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#1 Jonathan Bel

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:16 PM

Hey gents,

I bought a 250 watt tungsten photoflood I'd like to have in the shot. However, due to this wattage, can this bulb be screwed in to wall or ceiling Edison light sockets or must I have a lamp stand plugged into wall to secure the 120 volts? The latter isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing. (shot is in dark corridor)

This is a rented location, so I can blow any circuits.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:57 PM

Hey gents,

I bought a 250 watt tungsten photoflood I'd like to have in the shot. However, due to this wattage, can this bulb be screwed in to wall or ceiling Edison light sockets or must I have a lamp stand plugged into wall to secure the 120 volts? The latter isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing. (shot is in dark corridor)

This is a rented location, so I can blow any circuits.


Sure, if it has a standard Edison base, it can be screwed into any practical socket. Whether it blows a circuit just depends on how much else is on that circuit, but 250w is not a big increase from 100w, let's say, only a couple of amps, just add it up. A bigger issue is the base and wiring getting overheated if rated for a lower-wattage bulb, you should just turn off the bulb between takes in that case, but it's generally not a problem to stick a 250w bulb into a practical, I do it all the time.
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#3 Martin Hawkes

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 03:59 AM

250w seems rather high to be a practical which is in shot. You may want to have a dimmer along with you so that you can adjust when you see just how bright that is in the frame.


Good luck.

M
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 11:33 AM

250w seems rather high to be a practical which is in shot. You may want to have a dimmer along with you so that you can adjust when you see just how bright that is in the frame.


Good luck.

M


Not necessarily, if it has a cloth shade over it and it has to expose the talent's face at, let's say, four feet away and you want to shoot at an f/2.8-4.0 at 500 ASA. I use 213 bulbs all the time in lamps when I need them to actually light most of the room for me and I don't want to shoot at a wide-open stop.
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#5 Andrew Wilding

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 12:55 AM

Not necessarily, if it has a cloth shade over it and it has to expose the talent's face at, let's say, four feet away and you want to shoot at an f/2.8-4.0 at 500 ASA. I use 213 bulbs all the time in lamps when I need them to actually light most of the room for me and I don't want to shoot at a wide-open stop.


David - when actually using a practical as a key, rather than carrying the practical with an off camera light, do you not find that its difficult to keep the shade from being "too" overexposed relative to the talents face? I realize this is all up to taste - clockwork orange is full of blown lampshades and looks gorgeous - but typically it seems a shade looks best 3 or four stops over key. Generally thats not enough to light the talent without brining in additional lights in my experience. Do you use blackfoil or hairspray or nd or what? I've had less than perfect results with all of these but id love to light scenes with only practicals (and maybe some toplight through a muzz) to free up the space for three sixty degree movement etc...
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:11 AM

David - when actually using a practical as a key, rather than carrying the practical with an off camera light, do you not find that its difficult to keep the shade from being "too" overexposed relative to the talents face? I realize this is all up to taste - clockwork orange is full of blown lampshades and looks gorgeous - but typically it seems a shade looks best 3 or four stops over key. Generally thats not enough to light the talent without brining in additional lights in my experience. Do you use blackfoil or hairspray or nd or what? I've had less than perfect results with all of these but id love to light scenes with only practicals (and maybe some toplight through a muzz) to free up the space for three sixty degree movement etc...


As you say, plenty of Kubrick movies have people lit by lampshades, which are just blown-out to white, but if it's a white shade, then the only thing missing is seeing the fabric texture of the shade, which is not a big loss in exchange for a nice realistic key light from the shade. It only becomes distracting when the shade is so blown-out that it starts to flare the image and causing veiling.

I tend to set this sort of stuff by eye, I don't meter lampshades. I figure that if an actor is standing right next to a lampshade, then I can just let them be lit by the glow from the real shade, and I just meter the face and then underexpose the face by one-stop and usually the lampshade holds just fine, but if they are standing four feet from the lamp shade, then I probably have to augment the light with some off-camera lights because they are going to fall-off too much at that distance.

But the other reason you often add light as if it were coming from the shade is because often the real light isn't hitting the actor's eyes from the right direction, like when an actor is in bed siting next to a lamp, so you add a soft key that wraps around the face a bit more rather than let the person go near silhouette.

Now with digital, I'm more likely to make a guess as to what wattage bulb to use (212 or 213, let's say) turn on the lamp, and then adjust the iris on the lens until I like the degree of overexposure from the lampshade, then balance my lighting around that, hoping to be shooting at the f-stop I'm aiming for. In other words, if I put the 213 bulb in, turn on the lamp, and find I have to set the iris to f/4.5 for the shade to feel right, and I don't feel like lighting the scene to f/4.5, then I'll dim down the bulb or switch to a lower wattage and get closer to my ideal f-stop for the scene.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:28 AM

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Posted Image

I shot this on the old Red One sensor, basically put a bright bulb in the shade (probably a 100w), set the iris to the point where I liked how hot the shade looked, and her face was more or less lit by the lampshade, I just augmented it with a small amount of soft lighting from the same direction as the lamp, but most of the light her face is from the lamp, so it feels pretty natural. Yes, her face is a bit underexposed and in post, I could have brought her side of the frame up and the lampshade down.

Here's my poor Photoshop attempt at bringing up her face a bit:
Posted Image
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#8 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 09:19 AM

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Posted Image

I shot this on the old Red One sensor, basically put a bright bulb in the shade (probably a 100w), set the iris to the point where I liked how hot the shade looked, and her face was more or less lit by the lampshade, I just augmented it with a small amount of soft lighting from the same direction as the lamp, but most of the light her face is from the lamp, so it feels pretty natural. Yes, her face is a bit underexposed and in post, I could have brought her side of the frame up and the lampshade down.

Here's my poor Photoshop attempt at bringing up her face a bit:
Posted Image


Hi Dave

Really nice how you share your knowledge .. alot of DP,s would keep their tricks to themselves.. I guess you have the confidence to share them.. thanks..
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#9 Ari Schaeffer

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:11 PM

Just curious, is the soft key gag in your example a booklight? Or just single diff (bounce with no diff, or just unit punched through diff)? I usually tend to go with china balls as my gag source for in play practicals like that, since I always found that it seemed to match the quality of light that a lampshade gives you. Wondering if the booklight may be the nicer choice....

My guess, based on the falloff on her face, is that it wasn't super diffused, but I'm dying to know :P

Edited by Ari Schaeffer, 16 December 2010 - 01:14 PM.

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#10 Jonathan Bel

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:37 PM

Thanks David



Sure, if it has a standard Edison base, it can be screwed into any practical socket. Whether it blows a circuit just depends on how much else is on that circuit, but 250w is not a big increase from 100w, let's say, only a couple of amps, just add it up. A bigger issue is the base and wiring getting overheated if rated for a lower-wattage bulb, you should just turn off the bulb between takes in that case, but it's generally not a problem to stick a 250w bulb into a practical, I do it all the time.


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:41 PM

Just curious, is the soft key gag in your example a booklight? Or just single diff (bounce with no diff, or just unit punched through diff)? I usually tend to go with china balls as my gag source for in play practicals like that, since I always found that it seemed to match the quality of light that a lampshade gives you. Wondering if the booklight may be the nicer choice....

My guess, based on the falloff on her face, is that it wasn't super diffused, but I'm dying to know :P


No I don't think so -- it may have been a Chimera on a unit put through an additional frame of diffusion -- I often put a Woodylight or BargerBaglite through a 4'x4' frame of 129, which is a heavy white frost.
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#12 Andrew Wilding

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:22 PM

No I don't think so -- it may have been a Chimera on a unit put through an additional frame of diffusion -- I often put a Woodylight or BargerBaglite through a 4'x4' frame of 129, which is a heavy white frost.

I use the same approach, but often find that the result is too flashy or lit looking.
Example
I think it might be an issue of demanding a full exposure on the face - perhaps keeping the face a stop under or so will let the practical do a little more of the lifting and call less attention to the additional lighting.
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#13 Ari Schaeffer

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:27 PM

No I don't think so -- it may have been a Chimera on a unit put through an additional frame of diffusion -- I often put a Woodylight or BargerBaglite through a 4'x4' frame of 129, which is a heavy white frost.



interesting, any specific reason for choosing the white frost over say 250 or 215/216, or even the opal frost? again, just curious...
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:31 PM

interesting, any specific reason for choosing the white frost over say 250 or 215/216, or even the opal frost? again, just curious...


I have frames of each of those made up, it's mainly an issue of how much light output can I get away with, sometimes the heavier material just cuts things down too much. If I've lit a wide shot with a Woodylight and have only gotten an f/2.8 out of it, and can only move it in a few feet for the close-up, I'll probably guess that I can get away with adding a frame of 250 in front and still get back up to an f/2.8. Sometimes all I can get away with is a frame of Opal.

Now occasionally you do actually want the look of less diffusion, you want to retain a bit more directionality, so you choose a lighter material even when you have plenty of level for the heavier material. For example, maybe I used a big light out of a window to create the effect of a setting sun, now in the close-ups, I may want to soften that slightly but I don't want to lose the effect of the sun source by making it too soft. So in that case, perhaps Opal is plenty of diffusion.
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#15 Ari Schaeffer

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 02:30 PM

I have frames of each of those made up, it's mainly an issue of how much light output can I get away with, sometimes the heavier material just cuts things down too much. If I've lit a wide shot with a Woodylight and have only gotten an f/2.8 out of it, and can only move it in a few feet for the close-up, I'll probably guess that I can get away with adding a frame of 250 in front and still get back up to an f/2.8. Sometimes all I can get away with is a frame of Opal.

Now occasionally you do actually want the look of less diffusion, you want to retain a bit more directionality, so you choose a lighter material even when you have plenty of level for the heavier material. For example, maybe I used a big light out of a window to create the effect of a setting sun, now in the close-ups, I may want to soften that slightly but I don't want to lose the effect of the sun source by making it too soft. So in that case, perhaps Opal is plenty of diffusion.



I've always wanted to try doing almost a cookie pattern of cut up diff on a frame in front of another solid frame of slightly heavier diffusion, so the directionality is only broken up in places. I always wondered how that would look, if it would blend if you had ... less falloff... for lack of a better term. This would you give you hotter less diffused areas, with softer diffused areas...I just don't know if that contrast in quality of light would be pronounced enough that the effect is even worth trying.
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#16 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:49 PM

Hey gents,

I bought a 250 watt tungsten photoflood I'd like to have in the shot. However, due to this wattage, can this bulb be screwed in to wall or ceiling Edison light sockets or must I have a lamp stand plugged into wall to secure the 120 volts? The latter isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing. (shot is in dark corridor)

This is a rented location, so I can blow any circuits.


Be aware, photofloods are designed to burn very hot in order to match a traditional 3200k tungsten - most household fixtures are not designed to withstand that kind of heat for extended periods of time. I've seen photofloods crack glass and scorch fabric, and I have no doubt that one could easily start a fire if left unattended. They can certainly give you a nasty burn.

If you have limited experience when using professional lighting equipment, make sure to use gloves and only to change globes when the fixture is off. Electricity is dangerous and you can easily get seriously hurt if you are not careful.
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 08:46 PM

I've always wanted to try doing almost a cookie pattern of cut up diff on a frame in front of another solid frame of slightly heavier diffusion, so the directionality is only broken up in places. I always wondered how that would look, if it would blend if you had ... less falloff... for lack of a better term. This would you give you hotter less diffused areas, with softer diffused areas...I just don't know if that contrast in quality of light would be pronounced enough that the effect is even worth trying.


It may be interesting if you shine a sharp light source through such a mix. Remi Adafarasin is known for using a mix of fabrics to shine light through rather than the evenness of plastic diffusion gel, he finds it more interesting, textured, and true to life.

If there isn't enough difference between the types of diffusion gel, with one of them being nearly clear, I think you'd be hard-pressed to see much of an effect, it will all get blended.

But I've certainly done a lot with diffusion toppers, for example, letting hard light leak from below a frame. And David Watkin had talked about cutting patterns in frames of diffusion to get a hard dappled pattern mixed with soft light. He did this for "Jesus of Nazareth" for a scene by a wall with (I believe) small openings in a pattern, probably Star of David-shaped gaps in a temple wall, but it may have just been a diamond-shaped pattern in the wall. I think he shined a carbon arc through a large frame with this pattern of holes cut into it to create that dappled effect.
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#18 Steve London

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:40 AM

I use the same approach, but often find that the result is too flashy or lit looking.
Example
I think it might be an issue of demanding a full exposure on the face - perhaps keeping the face a stop under or so will let the practical do a little more of the lifting and call less attention to the additional lighting.

Hi Andrew, I think your frame is nice-looking and don't think most people would stop and stare so long that they got out of the illusion by studying the shadows. That said, the actor and left side of the frame look right, but the right-hand side is obviously lit because the lamp could not have illuminated the sheet from the right side and so far toward the bottom right. If you'd flagged your movie light off that side it all would have worked nicely. Still, a good-looking frame.
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#19 Steve London

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:46 AM

This thread is yet another reminder that I wish I had read every word that David Mullen ever said :)
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:47 AM

I use the same approach, but often find that the result is too flashy or lit looking.
Example
I think it might be an issue of demanding a full exposure on the face - perhaps keeping the face a stop under or so will let the practical do a little more of the lifting and call less attention to the additional lighting.


I like the shot, it's just that it is a bit more dramatic and stylized, and there's nothing wrong with that. That light on her face could be justified (if necessary) as coming from some other source off-camera, not necessarily the lamp right next to her, it could be light spilling from another room, or through a window, or a larger lamp in the room, etc. There are lots of reasons to have the key at full exposure rather than underexposed, for example, maybe there is a camera move that goes into a close-up and once the face is filling the frame and the hot practical is off-camera, you'd rather have a full exposure on the face so that the overall image is not underexposed-looking but has good highlights.
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