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Lighting in the dark without any motivated sources


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#1 Tim Rose

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 10:54 PM

Hi there Cinematography.com community,

 

My buddies and I recently experimented with making our first horror film, we're all new to the genre and thought it would be a fun challenge. A lot of the script is set in a dark theater at night with no natural light sources other than cell phones and the flash lights on the cell phones. I was shooting on a C500 so low-light wasn't a huge problem as far as exposure on their faces, but my real challenge was how to show any of the dark theater environment without any motivated sources. 

 

Just curious how you all would approach it, other than having them write you in some light sources or finding new buddies  :)

I'm interested in both big-budget and low-budget suggestions.

 

Looking forward to the great ideas!

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 11:01 PM

You could try using some extreme dim, soft ambience if you don't want things to always fall-off to black, but in general, it would be best to just augment the cell phone sources so that the scene seems lit by those.


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#3 Tim Rose

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for the advice David!

 

That's actually what I ended up doing (dim soft ambience) but it seemed pretty flat at times and I felt I couldn't give them any special lighting to separate them or add depth without a motivation. Better than just faces on a black screen though. We sometimes augmented the cell phones with some dimmed LED panel lighting for POV shots and some of the wides.

 

I have to give credit to the horror DPs, it's certainly not easy.


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