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lighting and tracking shots


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#1 Lee Tamer

Lee Tamer
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Posted 04 January 2012 - 11:55 AM

Im shooting a scene in a lobby/hallway of an office building that lit by fluorescent lights. The scene calls for some tracking shots of the actors.

The shot tracks the actor as he meets up with a woman walking towards him.

I have no idea how to go about lighting this scene without the lights/crew being in the shot. Any advice on this?
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#2 Tom Guiney

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 11:13 AM

Hi there. Several questions to better answer your needs:

As far as the shot, can you get a steadicam? No? Office building floors are sometimes nice smooth tile where you wouldn't feel the wheels of a dolly or doorway dolly right on the floor.

What look do you want? Does the fluorescent flat-ish look work for your story? IF so, easiest by far is to work with the overhead fixtures.

look at the bulbs carefully. Are they T8 base fluorescents (exactly 1" diameter) or T12 base fluorescents (exactly 1 1/2" diameter) or something else like the U-shaped tubes?

for t8s:
Optima 32, Chroma 50 are older versions, modern ones are Movietones. Rentable some places, if not they're purchaseable from barbizon etc. If you're using a ton of them, think about renting them from one of the larger houses like Cinelease in LA where it would still be cost effective to ship to and fro.

If it's too flat, you can add eggcrates to all of them. To find those, look for 3/8" cell fluorescent louvers. Canal plastics in NYC sells them singly. You can buy a case of them from Goodmart.com.

Ok, you don't want to use fluorescents. Is it a drop ceiling? Those can be very easy to work with. Pop out a tile, pass cable over the top, find rigging points up in the ceiling above the drop ceiling to rig your small tungsten heads, all kinds of options. Don't count on it though; pop a few tiles (carefully) to see if there's a big chunk of ductwork or something else annoying up above the drop ceiling that makes it impossible to rig up there. A nice rig that sturdier than scissor clamps is to screw a baby pigeon to a piece of lumber about 24"-36" long, then rest the lumber across several of the drop ceiling support struts so the weight is spread out over several points.

Another more dramatic looking option is that the character is passing through patches of light that are coming from the doorways windows on both sides of the hallway. Perhaps you'll want to supplement the sidelight with a little camera-based fill, like a kino/chimera/litepanel/Airbox rigged over the operator. CAreful to keep this light off the walls close to your camera so you don't give the source away too much.

Good luck.

Tom Guiney
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