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Carrying a Oil Lamp Practical?


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#1 Jeremy Asuncion

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 03:33 PM

I'm having a bit of difficulty visualizing how I would light a certain scene. The scene takes place in a bunker, about 6 feet in length, 4 feet in depth, and 3 feet in height—thankfully we will be shooting this on a stage, but I do not know how they plan on constructing this set.

 

There are to sources of light in this scene:

1) An oil lamp practical

2) Ambient light from floorboards above

 

What's troubling me is that technically the lamp is a single-point source (no diffusion in the glass, it is mostly transparent). A couple of ideas that initially came to my mind were using small units on a flicker box. However, I'm really hoping to create a source that dances around, like a flame—I've never really lit anything like this.

 

Recently, I saw a gaffer take a Leko, shoot it about 45 degrees above the subject, and hand hold two crushed/partially filled water bottles. On the same set, they also did a fragmented mirror in a tray of water. Could this work for this kind of practical? And what are some of your favorite tricks for motivated candlelight/fire?


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#2 Michael Lippi

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 10:16 PM

It sounds like you'll be in tight quarters and if the subject is moving you'll need a light source that's able to follow with them about the space. Given that, shooting a Leiko or any light into the ceiling may not be your best option, especially if you want to keep the source contained close to the subject.

 

What you could try to do is go fishing:

 

Get a 6" china lantern with an appropriate Watt tungsten globe (I'm guessing 60w and below but that will depend on what your recording platform is). Next, double-up 2 C-stand arms and affix the China lantern to one end. You can have an electrician hold the lantern off camera and get it as close as he can without the lantern being in frame while another operates a dimmer that's connected in-line at the hubble if you don't have a Magic Gadget or flicker box. You can also use duvetyne to cover up portions of the China lantern to make it more precise.

 

This will allow your source to be contained closer to your subject and also simulate a more realistic and appealing candlelight/lantern effect.

 

I know you were trying to obtain a dancing effect like that of an actual flame. However short of using an actual controlled fire source to light the subject there's not much that can give you that specific effect that I can think of. If anyone else knows of something that does, by all means, chime in.


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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 10:46 PM

You could try a few small bulbs, off set perhaps dangling from a short arm made into a "T" on your overall C-stan arm fishin' pole (you could just tape the zip line onto the short arm) . Let's say 3 25W bulbs frosted, just for  giggles. Each get's it's own dimmer, and you vary them up and down,so the source "moves" a bit. Of course, if it's caught in the actors eyes, you'll give away the trick to people looking for it but might be able to get away with it. Easier would be to wire them to a magic gadgets flicker box so you don't have to manually flicker 'em. This will cause the nose shadow to move around a bit.


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#4 Jeremy Asuncion

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:36 PM

What you could try to do is go fishing:

 

Get a 6" china lantern with an appropriate Watt tungsten globe (I'm guessing 60w and below but that will depend on what your recording platform is). Next, double-up 2 C-stand arms and affix the China lantern to one end. You can have an electrician hold the lantern off camera and get it as close as he can without the lantern being in frame while another operates a dimmer that's connected in-line at the hubble if you don't have a Magic Gadget or flicker box. You can also use duvetyne to cover up portions of the China lantern to make it more precise.

You could try a few small bulbs, off set perhaps dangling from a short arm made into a "T" on your overall C-stan arm fishin' pole (you could just tape the zip line onto the short arm) . Let's say 3 25W bulbs frosted, just for  giggles. Each get's it's own dimmer, and you vary them up and down,so the source "moves" a bit. Of course, if it's caught in the actors eyes, you'll give away the trick to people looking for it but might be able to get away with it. Easier would be to wire them to a magic gadgets flicker box so you don't have to manually flicker 'em. This will cause the nose shadow to move around a bit.

 

Darn, I really wanted to try that water bottle trick!  <_<  But Michael, you're right, that wouldn't work for my situation and I gotta find solutions that serve my purpose, not the other way around. And Adrian, that might actually get me what I'm going for. This show will either be 500T pushed one stop or 800 on the Alexa (which all depends on our budget). I think a trio of 25W bulbs will do the trick.

 

I think a combination of those two tricks would get a nice effect. While the china ball can't really get me the dancing effect, it does give me a nice quality of light, especially for these extreme close-ups. As far as the three bulbs go, there will be a couple macro shots on the eyes, so we can totally just use the actual lantern for our eye light.

 

I also forgot to mention, in order to get visible rays of light from above, I'm thinking of hazing up the set a bit... And there will be a master where I can see floor, ceiling, and three walls. The fishing will totally work for almost every other shot, but how can I light a wide shot with such a small source? I feel that the falloff would be too dramatic and I would have to carry it in some other way.

 

Hiding units with set dressing? Swapping the oil lamp with an electrical lamp? Compromise with framing? This is a really challenging setup, but thank you for the comments so far, I'm really excited to make this happen!  :D


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:06 PM

For a wide I would punch up oil lamp with a larger source well flagged off. Or you could tape a brigher bulb-- perhaps battery powered, but probably wired, behind the oil lamp. If you need more exposure in the room as a whole you can bang a light off of the ceiling in a pinch-- so it's toppy and shouldn't cause an unwanted shadow (or as much of an unwanted shadow, though I tend to worry less about soft shadows in a wide)


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