Jump to content




Photo

Shooting a night scene with flashlights

night scene shoot flashlight

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Mike Jones

Mike Jones

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 18 November 2014 - 01:04 AM

Hey,

 

Love the forum, first time posting.

 

I'm making a film in the next few months. We're shooting on the Arri Amira with Zeiss CP2 Lenses.

 

Theres a few scenes with characters walking through woods at night with flashlights. We were hoping on using those flashlights as the main source of lighting for the scene. We were wondering if we needed special types of bulbs or flashlights (more powerful?) so that the scene isn't just some really vague pathetic lights and also if additional lighting is generally used during those types of scenes?

 

Here are some stills from Prisoners (not the best quality but you get what I mean). What would Deakin's have used to light these scenes?

 

Prisoners4.jpg

prisoners3.jpg

Prisoners2.jpg

Prisoners1.jpg

 

 

Thanks everyone,

 

Mike


  • 0




#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18788 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 18 November 2014 - 03:02 AM

You try and buy some fairly bright flashlights, that's all.  You augment them minimally when needed, sometimes you just need to hide some piece of white cloth or card for the flashlight beam to hit and bounce back into the actor's face, other times you may want some extremely dim and soft ambient light.


  • 0

#3 David Landau

David Landau
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 87 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New Jersey & New York

Posted 23 November 2014 - 11:14 PM

Hi Mike,

 

You might have noticed that in most of the stills the flashlights aren't lighting the actors, that's other lighting. Light from a flashlight is moving away from the person holding it. So unless there is something for the light to bounce off of and back into the faces of the people with the flashlights, they won't be lit much. As David points out, you could hide sheets or bounce cards on the ground and allow the light to bounce back up. The scenes you used as examples have several other sources other than the flashlight itself. The second still has a soft light coming down from above and the next two stills have a hard light coming up on the actor from below. There is also a lot of light in the background to keep it from going black and there are those white references shining directly into the camera.

 

If you are doing a woods scene you can always use the moonlight as a source. The Moon is actually a hard source of light that throws shadows - something you'll notice if you go camping or ever go on a cruise ship. It can become quite bright when the moon is full. Since its 5600k it appears bluish to the eye when compared to the warm 2700k color of a tungsten flashlight. What you could do is use some open-faced mickies (1ks) or mighties (2ks) with half blue on them and shine them down into the wooded area to imitate moonlight. Shining through branches will give you a nice break up. Use powerful flashlights as your props, but you can also add inexpensive LED lights, the kind that strap to you head, and strap them to the actors waist below the frame aimed up into their face - as if the flashlight were shining up on them. That appears to be the method used in your last two stills.

 

You can go a variety of looks for night time in the woods. You can let the backgrounds go totally black and give the feeling of the characters being closed in and alone – or you can backlight the trees making them looking “trapped” or surrounded. You can also light it so you can see into the background beyond the trees, making them lost in the wide open spaces.  It’s an artistic choice you’ll need to make, talking with the director. Have fun.


Edited by David Landau, 23 November 2014 - 11:15 PM.

  • 0

#4 Guy Holt

Guy Holt
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 511 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Boston

Posted 24 November 2014 - 11:02 AM

... in most of the stills the flashlights aren't lighting the actors, that's other lighting. Light from a flashlight is moving away from the person holding it. So unless there is something for the light to bounce off of and back into the faces of the people with the flashlights, they won't be lit much....

 

 

This issue was recently covered in another thread: http://www.cinematog...showtopic=65455

 

Guy Holt, Gaffer, ScreenLight & Grip, Lighting Rental & Sales in Boston


  • 0

#5 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11224 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 November 2014 - 11:17 AM

I find with flashlights that you have to diffuse them a bit. Of course, this reduces the point intensity, but otherwise they can be unmanageably contrasty and if you expose for the centre of the beam, they illuminate nothing but a very small area.

 

P


  • 0


Zylight

Glidecam

Pro 8mm

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

Tai Audio

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

CineLab

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Pro 8mm

Zylight

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab