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Lighting a Party Scene


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#1 Sam Needham

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 12:03 AM

Hey all,

 

I'm working on a film where a majority of the scenes take place during a party in an apartment. The director wants pops of color like cyan, purple, blue, and pink in the room; the scene is supposed to imitate a college party. I have a general idea of how I want it to look, mostly with the close ups, but I didn't know if anybody has any experience lighting for a party, especially for wide shots.

 

Equipment I have to use:

  • (2) 1k fresnels
  • (2) 1k open faces
  • 1.2 Arri HMI
  • (1) 4'4 kino (tungsten and daylight bulbs)
  • Arri Softbank kit (1k arrisoft, 2 650s)
  • Arri mini fresnel kit (2 - 150s, 2 - 300s)
  • Arri Fresnel kit (4 - 650s)
  • 1K/750/250 rifas
  • 1x1 three point lighting kit 
  • Shadow maker
  • (2) 1k dimmers

I read that china balls are good to add fill in the room, as well as LED bike flashing lights for MCUs/CUs. I was thinking about using a LED DJ disco light to act as a motivator for the lights.

 

Thanks.


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#2 Albion Hockney

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 01:48 PM

My first thought would be if its supposed to be an intimate scene and its a somewhat natural feel then there prob wont be tons of color....if for example its college kids throwing a party and they have that one LED DJ disco light that will probably just motivate some edges and maybe some color in the backround ....but youll want to limit it a bit so it still feels like a real college party and not a club.

 

So when the director says he wants a lot of color I would talk to him in specifc (and maybe you have already) about how much color and how poppy the image is supposed to be because if its super color full and flashing light everywhere it will indeed start to look like a club especially in close ups and it will become pretty stylized which maybe is ok for what your are doing?

 

That said I think your idea of them having one disco light or party light in the backround is good ...depending on how bright it is and how much movment it has you can probably use that to light the background and provide edges on your talent....I think youll want to do some tests and look into the differnt lights avalible they are all differnt and put out all kinds of light.....How wide is your widest shot....providing some pictures and an idea of your shots would for sure help.

 

.....in situations like this (low key interiors that is)  smaller practical sources usually go farther then movie lights. Chinaballs are great to have... the trick with those is to hang duvetyene around them to shape the light so it doesnt bounce around everywhere.  another nice tool is strings of bulb sockets (usually reffered to as zip cable? someone?) might be nice to string lights around the backround to get some ambiant exposure and help you out in your wide shots you can put small bulbs in there (25w or so and also put it on a dimmer to dial in the exposure) 

 

You can also combine the party light you get with just washing deeper backrounds in strong monochromatic color (think about your depth in from and for example if you see outlines of doorways or other rooms in your shots) .... (use your 1k arris softs or fresnels for that)  and scrim it down underexposing it a whole bunch (3-4stops).

 

 

I have never done a party scene with a lot of light gags ....ie moving flashing strobing lights... so if you want that I'm not sure the best approach but I would assume a flicker box (rather then a dimmer) would help and you might need people on the heads panning tilting them around in shot.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 21 December 2014 - 01:49 PM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 06:05 PM

I think all the 1K's are a bit overkill, even with gel on them, unless you are shooting on slow film stock, or if they are to light a large space from a second floor or rooftop position.  Plus you will quickly run out of power if you are planning on just plugging into wall outlets.  You're better off with more of the little lamps.  The 1K's might work in the corners of a backyard space, for example, but would probably be too big inside a living room.

 

If the camera is going to rove around a house party, you should use colored lights that can be seen by the camera, something that looks like the college kids set up.  There are party-colored bulbs, even compact fluorescent ones, in colors like deep blue, orange, yellow, red, etc. The compact flo versions tend to put out a little more light than the small tungsten party bulbs.

 

I also like to use Dedolights in situations like this, because they are small and black, they can disappear more and look like mini par cans or something that a bar might use.  I often cut the gels to fit neatly on the Dedolight without barn doors because it's barn doors and the clothespin holding the gel that make it look like a movie lamp.

 

The more obvious movie lamps could be in the farther background and pointed more towards the lens so that the flare hides the lamp.  Also, a light atmospheric haze helps hide some of the movie lamps shining through the smoke into the lens.

 

The more you can dress the space with colored practicals doing the work, the more realistic it will look and the more freedom the camera will have to move around.


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#4 Sam Needham

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 08:56 PM

Thank you both for the suggestions, your comments have definitely helped me think through my lighting design. I’m leaning more towards using color bulbs as the practical lights for the room and act as motivators for the 150s that I can bounce off the walls or have them on the shadow maker to match the DJ led light. The space we’re working with is pretty small (7ft high and about 25ft wide) so I’ll use color practicals, like David recommended, to make it feel more realistic, and just use the available lights I have as extra fill. I’ll probably use the 1K arrisoft as backlight and use 300s w/ gels and the kino as light behind the camera as fill, and then make small adjustments for the close ups. But we're not filming until January 15th so I have time to make changes. Thank you both again.

 

 

 


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