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middle of no where roadside lighting?

lighting help?

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#1 Brian Nelson

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 03:19 PM

hello everyone i'm a film student applying for a DOP job for one of my classes, and for the script we are shooting we have to film on the side of a road in the middle of no where. any suggestions on possible lighting tricks to light the scene? any and all help will be appreciated thank you much! 


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 03:35 PM

Is there a car parked nearby? What time of day? Are people holding cellphones?


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#3 Albion Hockney

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 03:47 PM

what kinda resources do you have and what camera are you using? what is happening in the scene?  What's the tone of the film, maybe you have some references you like?

 

could be done a million ways, generally lighting like this is done in films with the use of construction style lifts (condors) that can get lights up very high to mimic overhead street lights or distant ambiance from the moon or far away street lights/buildings. I'm guessing that is likely something you don't have access to ... other options might be If there is a car in the scene you can use head lights to motivate light... or maybe you can just use real street light somewhere. If shooting on the right camera/fast lenses you can get pretty good images from natural standing street lamps in some cases.

 

 

this all assumes you are doing wider shots, without knowing the scene it self and how you intend to shoot it it's hard to give much more.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 23 March 2015 - 03:48 PM.

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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 03:52 PM

If it's a night scene, dusk after sunset is a good time to film a simple sequence. Car headlights or other practicals work extremely well.


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#5 Guy Holt

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 05:12 PM

If it's a night scene, dusk after sunset is a good time to film a simple sequence. Car headlights or other practicals work extremely well.

 

+1 Dusk-for-night, is an important technique for indie filmmakers to learn because it is a means of obtaining expensive looking production values for very little money. Dusk-for-night uses the fading daylight as an ambient fill to gain a base line exposure in wide establishing shots without using a big source. Typically it is intercut with closer framing shot night-for-night to create a realistic night scene. The advantage to shooting dusk-for-night over day-for-night (the other low budget alternative to expensive night-for-night cinematography on a large scale) is that if you are shooting a house or city street you can incorporate set practicals like window or porch light, car headlights, or even streetlights or raking moonlight  in a wide establishing shot. But in order to get the balance right between your lamp light and the fading daylight requires the right location and careful planning.

 

For example, the key to success in shooting the house pictured below dusk-for-night was choosing the right location. To get the subtle separation of the night sky and trees 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. With dusk-for-night, you have maybe a thirty-minute window of opportunity after the sun has set to shoot the wide master before the natural ambient light fades completely so you have to have everything planned out, rehearsed, and ready to go.

 

In order to get the balance right between your lights 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 2k Fresnel raking the lace curtain. Wait until the ambient dusk level outside has fallen to the point where the balance between the natural light and your lamp light 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 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 a 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.

 

The technique we used to light the house pictured above, you can use lighting a roadside scene as well. For example, the scene below takes place in the middle of a near vacant parking lot of an all night convenience store. The establishing shot of the brightly lit convenience store situated in a wide-open expanse of a empty parking lot at night was shot dusk-for-night because the production didn’t have the resources to light up the parking light and building to separate it from the night sky. Close coverage was then shot night-for-night with nothing more than a single modified 7500W Honda EU6500is and a small tungsten package of 1ks and 650w Fresnels.

 

GM_MontageSm.jpg

 

Shooting on the side of the road, you will be in the same predicament they faced here. With no building or other sound barrier within a reasonable distance to block the sound of the generator, Gaffer Aaron MacLaughlin put the generator 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 you want to use an HMI larger than a 4k, you can parallel two Honda EU6500s with a 120A paralleling box.

 

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


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#6 Guy Holt

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 05:13 PM

 Deleted duplicate post


Edited by Guy Holt, 27 March 2015 - 05:18 PM.

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#7 Guy Holt

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 05:15 PM

 Deleted duplicate post 


Edited by Guy Holt, 27 March 2015 - 05:18 PM.

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#8 Miguel Angel

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 06:26 PM

Hi and welcome to the forum.

 

That the car is in the middle of nowhere it doesn't mean that you cannot create a practical light out of nowhere, streetlamp, roadwork lamp, lantern, torch, etc. 

 

If the script is not very long and you can choose when to shoot it I would go for the twilight moment. 

 

It will give you a fantastic tone in the skies and you will be able to see a little bit of the faces if you want to (or you can augment the light on the faces with a blonde or a led through diffusion or bounced)

 

It would be worth checking a Russian movie called "Leviathan" where Mikhail Krichman, the cinematographer, uses this technique a lot in the interior of the cars.

 

 

Have a good day. 


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