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Augmenting a chandelier over a kitchen table


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#1 Marc-Andr

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 11:40 AM

Hello, I searched the forum to see if the topic has been adressed already but it seems like it hasn't. I was wondering how we could effectively light a kitchen table scene with a low hanging chandelier or practical lamp fixture that is visible in the frame, especially for a wide shot. Is there a good way to do it? It seems to me that the lack of place would make it hard to have a balanced angle, you would either light it from above the chandelier and get disgracious "midday sun" shadows on people's face or you would have to light from  under the lamp, creating flat unflattering shadows. Or is it that the practical is lighting the scene? In that case if the chandelier is made of frosted, stained or transparent glass it would blow out completely. 

 

Thanks for your replies!

 

table light.jpg


Edited by Marc-Andr, 13 January 2015 - 11:41 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 02:31 PM

In a wide shot where you see the fixture and the ceiling above, you may not have much choice but to use the practical alone, perhaps changing out the bulbs for something brighter if necessary, and/or hiding some piece of diffusion if possible in the design, if it's a dish-type.

 

Now if the ceiling is white and washed out by the uplight from the chandelier, you might get away with bouncing into the ceiling and hiding the bounce spot in the general hotness of the ceiling.

 

Once the ceiling is out of frame, then things get easier. Roger Deakins likes to build these wooden rings of light bulbs that he mounts around a ceiling fixture to increase the spread, softness, and output.  A bounce might work fine too, or paper lanterns if the ceiling is tall enough.


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#3 Marc-Andr

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 02:35 PM

Thank you very much! 


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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 09:23 PM

Hi Marc,

 

I had a similar challenge on a recent film. Here are the relevant frame grabs:

 

Wide shot -

GBHavana_08.jpg

Obviously, we are super wide and the ceiling is in shot. So I just used the chandelier as is, blacked out the windows, and added a few accent lights in the foreground.

 

Tighter shot -

GBHavana_09.jpg

After we punched in, I was able to turn off the overhead practical and bring in a 2' china ball just above the frame line. Because of the size of the room and the dark wood walls, I did not have to skirt the ball with duvetene at all. I think it cuts well. I used the same lighting for the rest of the coverage as well, just moving the china ball slightly.

 

GBHavana_10.jpg GBHavana_11.jpg GBHavana_12.jpg GBHavana_13.jpg

 

On another recent project where the overhead fixture was out of frame, I just took a 4x4 diffusion rag (full grid or half soft frost, I think) and wrapped it around the whole chandelier. That was enough to soften it and take the curse off and was also very quick.

Algorithm_01.jpg


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#5 Albion Hockney

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:15 AM

Wides with lights in frame are a problem for sure. I think you gotta know it is what it is.... there is no magic that can be done if there is no where to hide lights. I really get turned off but blown out lights in frame unless the style of it really plays to the story so I always try to do anything I can to bring the bulbs down to a reasonable level of exposure.

 

I think a big part of it is what kinda chandelier it is....donno your scope but if you have a production designer to work with and the set is right for the bigger the chandelier (ie the more sources in it) the more light you can get with the bulbs not blowing out so much indvidually.

 

I beleive in melancholia in the opening scenes you can see some examples of lighting with real chandeliers ....also in the film "mother of george" in the opening scenes .....but they are big kinda banquet hall style lights so there might be 20 15/25w bulbs in them or something.

 

Roger Deakins always talks about spending time designing the practical sources in from the production designers and I think it is a really over looked step.

 

One option might be compositing as if the shot is static.....shoot the scene with stronger bulbs in the chandelier and then stop down for a 2nd take and see if you can comp them together.....I once did that for a big shot of a football field with one stadium light in frame and it worked out well actually, but not sure how well it work in an interior space .....when I did the footaball field there was only black negative space around the light.


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:57 AM

Sometimes in the wide shot, you can use an ND grad filter to bring down the ceiling lights.

 

Those frames look great, Satsuki!  I love the use of the net filter...


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#7 Marc-Andr

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 12:43 PM

Wow Satsuki that looks great. I can't believe the first frame is lit only by the chandelier. It looks like there was a net behind to cut some light off the back wall. Also it looks like there's a light behind the center man's face.

 

David, is the net filter you're talking about a lens filter?

 

Albion yes I believe that taking time to design or choose practical practicals is very important. Maybe some people think that "we're gonna use movie lights anyway so who cares". I created this post out of curiosity because for New year eve I had dinner at my uncle's house and there was this chandelier over the table and it lit the space beautifully. The sides were frosted so the light was directional and faded on the walls. It was interesting. Comping seems like a good idea too. I guess it would also work for blown out windows. 


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 02:50 PM

You can see the effect of something similar to a Dior stocking as lens diffusion.


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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 07:43 PM

Thanks guys, the compliment means a lot coming from you David. I've learned a lot from you over the years.

The rear-mounted net on the lens is not a Dior, but a cheaper black nylon 8 denier stocking I found at Macy's. I looked through a bunch of them, found one that I liked and have been using the same set for at least 5 years now. I need to remember what it is so I can buy more since I'm almost out!

The light behind the actor's head in the wide is just a real candle practical on the table. I don't think you see it in any of the other coverage. No net on the back wall in the wide, no place to hide it! We picked a location that had dark walls to begin with, so bringing down the exposure on the walls was not necessary.
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