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#1 Justin Koenen

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 03:28 AM

Hi I'm starting to plan for a night exterior shoot which I don't have a lot of experience on. I am shooting in front of an old two-story house with a tree in front of the yard. A man is going to hang a person from a rope tied to the tree which is being pulled from the hitch on his truck. I believe I will have available to me 2-2k fresnels and a few 650fresnels with genny. Was wondering the best way to go about lighting the front of house and character on tree with the action.
Thank you for any help.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 04:03 AM

Which camera are you planning to use?


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#3 Justin Koenen

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:35 PM

Red one mx
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#4 Guy Holt

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 04:39 PM

Was wondering the best way to go about lighting the front of house and character on tree with the action.
 

 

One option is to shoot the wide establishing shot dusk-for-night and then doing the close coverage night-for-night. The advantage to shooting dusk-for-night over day-for-night is that you can incorporate set practicals like window or porch light, car headlights, or even streetlight or moonlight raking the side of the house in a wide establishing shot. But in order to get the balance right requires the right location and careful planning.

 

The key to success in shooting dusk-for-night is choosing the right location. To get the subtle separation of the night sky from a dark horizon, you don’t want to shoot into the after glow of the setting sun. Instead you want to find a location where you will be shooting into the darker eastern sky. After the sun has set, you have maybe a thirty-minute window of opportunity to shoot the wide master so you have to have everything planned out, rehearsed, and ready to go.

 

In order to get the balance right between the practicals and the ambient dusk light in the limited time you have to shoot the establishing shot, you have to start with larger fixtures and be prepared to reduce their intensity quickly. For instance if you want the glow of an interior practical light raking the lace curtains in a window, start with a PH213 in the practical and one of your 2k Fresnels on the lace. Wait until the ambient dusk level outside has fallen to the point where it looks realistic and then roll. To get a second shot or take, open the camera aperture a half stop and drop a single in the 2k head, dim down the PH213, and wait again until the ambient dusk level outside has again fallen to the point where it looks realistic and then roll. If you continue in this fashion with nets after you have exhausted your scrims, and a PH212 when the dimmed PH213 starts to look too warm, you will be able to get multiple takes out of the diminishing dusk light.

 

Dusk-night_Ext.jpg

 

Likewise with a streetlight or moonlight raking across the front of the house. To create a moon dapple on the front of a house against a night sky, you will need is a good sized HMI set on a high oblique angle so that it will rake across the front of the house. Break it up with a branch-a-loris and wait. When the ambient level of the dusk sky has fallen to the point where it looks realistic against the moonlit house and the practical lit interior - roll. You can even add the car pulling up to the house, but you have to be prepared and have enough manpower standing by to dim the practicals, net the lights, and scrim the car’s head lights very quickly. The final touch is to use a graduated ND filter on the lens to darken the sky and balance the camera between daylight and tungsten so that the ambient dusk light filling the shadows is cool and the practicals and tungsten lights motivated by them remain warm but not too warm.

 

Once dusk is past, you shoot the close coverage night-for-night when a package consisting of what you can run on a portable generator will suffice. If you use one of the new modified 7500W Honda EU6500is generators, as was done in the production pictured below, you will be able to use a 4k HMI for your moonlight at dusk. In this story of mistaken identity, a pivotal scene takes place in the middle of a near vacant parking lot of an all night convenience store. The establishing shot of the wide-open expanse of the empty parking lot at night was shot dusk-for-night and then the close coverage night-for-night.

 

GM_MontageSm.jpg

 

With no building or other sound barrier within a reasonable distance to block the sound of the generator, Gaffer Aaron MacLaughlin had no recourse but to put it behind their grip truck as far from set as possible. This was only possible because he used a transformer to step down the 240V output of the generator, and in the process compensate for the voltage drop they experienced over the 500’ cable run to set.

 

If the 4k has one of the newer dual wattage electronic ballasts, you can even swap out the 4k globe you used for the dusk-for-night shooting, for a 2.5k globe as they did on this production. The 2.5k globe was all they needed to light the deep background for the doubles and singles around the car that they shot night-for-night and the 8 Amps they saved went a long way toward powering additional lights. Knowing how to shoot dusk-for-night can be worth more than all the grip trucks, tow generators, and large HMIs in the world. Use this link for more details about the production described above.

 

Guy Holt, Gaffer, Screenlight and Grip, Lighting rental and sales in Boston.


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#5 Justin Koenen

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 04:05 PM

Thanks for the advice Guy
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#6 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:48 PM

But if you don't have HMI's and If all you got are "2 2K's and some 650's" you can send 4x bead board way up and shine the 2k into it. Gives you a very large overall even soft source that's a little harder than a booklight.  Which I think looks better at night. Matter of taste.  .

 

HMI's can be costly.  Par cans on the other hand are also a great way to light up backgrounds and distant objects without running a ton of cable.  Get some vnsp bulbs or med spot bulbs and you're good.  They may not have the cooler temperature but they're super cheap and some 500wt ones will be easier on the gennie.


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 16 March 2014 - 05:49 PM.

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Visual Products

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Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

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Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

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FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Glidecam