget it, however testing should fix that. One thing I did once is i needed more light in a outside party scene. The project could only afford 1 hmi and several 1k tungtens. What we ending up doing was buying a whole lot of christmas lights and putting them everywhere. Little did we know that we got a beautiful fill light off this... all to say that experimenting leads to a really nice shot!
Hope that helps,


Dustan Lewis McBain
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