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Sodium look, Blacked-out apartment during Day.


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#1 Jean-Marc Plante

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 03:56 PM

I'd like to have suggestions.

 

I am gaffing on a small set, in an apartment. The DP wants low Sodium ambiance coming in from the windows, as if it was nighttime, but we're shooting during the day.

 

We will be boxing the windows (which will never be framed), and will put an ultrabounce on 8x8 frames at 45 degress from the top of the window, with lekos punching in on baseplates from the ground (app. is on floor level). Sodium ambiance will be achieved with MYT gels and 1/4 +green.

 

We dont have much stuff. Pretty much 2x lekos, 1x 44 kino, 1x 42 kino, 2x 750 arrilites, but we do have plenty of gripping.

 

Camera is A7s + Odyssey Q7, shooting S-log balanced in Tungsten, 3200 base ISO, with Zeiss Standard primes, IRNDs 3,6 and 9, as well as a Hollywood BM 1/8.

 

He wants to have a flattout, grey-ish look in the apartment, with the sodium ambiance coming in from the windows.

 

My concern is mostly about that said sodium look, how would you guys light this up?

Hit me up if you have questions about the available gear.

 

Thanks!


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#2 Mike Bao

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 05:29 PM

Will any lights/practicals be on in the apartment? Or is sodium the only light?

From realism perspective if any lamps are on inside the room,you barely if at all can see sodium from the outside simply because practicals overpower it.

 

Sodium lights are a hard source so you can use a leko to produce a sharp patch/pattern in the room,not necessarily lighting their faces with it and perhaps create a pattern with either foliage or venetian blinds,you can also use several lights to put different accents on set. And you can light faces by soft underexposed bounce either from window side or from below.

 

It depends a lot on what exactly do you and DP want to achieve and what kind of story it is.


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#3 Jean-Marc Plante

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 06:15 PM

There will be some practicals, dimmed down to bare lighting at all. DP doesnt want hard light, if I am correct, only a glow. Most of the actions happens in two rooms between two women. Main source of light will be a  42 kino overhead in the corridor, on a polecat.


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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 02:28 AM

I think Roger Deakins is the master of this look, and I marvel that he does it so simply. I'm thinking specifically of his night interior work in 'No Country For Old Men.' Personally, I find this look very tricky to accomplish since it is so easy to get it wrong and have the warm sodium streetlight look like sunlight. So my strategy would be to think of every indicator of 'night lighting' and have it ready to go if needed.

For example, Mike noted above the use of practicals and relative light levels to indicate 'night.' To this I would add direction of the key - if you're scene took place above the 2nd floor of an apartment building, then the light from a real streetlamp would be coming from a low angle. Since sunlight rarely comes through a window from below unless it is reflected off of a specular source like car windows or a body of water, this would help to indicate 'night.'

Having the hard sodium light filter thru patterned sheers or Venetian blinds and create a pattern on the ceiling could work. Maybe rig up a gelled bulb on a stand a few feet outside the window to play as the streetlight 'practical.' It may not be visible in frame, but it would give off similar shadows to a real practical source just outside the window.

The other benefit of practicals is that they give you more opportunity to create additional sources from lower angles, which also to me feels like 'night' - a cool TV flicker gag from the living room, soft greenish tablecloth bounce from an uncorrected overhead fluorescent in the kitchen, tungsten or daylight passing headlights from the street below, etc.

I've never heard of MYT gels, but in general I've found that if the sodium gel pack color is too red (think CTO), then it reads more like sunlight. Sodium has a very discontinuous color spectrum, so I think removing some red (which would normally enhance skin tones) and adding more yellow-green would feel more like an artificial source.
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#5 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 03:18 AM

Sodium can be tough for night interiors, since if you're using dimmed down practicals, all of your lights will be super warm and it can become a little unclear that it's supposed to be a sodium street light that's coming through the windows.

 

Because of that, colour contrast can be your friend here. Perhaps look into sourcing some low-wattage bulbs for your practicals so that they can remain a more neutral (undimmed) 3200-ish kelvin, whilst your 'sodium' ambience plays in much warmer.


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#6 JD Hartman

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 06:29 AM

I've never heard of MYT gels, but in general I've found that if the sodium gel pack color is too red (think CTO), then it reads more like sunlight. Sodium has a very discontinuous color spectrum, so I think removing some red (which would normally enhance skin tones) and adding more yellow-green would feel more like an artificial source.

 

I recall that's (MTY, also called white flame) is an arc lamp conversion gel.  Use any gel or gel combo to get what you think the "Sodium" look is, but imho why bother when a single conversion gel exists?  Rosco #3152 or 3150


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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 06:39 AM

Wouldn't let me edit, so....

 

https://www.rosco.co...inegel/3106.jpg

 

https://www.rosco.co...inegel/3150.jpg

 

https://www.rosco.co...inegel/3152.jpg


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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 11:12 AM

Cool, thanks JD!
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#9 Albion Hockney

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 09:14 PM

I think one key thing is just to nail the exposure levels. Our eyes see so differently then cameras in low light situations I think people have trouble translating it for the camera. I almost always find I need to underexpose more then I'm comfortable with, that is while keeping some marginal exposure in darks areas of the frame.

 

 

something like your keylight being 2 stops under and then working in the 3-5 stop range for things you want to keep a marginal exposure on.

 

 

if there is something bright in frame it needs to be contained and it needs to have a really great motivation like for example deakins with the car lights coming through the windows in no country.


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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 09:13 AM

Lee makes their Urban Effects filters for exactly these scenarios.  One gel is specifically named "Lo-Sodium."  I used them on my last short and they worked great.

 

http://www.leefilter...lter=correction


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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 09:21 AM

It's not that difficult to get real SOX lamps. They're cheap and very, very, very bright for the power. The only problem is that I've never seen a high-frequency SOX ballast. This page demonstrates a 26W SOX lamp being run from 12V power, which almost certainly implies that it's a high frequency electronic ballast, but I'm not sure what the design approach is.

 

P


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#12 JD Hartman

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 06:06 PM

It's not that difficult to get real SOX lamps.

 

P

Your speaking some sort of strange tech. lingo here: SOX

 

LPS lamps have an outer glass vacuum envelope around the inner discharge tube for thermal insulation, which improves their efficiency.  Earlier types of LPS lamps had a detachable dewar jacket (SO lamps) Lamps with a permanent vacuum envelope (SOI lamps) were developed to improve thermal insulation. Further improvement was attained by coating the glass envelope with an infrared reflecting layer of indium tin oxide, resulting in SOX lamps.

 

http://lamptech.co.uk/SOX.htm


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#13 Jean-Marc Plante

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 11:26 PM

Thanks everyone! I am sorry I went without response, as I didnt have any when we shot it.

 

We stuck to the original plan. MTY Gels (thanks JD Hartman) and 1/4+Green worked well, gave a warm, kind-of-sick lavish color.

 

Sodium can be tough for night interiors, since if you're using dimmed down practicals, all of your lights will be super warm and it can become a little unclear that it's supposed to be a sodium street light that's coming through the windows.

 

Because of that, colour contrast can be your friend here. Perhaps look into sourcing some low-wattage bulbs for your practicals so that they can remain a more neutral (undimmed) 3200-ish kelvin, whilst your 'sodium' ambience plays in much warmer.

 

I thought about that, we used mostly 40w cheap bulbs and cut directly on the lamps to achieve contrast compared to gelled Lekos from the windows.

 

 

I think one key thing is just to nail the exposure levels. Our eyes see so differently then cameras in low light situations I think people have trouble translating it for the camera. I almost always find I need to underexpose more then I'm comfortable with, that is while keeping some marginal exposure in darks areas of the frame.

 

It is one of those shoots I barely if saw anything the DP shot, but he told me he was 2 stop OVER the whole time, to be able to crush contrats afterwards... Slog looked like middle of the day when I saw it... Guessing he knows what he's doing, but I would have gone the way you see it...


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