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Lighting: On Set of Angel


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#1 Rick Pearson

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 04:06 PM

I do alot of "behind the scenes" watching to see if I can catch glimpses of how a particular show/feature lights their sets and to see what kind of setup they employ. Anyway, Angel the television show is a very dimly lit show, others include the likes of X-files and so on. I was just wondering if I could hear from some of you who work on these types of established projects on topics like "how dark a set is in reality compared to how dark it looks on film." For example, a behind the scenes shot of a crew filming the actors can look like it's lit quite brightly, but looking at the same scene from the film camera's lense shows a much darker, moody setting.

Is it a matter of what exists shows up on film, a matter of using the iris to limit the light, or is it a matter of how the different film stocks react to the amount of light?

I live in a video world, and all of my knowledge rests solely in video work, I'd love to know more about the workings of film and how images translate onto it. Thanks in advance for your answers.

Edited by Rick Pearson, 12 May 2005 - 04:12 PM.

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 04:21 PM

Hi,

It's not particularly a film or video thing, although the way film falls off to black (allegedly... less and less so with modern stocks it seems) has something to do with it. The highlights are usually in the same place as they always are, just allowing more shadow, less fill light, and exposing to suit. It's nothing particularly to do with the technology.

Phil
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#3 Joshua Provost

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 04:29 PM

Rick,

One factor is the speed of the film stock. 250 speed film will require twice as much light to properly expose as 500 speed film. However, it also has less grain, which may be desirable. Usually the stock is chosen as an asthetic choice, and the lighting is set up to properly expose that stock.

Josh
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#4 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 06:25 PM

What you are talking about is contrast, not how bright or dark the whole frame is.

With underexposure, one gets a completely darker (usually grainer & milkier image).

With contrast the ratio of bright to dark is higher in what one perceives as a ?dark? scene. This has been discussed a lot on the forum.

Let?s say I want a face to be exposed "normally" on one side and 1 stop darker on the shadow side.
- If the bright side is "normal" at F5.6 and the shadow side is F4 I have that 1 stop difference.
- If the bright side is "normal" at F16 (due to adding more light, etc) and I have the shadow side F11 then I still have that 1 stop difference.

A film set usually never looks to the eye, how it will on film or video. This is because the eye is not a film or video camera and does not react in the same ways (slowly film stock development is changing that).

Kevin Zanit
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