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Simulating light from practicals


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#1 craig bass

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:18 PM

Hello everybody.

The question I am about to ask may seem a bit naive, but as I am self taught in the art of lighting (and still very much a novice) I was hoping that someone would be kind enough to help me out. My question is: how can I simulate a light coming from a practical source in frame (say, a desk lamp) without A) lighting up the fixture itself; B) casting a shadow of the fixture; and C) motivating the direction of the shadows. This far I have been attempting to shine a beam in the same direction as the practical, from behind it. This always causes the practical to cast a shadow, which is ridiculously unrealistic, as no light casts a shadow of itself in such a fashion. In addition, I generally end up lighting the practical itself within the beam, causing it to be too "hot" or "lit". I am attempting to work with a scene where a lamp is right next to an actor on a desk, and cannot seem to figure out how to make this work. I could shoot from down low, so as to try and skip the fixture, but, considering the resulting "monster movie" appearance, I am pretty positive this is not a method employed with any frequency.

Again, any help is appreciated.
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:23 PM

Flag it off.
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#3 robert duke

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

use a heavy diffusion on the lamp and flag it off the practical.
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#4 Kevin Horn

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:16 PM

I apologize if I read you incorrectly, but you're trying to motivate light from a practical desk lamp correct? And your problem is that when you set up a light it's too hot or directional, creating an unmotivated shadow?

Key your subject with a china ball/100w bulb and throw a dimmer switch on it. This will give you a soft, shadowless key replicating what a desk lamp would bounce off of a desk onto your subject.

If that doesn't work for you try using that practical lamp to bounce off the desk into your subject's face (assuming you're lighting a person at a desk). White paper on the desk would work great for a practical bounce. Wood also looks great as a bounce, so if your desk is wooden then try just simply bouncing off the desktop.
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New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape