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Filming a short in October


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#1 joshua gallegos

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:46 PM

Hello, I will be shooting a short film that I wrote, I'm still considering shooting the short film at night, since the night time is a character in the short, but the diner location I needed closes at 4pm, and they won't allow me to shoot at night, since it's low budget, and don't have the funds to pay them. For that reason alone I may have to shoot in the daytime, which would introduce considerable problems, considering I will not be able to afford lighting equipment, For instance, I have interior dialogue scenes in cars, if I switched that to daytime, on a partly cloudy sky, I would need an HMI light and a muslin to bounce light for consistency, which I could never afford. In night time, I can merely use a Chimera 1K light and use a bulb that could match the parking lot lamps and use that in a low key situation, exposing this light with a fast primes and 800 iso would allow the proper exposure. Plus, I love the look of sodium vapor lamps, especially on a wintry night, I plan on shooting with a Canon 7D and a couple of fast primes, a wide-angle 24mm f/1.4 and a standard telephoto 50mm f/1.2 lens. These lenses are incredibly sharp when shot almost wide open, the lenses lose considerable sharpness at around f/5.6 , but if I shoot between f/2.2 to f/1.8 at 800 iso, I'll need between 5-8 foot-candles for proper exposure in the exterior scenes, which is something I could never do with film. I was scouting a different diner in Austin that is open for 24 hours, I hope they allow me to shoot there, the main light source are fluorescent fixtures that are around 4400k,

 

I understand that many fluorescent tubes that are used in public places have bad CRI rating at around 56 or 60, compared to Kinos which are around the mid 90s. I could never change all the fixtures, since that would cost a lot of money! So, does anyone have any advice on how to deal with fluorescent sources that are not very photographic? Is it possible to use the greenish color they render to my advantage? I kind of like the Fincher look with the green fluorescent tubes,when he uses them in night time, so when exposing for such a scene, do these fluorescent tubes normally flicker? I didn't get a chance to photograph them at night, which is something I will be doing. 

 

I also plan to film in the interior of a hotel, I plan on changing all the bulbs to give it a warm look like in no Country For Old Men, I wanted to match the sources with 3200k globes. If I shot at 400 Iso at f/3.2 that would require 32 footcandles. So my question is, when it comes to choosing the wattage of the globes, do I have to make sure I get the proper amount of watts to match the amount of footcandles I will need? I plan on bouncing a 250W Omni-light, since they're rather cheap, this will establish the key light, which is motivated from one of the lamps close to the bed, added to this I plan on adjusting the color temperature to 6000k to give the scene a warmer look. So, how exactly do I go on about figuring out how many watts will match the amount of footcandles I will need? I'm sure there is a formula for this? 


Edited by joshua gallegos, 02 September 2013 - 10:48 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:02 PM

If you are talking about ordinary table lamps and sconces in a hotel room, you can get away with 100w bulbs without too much trouble, maybe smaller in the sconces, just watch how much power you are pulling through one wall circuit.  You should be fine at 400 ISO and f/3.2 but be prepared if necessary to bump up to 500 or 640 ISO, or use a faster lens, or go to a 1/30th shutter instead of 1/48th, etc.

 

I would find a diner that you can shoot at night in.


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#3 joshua gallegos

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:25 PM

Yeah! I rewrote the script to take place in the daytime, but it's not the right feel! It wasn't until i rewrote it that I realized that the night time was a character in the story, it kind of separates people from the world in a way, it's just not the same. The great thing about the Canon 7D is that the ISO can be shifted to third stop intervals, so I think I should probably consider shooting 650 ISO at f/3.2, which would require 20 footcandles, the problem if I shot at 800 ISO in an interior, the shadows aren't dark enough, I was exposing more for the shadows, so I figured I would use the omni-light, maybe put a couple of 100W bulbs in the restroom and have the door open just a little... it's a scene where a young woman contemplates murder, so I was using the omni-light and use a streak of light by closing the barn doors and have a streak of light across her face as the main key...the source would be coming from the restroom lights... then I would have a small lamp with dimmed bulb, maybe a 60 or 80W and that would serve as the fill light, It's in a Motel 8 which also in Austin, it's great because the bed faces the restroom, it's a little noir-like, so I thought shooting at a higher ISo would completely ruin the look I wanted. 

 

So, when it comes to the amount of watts, how do I determine the amount of footcandles they will render? I din't want to risk crushing the shadows, so it's the one thing I have had trouble figuring out.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:37 PM

You can look online to see if the manufacturer lists photometric data for the unit, though it's always a good idea to be able to adjust its intensity with scrims or with a dimmer.

 

if you are using the light as a hard key with barndoors to make a cut, it would be better to get a fresnel like a 650w Mole-Richardson Tweenie or an Arri fresnel.


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#5 joshua gallegos

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:44 PM

I only haveabout a thousand dollars to make the short, and I have a friend who can get an omni-light from his film school, I know Lowel doesn't make the best lights out there, but it's what I'm going to have to work with, I think these lights are a bit harsh, so If I use a double scrim that cuts down a full stop, then i would have to lower the f/stop by one stop so I'm not underexposed? 


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#6 joshua gallegos

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:59 PM

I found this formula where it shows you how to convert footcandles to watts. It's actually quite simple! So, if I have a regular lamp, such as those in every household, the bulb inside it will also counts as footcandles, right? If that is what I'm using as the fill, then I combine that to the key light? 

 

here's the equation for the conversion...

 

http://www.steves-di...surement.html#b


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 01:31 AM

First of all, it depends on how bright you want that light to look.  "Harsh" is a vague term, usually it means both hard and overexposed.  So if you don't want it to be overexposed, then expose for it. If you don't want it to be hard, then soften it.

 

You'd scrim it if it were too bright -- what if you turn it on, measure it, and find that you'd have to shoot at f/5.6 to expose for it... but then it makes the rest of the room look too dark?  If you throw a double scrim in and open up to f/4.0, then the light looks the same brightness as before but now the rest of the room's lighting is a stop brighter.

 

But maybe exposed normally it looks too bright for the effect you want, it actually needs to be a stop underexposed to look correct for the mood?  Now you need the light to be a stop underexposed, so either you throw a double scrim into it and let it be darker, or you stop down the lens by one-stop.

 

The thing is... you're shooting video, you can see the exposure and the contrast on your monitor, you can adjust them by eyeballing things.


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#8 joshua gallegos

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:55 AM

Ah, I see! That would completely defeat the purpose of the scrim if I stopped down, unless I wanted the rest of the room to be a stop brighter. So, therefore, if the scrim doesn't do the job I could clamp an ND .3 to cut it down another stop, etc. when it comes to diffusion, I could use a silk, etc to soften it if I needed to... as Roger it's about the quality of light that I'm after - so it all depends on what I want...

Thanks for all the great help, Mr. Mullen.
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