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Nightmare Hallway Lighting


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#1 Matt Day

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

Hello Guys,

I have a shoot coming up in which one of the scenes to be lit is a very narrow hallway , it's causing me some difficulties so thought i would come ask for some advice. The ceiling height is too low to hang fixtures and the hallway is very narrow, there are doors running the length of the hallway but we only have access to one which our character will be running out of (and towards the camera) (i was thinking of putting a small fixture behind the door, 300 or 500 with some diffusion perhaps, don't want the light to be too intense as it's just moonlight ambience)

The story dictates the character is feeling trapped and sees no clear way out of the hallway and the director wants a kind of tense but frantic atmosphere which makes me think backlighting would be inappropriate (light at the end of the tunnel etc).

I was thinking of bouncing a few tungstens off the existing fixtures but not sure if this will cause the scene to look overlit (as it's also a night scene), i was also thinking of unscrewing a few of the bulbs to leave only a couple of the practicals on and just streaking some blueish light down a wall to give some depth.

Any advice on what i could do with this most boring apartment building hallway would be very much appreciated, (we have tungstens of various sizes)

Cheers, Matt
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#2 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:21 AM

Hello Guys,

I have a shoot coming up in which one of the scenes to be lit is a very narrow hallway , it's causing me some difficulties so thought i would come ask for some advice. The ceiling height is too low to hang fixtures and the hallway is very narrow, there are doors running the length of the hallway but we only have access to one which our character will be running out of (and towards the camera) (i was thinking of putting a small fixture behind the door, 300 or 500 with some diffusion perhaps, don't want the light to be too intense as it's just moonlight ambience)

The story dictates the character is feeling trapped and sees no clear way out of the hallway and the director wants a kind of tense but frantic atmosphere which makes me think backlighting would be inappropriate (light at the end of the tunnel etc).

I was thinking of bouncing a few tungstens off the existing fixtures but not sure if this will cause the scene to look overlit (as it's also a night scene), i was also thinking of unscrewing a few of the bulbs to leave only a couple of the practicals on and just streaking some blueish light down a wall to give some depth.

Any advice on what i could do with this most boring apartment building hallway would be very much appreciated, (we have tungstens of various sizes)

Cheers, Matt


Tape some florescent tubes to the walls?
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#3 Matt Day

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

Tape some florescent tubes to the walls?


Ah sadly the walls are in shot for the entire length of the hallway so any fluorescent tubes taped to the walls would look a little out of place.

Perhaps though i could tape a couple out of shot in some of the door ways to give a bit of shine as the character runs past but i can't think of any motivation for these (unless perhaps we frame only one wall in shot with 'imaginary' windows on the other off screen).

Thanks anyway for the suggestion Jon, it's given me a new line of thinking to consider.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:57 PM

Why not back-light to silohette them and fill in with a skirted china-ball on a fish pole to get a glint in the eyes, if appropriate.

Or nix the back light and bring in a very dim, soft source on the fish pole just to barely show the eyes and a fall off into darkness.
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#5 Matt Day

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:29 AM

Why not back-light to silohette them and fill in with a skirted china-ball on a fish pole to get a glint in the eyes, if appropriate.

Or nix the back light and bring in a very dim, soft source on the fish pole just to barely show the eyes and a fall off into darkness.


hmm interesting suggestions but there wouldn't be room for a china, i even have to duck to scratch my head in there. My thinking at the moment is to back-light with a reddish tint (i believe this could work for the story).

For fill in a little perhaps i could tape a small fluorescent to the camera ops forehead (filling in as they track backwards), shouldn't be too much of an issue, all i have to say is it's an 'insider trick they used on the matrix' and he'll be up for anything..

Thanks once again for the suggestions, each one triggers a new line of thinking :)
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#6 John David Miller

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:47 AM

Perhaps the use of practicals and set dressing could be employed. Add some wall sconces or hang practical "China Hats" or raw Edison bulbs.

Introduce a reason for light.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:04 AM

Another option would be to run 2x4s across the top and make them look like they belong and then hide kino flos behind them later on; if you can. But again, without seeing the hallway, it's hard to know what to do.
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#8 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:09 PM

To elaborate, I meant for the flo's to be in the shot. If you can't get the lights out of the shot, then you're stuck putting something believable in the shot. Without knowing the period of the piece, I'd just throw out the idea that a couple of bare flo's either on the wall or the ceiling, powered with some neatly run zip cord, might work for the scene. A lot of our work is getting equipment out of the shot, and it's a leap of faith to start putting lights in the shot, but it's a neat trick. Find the Kino! KitchenMaster-1.jpg
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#9 John David Miller

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:35 PM

I would guess the Kino is just in the upper left hand corner of the frame with beige tape, perhaps tan masking tape, covering what is in frame. It is made up to looks like a cabinet that is joining up to the fridge. If so, very clever!
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#10 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:49 AM

I would guess the Kino is just in the upper left hand corner of the frame with beige tape, perhaps tan masking tape, covering what is in frame. It is made up to looks like a cabinet that is joining up to the fridge. If so, very clever!


I wish I was that clever, but, no. My post is about using lights that are not hidden. Maybe I should have said, "Find the flo tube."
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:04 AM

it is quite obviously, and I'm sorry to say, slightly distractingly in the backroom cause a reflection/glint on the door -- mainly distracting to my eye as it's blue and bright.

(sorry hit reply before finished)

but such tricks do work well as the average audience member has not idea what a kino-flo is. To them it's just a florescent light.
And, I believe Kino even makes just single-tube holders which can go right into a ballast, as opposed to having to take apart say a 4-bank.

Another option are battery powered stick up lights. I have a few. Most of them are LED and horrible looking; but if it's right it works well (mine come out this interesting purple color, but for $1.99 at rite-aid, I'm not complaining!)

Or, you could string up work-lights you can but at home-depot which take edison bulbs and throw in some 25 watt or 15 watt frosted globes; just to show the outline of the hallway and maybe a little bit of a side-light, still quite dim.

Or you could give the main character some form of light themselves, such as a mag-light and bounce it back on their face with white-card taped around the front of the camera ect...
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#12 John David Miller

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:37 AM

Haha I was looking for a 4'-4 bank not a raw tube.
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:51 AM

I don't understand. Could you not just replace the practicals with brighter output bulbs? Maybe remove a few to get it so the actor is moving in and out of darkness and light?

It's not clear to me what you are trying to achieve. Is the scene just too dark?

love

Freya
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#14 Matt Day

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:35 AM

Thank you to everyone who has shared their knowledge and offered helpful suggestions, sorry i couldn't reply sooner but the shoot began and i was busy on set for the most part.

The hallway shoot is later this evening and the location is actually worse than i remember. A narrow long corridor with those awful flat fluorescent spheres (the energy saving ones).

The shot itself won't be showing any of the ceiling as we physically can't remove or hide the existing lights (not enough height for a false ceiling, can't mask them or add china hats due to space), this means i can switch the existing lights off and fix some kinos up to create some nice light pools.

Thanks once again to all of you for sharing your knowledge
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