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Suggestions for lighting a basketball court


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#1 Henry Busby

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 12:48 AM

Hi everybody, I'm a fairly new poster but a long time lurker around these forums. I'm directing an upcoming short as part of my undergraduate studies. The film takes place entirely on an indoor basketball court at night time. The DP and I have been working on the visual style, and we're both on the same page about the look we're going for. The challenge is in it.

For our wideshots, we like fall-off in this old nike commercial

Our school has very limited lighting equipment. Tweenies are the largest units we have, and even then we have a very limited number of them. So obviously, we're going to need to rent some lights. Does anyone have any suggestions for the simplest and most cost effective way of lighting a basketball gym to get a similar "late night"/ half-dimmed look?

My DP and I would really appreciate all of your help.

Thanks,
-Henry

My DP reel
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#2 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:24 AM

Hello,
The only thing that is quiet noticable in Jordan's video is that it's been litted overhead (you can see this by the shadows in the general shots).
Is it possible for you to use the excisting lights? Do you need a lot of footcandles? I mean do you have slow motion shots?
If not, use the overhead court lights (some of them) only to light the court and not the audience seats.
Are you going to schedule it for daytime? Or you are shooting at night?
Is there any daylight coming in that you need to cut out?
Can you post a photo of the court?
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#3 Henry Busby

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:17 PM

Hello,
The only thing that is quiet noticable in Jordan's video is that it's been litted overhead (you can see this by the shadows in the general shots).
Is it possible for you to use the excisting lights? Do you need a lot of footcandles? I mean do you have slow motion shots?
If not, use the overhead court lights (some of them) only to light the court and not the audience seats.
Are you going to schedule it for daytime? Or you are shooting at night?
Is there any daylight coming in that you need to cut out?
Can you post a photo of the court?


Yes, the house lights are definitely an option. Is finding way to rig the house light to light about half the court a realistic possibility or is that a non-starter? We do have a few slow-motion shots. However, they're all CU's and MCU's, so we'll have more control over those. I'm not sure whether we'll be shooting day or night. The scene takes place at night. So if the gym is available day and night, then blacking out the windows is our best bet. They're not that big, but it should give use some more control right? The bleachers are lit by overhead flourescents that I'm pretty sure are on a separate switch. Maybe killing those bleacher lights could give us that spot-light effect on the court.

I got a chance to visit the location again today. There was a baseball team in there so I was only able to snap a few photos (didn't want to interupt them). Take a look and tell what you think... location scouting

Thanks again for all of the advice.

-Henry
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#4 JD Hartman

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:55 PM

Control over the overhead HID fixtures may be impossible. Usually they are controlled by a single switch activating an electral contactor, turning all of them on. That question should be directed to who ever runs the facility, a custodian may be able to help.
An option would be 24" china balls with 500w lamps inside them, suspended from ropes rigged between the steel columns in from of the bleachers. Either shoot at night, or duvetyn the windows to eliminate the ever changing daylight.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:34 AM

I doubt you have the resources to relight a gymnasium, it take a lot of rigging, etc. You may have to live with turning off some of the overhead metal halide lamps -- which are probably not switchable individually. I suppose you could go with a lift and remove some globes (make sure the power is off) or depending on how hot they get put a loose cover underneath of black material. The Jordan video looks like it was lit with a row of spacelights. If you could figure out a way to rig one 6K spacelight with a skirt over that area (or a coop), you may get the effect you want, but you are talking about rigging and cabling and powering, etc. Safely.
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#6 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:39 AM

The Jordan video looks like it was lit with a row of spacelights.


At 0:16 on the video you can see what appears to be a row of spacelights reflected on the floor of the court.

Incidentally, Mr Mullen did some quite beautiful and unique lighting of a basketball court in Assassination of a High School President with a number of par cans - a fairly economical solution but requiring a large amount of rigging. It's definitely worth looking at if you're interested in seeing different approaches.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:17 PM

If you want a single softlight effect over one end of a gym, you could build a fairly lightweight softbox out of wood and foamcore, maybe 8'x8', something with a grid pattern of 250w or 500w photofloods, whatever, some black plastic skirting on the sides, but you'd still have to figure out how you are going to rig such a thing and how to power it.

Another similar effect might be from a 6'x6' Kino Blanket Light, but it's not lightweight.

Anything you rig has to be rigged safely with load restrictions in mind.
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#8 Victor Credi

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:36 AM

Well I'm currently shooting a Egyptian feature involving a lot of Basketball, and since stadiums in egypt are lit quiet poorly, I had to start from scratch. Well we've been shooting with 3 Arri cameras simultaneously (because of time constraints) :( So I had to pretty much light for everything. I used mainly spacelights (8 to 10), spread around the court. I took the diffusion off the bottom of 3, 2 of which were above the hoops and one in the centre of the court, to have some hotspots...I didn't duve the sides of the spacelights to push some fill to the audiences. The lighting scheme was more dramatic then realistic. I'll can post some schemes and stills if u need them.. Hope I helped, Good Luck.
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