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Lighting of a runaway airplane at nigt


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#1 Bartosz Ciesielski

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 07:40 AM

Hello Everybody!

This is my first post on this forum, so welcome all users.

I'm from middle Europe and prepare myself for shooting a movie on RED camera in August.The budget is,how to say .... rather light middle than middle.

The question is about lighting a big night exterior on the sport air field.The scene looks like this:

An old biplane Antonov2 starts to taxi on the airstrip.Two police cars pursuit of a plane in both
sides than pass the plane and finaly stop before it to cut in the way of the plane. The plane starts
in the last moment just a little before one of the police cars.This moment we have a crazy,small collision. A wheel of the airpane's wheel crushes the police light ( on car's celling ).The car shakes
a little but the plane goes to the sky.

Nobody dies.
The end of the scene :-)

( The collision will make in a postprduction with 3d model if wide shot of this will be needed.
How to do it is another story which I'm going to take in another post on this forum.)

We will need:

wide shots of a chase/escape from another car close to police cars (both)
ride behind the plane with a camera from another car
shots from inside of the police cars on the escaping plane
pilot in cocpit ( studio propably)
wide shots of the colission from dolly tranverse to airplane moving ( looks very good I have
made simmulation in 3d program )

So the problem is, that all the scenes are at the dark night.For director is out of the quest.The airfield has to be small and in conseqence with poor structure. I can mean no buildigs,no trees and lights arround it.We are before a choosing a place.I decided to simulaite silver moonlight,without blue tint because I hate it.

I think two HMI 18 KW is all what I can have.My idea is to lift two 18 KW on 30m (100 ft)high,as close together as possible but directed in opposite sides off the runaway. I hope it'll keep the one source light character but will allow to extend light on minimal distance which I need to make
about 10 sec. shot by Antonov's 2 starting speed. I plan to find runaway with neutral bacground like line of trees for example and shotting all the escape on this same side, changing only direction
off wehickules' moving and positions.It should be succeed. I think if ......

The background I will have to light with smaller units from ground rather because off a budget.At the end I will simulate police cars' lights on a airplane but in this case it' ll be help rather than problem.

I have to find the best compromise beetween speed,distance,durration of schot,and light/budget possibilities.I think that real speed about 40km/h (25 mph) without acceleration should be sufficient to filming and it is more than half of starting speed of the plane. So, by this speed I will have a 110 m (120 yd) distance to lighting and about ten seconds time to shot with two cameras every from five passes which I' m going to do.

Any sugestions and opinions will be very helpful.
Best Regards.

Bartek
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#2 J. Lamar King

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:09 PM

First of all let me say that it is very dangerous working with planes. Adding a condor to the mix is even more of a safety concern. I leave the safety up to you and my comments are only in relation to the look of the lighting.

You could position a condor with two 18K's at one end of the runway. Send one light down the runway to back/side light the plane and cars. the other unit could hopefully rake some trees and buildings in the back ground. At 350 or so feet from the 18K you'll be down to around 5 foot candles if your lamps are flooded. Keep that in mind. I would be very tempted to have a long row of PAR cans or similar set up on both sides of the runway aiming upwards but angled enough that the plane and cars would drive through pools of light and dark. These would be motivated by runway lights but of course much brighter. Again you must be careful that they are not going to be run over.
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#3 Bartosz Ciesielski

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:26 PM

First of all let me say that it is very dangerous working with planes. Adding a condor to the mix is even more of a safety concern. I leave the safety up to you and my comments are only in relation to the look of the lighting.

You could position a condor with two 18K's at one end of the runway. Send one light down the runway to back/side light the plane and cars. the other unit could hopefully rake some trees and buildings in the back ground. At 350 or so feet from the 18K you'll be down to around 5 foot candles if your lamps are flooded. Keep that in mind. I would be very tempted to have a long row of PAR cans or similar set up on both sides of the runway aiming upwards but angled enough that the plane and cars would drive through pools of light and dark. These would be motivated by runway lights but of course much brighter. Again you must be careful that they are not going to be run over.


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#4 Bartosz Ciesielski

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:55 PM

Thanks a lot Lamar for your reply!

You have quite right about safety and its more important thing without doubt.So maybe I should have written it more clearly that the plane does not start realy.It just taxi between two policecars.
The collision and first flying movement will be added in post with 3D model in wide shot.

Your idea of rows of pars is very helpful. I will try probably. One thing only, I have to be careful with this and keep in mind that the airfield shouldn't look like a Heathrow

Yes, I know that at the end of the runaway I will have about 5 footcandels.Its a big but not a bigger
problem. I mean an exposure increase during all the ride. So, I'm afraid that using only one
18 HMI like a back - side key, even by trying of smart cutting & gridding a lightstream could
be not sufficient. What do You think about using second 18 HMI in parallel direction to first from the middle of the way.( I know that will generate posibble problems with shadows, but propably acceptably in action scene like this.) If I will get third 18 HMI with condor it will be good,if not I could use two 6 HMI to lighting background instead.

Regards.
Bartek
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#5 J. Lamar King

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 06:05 PM

Not sure what you mean by "Parallel direction" but if you mean having an 18K on one end of the runway and another at the other end, yes that would work. If you had them in a 3/4 back to side position the intensities would change from one side to the other as you went down the runway but I think it could be gradual enough that it wouldn't matter as long as there was always a cross back light feel. It would be disguised by the editing.

Also yes, you would probably want to keep the PAR intensities lower at a smaller airfield, if you used them. You could use ND gel or a thick color like blue, red or even green to stylize it a bit.
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