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Lighting day interior in tiny multi story flat


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#1 Ian Forbes

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:17 PM

I am shooting a very low budget short film next week. One of the scenes is set in a bed-sit flat in a tower block. In terms of motivation of light, there is a proportionately large window. I want to create a striking but naturalistic feel.

Most of the shots are away from the window. For these shots, I am planning to use a 4 x 8 poly bounce with 2 x 2k fresnels gelled with full ctb. I will attach home made cardboard bar doors to the poly board to cut the excessive spill from the bounce.

I want to do some reverse shots where we will see out of the window.

How can I match the exposure from outside to inside?

I am planning to nd the window, probably with .6 to lose a couple of stops. I want to have some fill so that the actor is not silhouetted. Can anyone give me any handy tricks on creating realistic fill that will not look boring or exceedingly un natural?

Please feel free to make any other comments or suggestion. If anyone has any ideas completely different from my own suggestions, please let me know.

Thank you all for your time.


Here are two photos of the location:

http://i206.photobuc...ew/IMG_3375.jpg

http://i206.photobuc...ew/IMG_3374.jpg
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#2 J. Lamar King

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 10:16 PM

For shots in the interior away from the window just mimic the quality and general direction of light from the shots where the window is seen. Keep in mind how the natural light will change as the day progresses. ND with fill light inside is your best bet for balancing while seeing inside to out. No tricks for fill light really, just keep it soft, less directional and at a low enough intensity to feel natural. You'll just have to eye it, that's where the 'DP' part comes in.
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#3 Ian Forbes

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 06:15 PM

Thanks for the advice. I just wanted to see if anyone thought my planned techniques were in the right ballpark. I have lit and shot alot of student film, one thing I have never managed to do (successfully) is Interior day scenes.

Cheers,

Ian.


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#4 J. Lamar King

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 09:23 PM

Thanks for the advice. I just wanted to see if anyone thought my planned techniques were in the right ballpark. I have lit and shot alot of student film, one thing I have never managed to do (successfully) is Interior day scenes.

Cheers,

Ian.



After looking at your reel, the only real problem with your day interior scenes (if there is one) is that you don't have a wide enough range of light intensities. I'm thinking of that bar which looks like a day interior. If you had just hit some of those walls or people with hot streaks of light, it would work. You need some hot areas and some dark areas. Sun streaks are the obvious way to do this but even soft day interiors need contrast.
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#5 JD Hartman

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:59 AM

Full CTB on a Tungsten source, will waste away most of the light's intensity. The pair of 2K's will be like having a 1200W daylight source. I suggest using at least a 1.2HMI which will produce approximately the same lumens as an un-converted 5K (but be daylight).

Edited by JD Hartman, 31 January 2011 - 11:00 AM.

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#6 Ian Forbes

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:36 PM

Thank you for the advice. I agree that I need more contrast in my interior day scenes, I feel that this will give me the more dynamic feel that I seek. I am really inspired by Robbie Ryan's cinematography in 'Fish Tank'.

Thanks for the advice about the HMIs, I am going to get two 1.2 HMI fresnels instead of the tungsten 2k with CTB. am right in thinking that running a 1.2 k HMI with draw around 6 amps when on a 220v circuit? How many more amps will an HMI of this size draw upon striking, I do not know whether the ballasts are electric or magnetic, I am assuming electric though.

Can you give me some advice in operating HMIs since I don't have a great deal of experience with them? I don't want the shoot to be held up.

Thanks,

Ian
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#7 J. Lamar King

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:56 PM

Thank you for the advice. I agree that I need more contrast in my interior day scenes, I feel that this will give me the more dynamic feel that I seek. I am really inspired by Robbie Ryan's cinematography in 'Fish Tank'.

Thanks for the advice about the HMIs, I am going to get two 1.2 HMI fresnels instead of the tungsten 2k with CTB. am right in thinking that running a 1.2 k HMI with draw around 6 amps when on a 220v circuit? How many more amps will an HMI of this size draw upon striking, I do not know whether the ballasts are electric or magnetic, I am assuming electric though.

Can you give me some advice in operating HMIs since I don't have a great deal of experience with them? I don't want the shoot to be held up.

Thanks,

Ian


You should have no problem running a 1.2K HMI off of a house hold circuit. I don't know how many amps per breaker are usual in the UK but in the US on 120v the standard 15 or 20 amp circuit is fine. The light would draw 6 amps in 220v. Just remember to hook up your head feeders before plugging in to be safe. Once your hooked up, plug in the ballast and if it's a 575/1200 ballast make sure your switched over to 1200. Turn on the breaker and push start. If the ballast has a dimmer make sure it's at 100%. On most units if they are going to be stationary I leave the ear open to facilitate quick changing of lenses (PAR's) or scrims.

Once plugged in and running it's usually better to keep it running when you move it (carefully) a short distance. Hot re-strikes on smaller units usually aren't that bad but I've seen the occasional unit that didn't want to re-strike for upwards of 10 minutes.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 31 January 2011 - 06:58 PM.

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#8 Ian Forbes

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:02 AM

I have a problem. I can't get any HMIs within the budget for the shoot. If I were to use a tungsten white balance and gelled the windows with .6 ND + full CTO would I be able to use this set up for shots where the window is in shot we can see out of the window. I am worrying that the windows will appear orange.

Thanks
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#9 J. Lamar King

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:44 AM

Yes that scenario would work with the following caveat's,

ND .6 might be too much or too little depending on the light conditions and things seen outside. (spot metering ahead of time might help) It will probably be enough though.
Gelling windows evenly is a pain. Best solution acrylic ND+O, next Single sheet of ND+O that covers the window frame entirely, worst two sheets of gel applied to the glass.
Is the window accessible from outside?
If you then want to bounce light inside, go for open face units for more punch.

Edited by J. Lamar King, 03 February 2011 - 12:45 AM.

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#10 Michael Kosciesza

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:16 AM

After looking at your reel, the only real problem with your day interior scenes (if there is one) is that you don't have a wide enough range of light intensities. I'm thinking of that bar which looks like a day interior. If you had just hit some of those walls or people with hot streaks of light, it would work. You need some hot areas and some dark areas. Sun streaks are the obvious way to do this but even soft day interiors need contrast.


What kind of light would I use to create contrast and hot streaks? I'm thinking tweenie or betweenie? How can I achieve different light intensities?
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#11 J. Lamar King

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:31 AM

What kind of light would I use to create contrast and hot streaks? I'm thinking tweenie or betweenie? How can I achieve different light intensities?


Theoretically you could use any fixture with enough power to provide highlights. It depends on what your Key level is of course. A good rule of thumb would be a fixture roughly equal to your key light fixture but use it clean. Say you had used an 18K through a frame of light grid to key a large restaurant interior. Well you could use a hard 12K or 18K a little farther back to push hot highlights down the back wall.
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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider