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Practical lighting w/ gag lights


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#1 Jonathan Flint

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:50 PM

Hi there,

 

I'm currently looking into a lighting strategy that primarily involves the use of practicals.  After some research I've heard about hiding a "gag" light behind a practical in order to augment its effect.  Can anyone elaborate on how this is done with regards to what kind of rig I would need to create?

 

Thanks!

Jonny  


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#2 Toby Orzano

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 05:19 PM

There's not really any kind of special rig that needs to be created. I don't know if this was your impression, but just to clarify, the light instrument used to augment the practical is not hidden behind the practical from the camera's point of view. It will be out of frame behind the practical from the perspective of the subject, as close to the axis of the practical as possible without the practical itself blocking the light from hitting the subject. It is usually necessary to flag the light from your film light off of the shade of the practical, as the practical is meant to appear to be the source of light in the frame and to have light shining on your light source is pretty silly and gives the whole thing away. Sometimes you might want to dim your film light down a bit to warm up the color temperature to match the practical better.

 

With newer cameras that are getting better at shooting at high ISO levels, it is becoming more possible to actually light a scene with practicals. You may need to replace bulbs with higher wattages (making sure the sockets are rated accordingly) and treat the practical shades with ND gel so that the light that spills out the top and bottom of the shade are within your exposure range.


Edited by Toby Orzano, 13 February 2014 - 05:23 PM.

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 05:35 PM

Just to give you an idea of how well a "modern" camera can do with non film lights-- did a music video and through circumstances the genny we got was a few thousand watts below what we needed-- so screwwed we went to walmart and picked up coleman propane lanters--2 of them. And with that, a Pocket Camera @800asa, and some super speeds, we were lighting wides (about 20' by 60') to between a 2.8 and a 1.3-- obviously with some areas way up there and some Eu.


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#4 Jonathan Flint

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 05:28 AM

Thanks Toby for clarifying.  I must've misinterpretated the information, although I did think that literally hiding a lamp behind the practical was maybe a bit unneccessary!  

 

Cheers guys!


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#5 Jonathan Flint

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 07:22 AM

Sorry I realised I do have a follow-up question regarding using a higher wattage bulb - if you're using ND or dimming them to bring them within your exposure range anyway, then what's the benefit of using a higher wattage (apart from creating a warmer light if dimmed)?


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#6 Mike Bao

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:36 AM

As far as I understand,you ND or spray half of the bulb/shade which faces the camera. This way you manage to keep the practical from blowing out on camera,while the side away from camera provides enough light due to higher wattage


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#7 Jonathan Flint

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:13 AM

Makes sense.  Thanks!


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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:45 AM

Generally as well it's better to have more light output than you may need since you can almost always bring it down.


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#9 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:18 PM

You can also now get high CRI conventional CFL globes from Kino Flo, which are great for practicals and allow you to be a lot more precise colour-wise.
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#10 Toby Orzano

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:01 AM

You can also now get high CRI conventional CFL globes from Kino Flo, which are great for practicals and allow you to be a lot more precise colour-wise.

 

 

I just got some of those Kino CFLs (5600K) and they have been great so far. Note, though, that they are physically longer than most normal CFLs and won't fit in many practical lamps that have the wire frame that holds a traditional shade. However, I think their use in practicals is pretty limited even when they do fit. You don't really use daylight sources in practicals very often, and the the only advantage to putting the tungsten ones in practicals is if you are really short on available power. Incandescents bulbs are going to match tungsten lights better, plus they have the advantage of being dimmable, which the CFLs aren't. Plus they are way cheaper. They are still the better option for practicals in my opinion. Maybe the CFLs will be the only option as higher wattage incandescent bulbs are phased out though... 

 

I used the 5600K CFLs in china balls on set today, and they were great for a little daylight fill.


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#11 Mei Lewis

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:14 PM

I think this video does a pretty good job of showing a couple of set ups using gag lights:


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