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Sunset Timelapse In Realtime


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#1 Zander Kroon

Zander Kroon
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Posted 14 May 2011 - 12:38 PM

I have a good idea for how to pull this off but I want to talk it out and get some feedback. Maybe you folks have some tips or better methods for accomplishing this shot.

One of the scenes I'm shooting for a period piece is going to involve a stylized sunset (8pm to twilight) in realtime. It is a scene about two lovers having one last night together. The male character is leaving on a naval expedition and may never return. The director and I want to show that the two characters are so entranced in this intimate moment that the time is passing by without them noticing/caring.

My idea to create this visually would be to start the shot at 8pm, just at sunset, and have a fast paced stylized sunset for the first 20 seconds, assuming that the whole shot takes about 40 seconds of screen time. Then slow down the lighting progression and hold on twilight through the rest of the shot. The characters would enter the room, the sunset would happen as they start their embrace, and the sunset would quickly transition into twilight. To help sell the effect, I want to overcrank and shoot at 30-32fps to create that slow, larger than life feeling.

Here are a few examples:
(start at 0:26)
(start at 0:15)

In those examples the quality and color stays pretty constant. For our scene we want to push the color range a ton. Start with white light, transition to a vibrant orange, then push it further into that deep sunset red. Maybe throw in a few hints of pink or purple.

Set Overhead:
https://docs.google....5YLc/edit?hl=en
Photo Reference
https://mail.google....=f_gnbxrb8t0

The idea I have to create the sunset would be to use three 10k fresnel sources, on dolly track and crank stands, with an individual lamp operator for each. Light A would be the first source on, the other two dimmed off, and as we dolly the whole rig across light A would dim down as light B dims up at an equal pace. Then once A is completely out, light C would start dimming up just before light B is dimmed out. These dimming transitions would be paced at about 20 second and light C would reach full output by the time it hits its final mark.

The track would be placed approximately 20 feet from the window. I want soft controlled light at first, then really hard sharp light by the end. A and B lights would start 12 feet up to create patterns of light on the floor and a few feet up the wall. Then once the movement starts the lights would be lowered to have the light crawl up the walls.

On paper I am somewhat happy with this idea but I do have a few concerns. One is double shadows. Two, output. And the other is simplicity. Since this operation has so many moving parts I fear that it may get too complicated and mistakes will be made during the operation. I'm looking into other lighting sources such as SFX stage lights that are DMX controlled. If I can get a head with enough output and is able to dial in a wide spectrum of colors, that would be much easier and better.

Thoughts? Ideas?
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#2 Ross Neugeboren

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 09:14 AM

Coincidentally, I'm planning a special effects lighting transition for a timelapse from day to night at the moment. The centerpiece of my design, which is somewhat less complicated as we're shooting on the 5D so I'm working with smaller sources, employs a small jib rigged with a baby junior 2k and a Wybron color scroller. The 2k will be punching through a window bar pattern that will play onto the wall behind the character and about 1/2 his face, which will creep fade down as the source booms down and eventually disappears as if falling behind trees. 650w zips (for dimmer capacity, but ganged up for output) gelled moonlight creep dim up to fill the room, supplemented by some incandescent practicals. Smaller setup for a smaller set and exposure need, but it may be scaleable. As you said, three 10ks on cranks flying on dolly track does have the potential to get lost in translation, though of course weighed against the trouble of getting a jib large enough (I'm no dolly grip, but a BBG I worked with did it with a fisher model 23 on a fisher 10.) You were talking about changing the quality of light as the move ended, perhaps the light flying would allow your jib op to fly the fixture closer in to accomplish that. Further, I've also heard of pulling the fresnel lens for a sun effect, but I have yet to come across or take my own set of photometrics on that move. As you said, you're looking for output...

As for the color shift, I had resolved to deal with that via a color scroller, which I was gonna give a test to see if it could move between a daylight-> warmer -> moonlight spectrum on the three RGB color wheels, or if I would need to custom load it with some CTB/CTO/combos cemented together on the wheels.

Sounds like a very neat approach, though. That's the fun thing about lighting, so many ways to skin the cat....

Regards,
Ross Neugeboren

Edited by Ross Neugeboren, 15 May 2011 - 09:16 AM.

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