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How to light Alleyways and Streets


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#1 Daniel Maitland

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:48 AM

I have a music video coming up in the next few weeks. A great deal of the of the video is shot in night time exterior locations long streets and alleyways. We are trying to achieve a film noir look (harsh shadows, rim lights etc.) while also replicating the various colors of out door city lights such as those greeny streetlamps or those orange buzzing sodium vapor lights. Our cameras native ISO is 800. I may be willing to crank the gain up but i am not overly fond of the idea. Also we are going to be using a lot of steadicam (lots of wides) so if there is a method to tucking the lights up out of the way to allow for camera mobility then please enlighten. All options must be powered by one 6500 watt honda.

Any methods would be helpful.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:22 AM

It's hard to do night lighting with one generator simply because you often want to have power in the foreground (for video, camera, foreground lights, whatever) but also in the background -- it's hard to string the power that far, plus your cables end up running through the shot.

Assuming something like a 3-story building, I'd consider, for example, some 1K Parcans armed out from rooftops using a menace arm rig to point straight down for pools of light, or at the end of the alley on each roof corner to crosslight the opposite wall of the alley (a one-story alleyway may not be tall enough to clear the lights from the shots except for closer overheads.

Art department can help by hanging some practicals like "china hats" under small roof awnings and fire escapes, or mounting bare bulb fixtures or other security lights to walls. You could even try mounting sodium vapor or metal halide security / streetlamp fixtures down the alleyway if you want those colors.

You could even try string wire across the alley in intervals and then hanging a lightweight practical in the center between the buildings, again, something like a lightweight china hat or a paper lantern (if off-camera above the frame, hard to justify seeing a paper lantern.)
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#3 Daniel Maitland

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:00 AM

It's hard to do night lighting with one generator simply because you often want to have power in the foreground (for video, camera, foreground lights, whatever) but also in the background -- it's hard to string the power that far, plus your cables end up running through the shot.

Assuming something like a 3-story building, I'd consider, for example, some 1K Parcans armed out from rooftops using a menace arm rig to point straight down for pools of light, or at the end of the alley on each roof corner to crosslight the opposite wall of the alley (a one-story alleyway may not be tall enough to clear the lights from the shots except for closer overheads.

Art department can help by hanging some practicals like "china hats" under small roof awnings and fire escapes, or mounting bare bulb fixtures or other security lights to walls. You could even try mounting sodium vapor or metal halide security / streetlamp fixtures down the alleyway if you want those colors.

You could even try string wire across the alley in intervals and then hanging a lightweight practical in the center between the buildings, again, something like a lightweight china hat or a paper lantern (if off-camera above the frame, hard to justify seeing a paper lantern.)


Fantastic advise. Thank you sir, I will relay this information to my gaffer.
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Willys Widgets

Visual Products

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CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

The Slider

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment