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Student setup - dark room


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#1 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

I'm going to be lighting my first short film next week and I'm not quite sure what to use in terms of diffusion and light modifiers. One scene is a dark bedroom with a character spying out of the window and another is a lit bedroom. I want the dark room to look, well, dark. I've got some Arri fresnals - 4 650s and 2 300s but no diffusion or anything. What would you recommend I do / use bearing in mind I don't have a lot of space to work with. Thanks.
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#2 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 01:46 PM

I want the dark room to look, well, dark.


Please be careful not to light the room 'dark'. Making a room look dark doesn't necessarily mean that you underexpose anything. Well, you should expose the main light so that it is around 40-50 ire (expose to meter reading or 1/2 stop under) And possibly keep your frame contrasty and use minimal fill lights.
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#3 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 03:25 PM

Please explain what you mean by dark bedroom and lit bedroom.

By dark do you mean that there are no lamps turned on inside the room and the room is lit mostly by moonlight or streetlight?

And by lit do you mean there are lamps turned on or do you mean that there is sun coming through the room.
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#4 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 03:59 PM

Please explain what you mean by dark bedroom and lit bedroom.

By dark do you mean that there are no lamps turned on inside the room and the room is lit mostly by moonlight or streetlight?

And by lit do you mean there are lamps turned on or do you mean that there is sun coming through the room.


I want the 'dark' room to look as if lit entirely by the night-time light from the street outside. I was going to go for a really high contrast hard look but I'm not sure how to do this when I can't get access to the other side of the window (the location is on the 1st floor).

And by 'lit' room I mean that it should look like it's lit just by the practicals in the room - a ceiling paper lantern and bedside lamp.

Also I forgot to mention that we're shooting on 200ASA black and white 16mm on a Bolex with f/2.8 lenses.
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#5 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:44 PM

Best way to do it (with the lights that you currently have access to) is to get some bounce boards and bounce. Bounce the 300 on a bounce board rigged above the beside lamp and shoot it to wherever you want to expose most. However if you can afford spending some extra bucks, my favorite way to motivate lamps is to place a 150 watt china ball directly above the lamp - I think it's the best way to motivate it because it doesn't cast a shadow of the lamp and also it is soft and omnidirectional thus simulating the spread of the lamp. Also, I would use a bounce to simulate moonlight as well - maybe a showcard above the window or something and hit it with a 650 (or 2 of them) gelled with CTB. I would maybe have ceiling bounce from the 300 gelled with CTB and possibly scrimmed down to give a slight ambient fill for the room.

So the moonlight will be exposed at key (50 IRE), the ceiling bounce will be exposed 1 or two stops under (20-30 IRE). If you are not doing moonlight maybe you can substitute the ctb for some kind of reddish orangish sodium vapor gel that is sold by lee or rosco. One of my petpeeves is when I see direct sodium vapor light shining directly from outside and into the house. I imagine if I were the owner of that house I would complain all day to the city saying how annoying it is for that streetlight to be aimed directly into my bedroom! Whereas the sodium vapor bounce simulates the streetlight bouncing off the ground or on the walls and the light eventually making its way through the bedroom window. Also would be a good idea to rent some flags to contain the light to a small important areas and leave some nice dark areas around the important areas.
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#6 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 11:55 AM

Best way to do it (with the lights that you currently have access to) is to get some bounce boards and bounce. Bounce the 300 on a bounce board rigged above the beside lamp and shoot it to wherever you want to expose most. However if you can afford spending some extra bucks, my favorite way to motivate lamps is to place a 150 watt china ball directly above the lamp - I think it's the best way to motivate it because it doesn't cast a shadow of the lamp and also it is soft and omnidirectional thus simulating the spread of the lamp. Also, I would use a bounce to simulate moonlight as well - maybe a showcard above the window or something and hit it with a 650 (or 2 of them) gelled with CTB. I would maybe have ceiling bounce from the 300 gelled with CTB and possibly scrimmed down to give a slight ambient fill for the room.

So the moonlight will be exposed at key (50 IRE), the ceiling bounce will be exposed 1 or two stops under (20-30 IRE). If you are not doing moonlight maybe you can substitute the ctb for some kind of reddish orangish sodium vapor gel that is sold by lee or rosco. One of my petpeeves is when I see direct sodium vapor light shining directly from outside and into the house. I imagine if I were the owner of that house I would complain all day to the city saying how annoying it is for that streetlight to be aimed directly into my bedroom! Whereas the sodium vapor bounce simulates the streetlight bouncing off the ground or on the walls and the light eventually making its way through the bedroom window. Also would be a good idea to rent some flags to contain the light to a small important areas and leave some nice dark areas around the important areas.


Okay thanks. I'm lighting the first scene in a few hours, so we'll see how it goes. Luckily I don't have to worry about the colour of the window light because we're using black and white stock.
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#7 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:34 PM

Finished shooting yesterday, I think it went okay although I couldn't get enough light modifiers in time. I took some stills on my DSLR:
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#8 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 06:57 PM

How did you end up lighting it?
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#9 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:47 AM

For the dark scenes with the telescope like this one:

Posted Image

I used a 300w fresnel on the actor's left, about 1.5 metres away (because of the tiny space we were in); a 150w pepper with a 3 stop ND gel on it right by the end of the telescope to pick out the metal; and another 150w pepper on the opposite side of the actor with the barn doors closed to a slit and with a 6 stop ND gel on handheld really close to his face to get the catchlight in his right eye.

For the other angles, the setup stayed roughly the same.
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#10 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 12:13 PM

For the dark scenes with the telescope like this one:

Posted Image

I used a 300w fresnel on the actor's left, about 1.5 metres away (because of the tiny space we were in); a 150w pepper with a 3 stop ND gel on it right by the end of the telescope to pick out the metal; and another 150w pepper on the opposite side of the actor with the barn doors closed to a slit and with a 6 stop ND gel on handheld really close to his face to get the catchlight in his right eye.

For the other angles, the setup stayed roughly the same.


Interesting that you went all out on direct light - that is uncommon these days but does kind of add to a film noir/50's detective feel. I am looking forward to seeing some frame of the actual film stock.
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#11 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 11:43 AM

I was hoping to be able to post some scanned frames today, but our neg split at the lab! So we have to re-shoot the whole thing :(
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#12 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:36 PM

What do you mean that the negative 'split'?

And which lab is this? I might need to stay away from this lab.
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#13 Duncan Trevithick

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 01:54 PM

As in, it came apart on one of the spools in the developing tank somewhere and can't be salvaged. The lab was Film and Photo Ltd. it's the only lab in the UK left that prints 16mm apparently - everyone else just gets their film telecined and edits them digitally.

Edited by Duncan Trevithick, 17 March 2011 - 01:54 PM.

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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Technodolly

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Opal