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Lighting advice for night shoot under street lights


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#1 Tony Webber

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 01:08 PM

Hi,

I'm shooting a scene in my film which takes place at night and am looking for some lighting advice.

The location we have has orange street lights and I'm not sure of the best way to deal with them or how to increase the light effectively to make sure the actors can be seen but so that it doesn't look false.

There will be 6 actors in the scene and a stabbing takes place so i would like to be able to see the colour of the blood.

Should I be gelling all lights with orange gels to match the streetlight and then changing the white balance in post? or is there a better way to do it.

I will be shooting on the following kit:

Canon 550d
Canon 50mm f1.8
Tamron 17-50mm f2.8
Tamron 90mm F2.5

Lighting available:

3x 800w redheads
3x 300w gullivers
3x 150w Dedos

The shots below were taken at 1/50th shutter f2.8 with the Tamron 17-50mm and at ISO 6400, on the tungsten white balance setting. I would like be able to shoot at a much lower ISO if possible to avoid the noise in video mode.

http://www.rockfallf...ng/IMG_5001.jpg

http://www.rockfallf...ng/IMG_5000.jpg

http://www.rockfallf...ng/IMG_4999.jpg

http://www.rockfallf...ng/IMG_4987.jpg

I'd be grateful for any advice anyone can give.

Regards

Tony
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 04:10 PM

You won't be able to change the colour of sodium street lights because they only emit a single wave length. The common way is to gel your film lights to match the sodium's colour, but not colour correcting later.

The gels used tend not to be colour correcting gels, but colour effect gels.

These usually give better looking flesh tones than the straight sodium. I rather like using bastard amber (chrome orange is another), but there are other options depending on how yellow the street lights are.

I notice Lee Filters have some called Sodium, which could be intended for matching these lights.
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#3 JD Hartman

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:17 AM

Rosco has similar gels for converting Tungsten sources to Sodium vapor, 3150 and 3152 (less green). But it does come at a price, transmission is 38 and 29% respectively. That essentially rules out using most of your available lights for anything but fill.
A "gulliver"? Made by who? An in-betweenie?

Edited by JD Hartman, 22 November 2010 - 08:20 AM.

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#4 Shidan Saberi

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 02:01 AM

I'm new to lighting so my method is not going to be the best. But the best way to learn is to get involved:) If you are going for the cold dark look Could you just increase the gain or ISO on your camera and perhaps use reflectors to direct the street light to the actors faces and bodies?
Especially if your in an environment were the main source of light is coming from nearly 4 meters high up. Unless you have a very tall stand for your lights. But if you reflect the light it wont look like a new light source but a small reflection. But that would probably only work well if you do want the dark creepy street look.
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#5 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 01:41 PM

The shots below were taken at 1/50th shutter f2.8 with the Tamron 17-50mm and at ISO 6400, on the tungsten white balance setting. I would like be able to shoot at a much lower ISO if possible to avoid the noise in video mode.


One solution would be to rig a couple of the red heads to the lamp post pointing down (gelled with your sodium vapor combo of choice). Hard top light could be suitable for a gritty stabbing scene and that should give you enough light to shoot at a lower iso. Then just fill in the eyes for close ups with some units from the ground.

The typical tool for this would be a poultry bracket (get it - pole-tree :) )

Note - If you're inexperienced at rigging there are potential dangers involved with putting heavy electrified metal objects over actors heads - ideally find an experienced grip to help. Make sure the light are secured and and have a secondary safety line in case the first point comes loose.

Also, it's your choice but do you really want to neutralize the orange - strange colors can be fun at night - you could even introduce a little blue 'moonlight' if you want to play with color contrast.

The biggest problem I see with your stills is that there doesn't appear to be a lot of light in the deep background. You may want to throw some dedos far back in the frame so you're not just shooting heads against blackness.
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