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Lighting gels for twilight?

lighting gels twilight cinematography

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#1 Bradley Stearn

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 06:31 PM

I lit a music video last week, and one of the setups called for lighting as if it was 'twilight'. I knew just using CTB to get the blue light of twilight wouldn't work, so I did some research and ended up buying some Lee Filters 161 Slate Blue. I used Slate Blue on some HMIs, and softened and diffused the light as much as possible to get the soft blue light that you see just after sunset. I was quite happy with the outcome, but it wasn't really the kind of blue I was after. I was wondering if anyone else has had experience using special colour gels to light for twilight? What kind of setups did you use?  With the power of grading nowadays, is it easier to just fix the colour in post? I guess it's an interesting debate, but I do like to get what I want in camera, so that minimal things have to be changed in post. 

 

11154988_790201674428424_578679992238947743_o (1).jpg

 

More about the shoot on my blog. 


Edited by Bradley Stearn, 04 May 2015 - 06:31 PM.

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#2 Albion Hockney

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 03:26 PM

I think the color is fine, looks twilight to me, I would leave subtle color shift up to post.Personally I only use stuff other then the standard color correction gels if i'm doing heavy color like red from a break light or sodium vapor light.

 

that said I think it could feel a bit more full and twilight like with more work to the lighting and additional control. the simple soft key feels a bit too straight forward.  I would have tried to maybe control the fall of on the background a little more and brought out some 4x4 nets to work it on her a little too. I probably would have also had the source come from higher up as if it is the sky coming through windows. and then you'd get a more interesting cut on the background as well.

 

the thing about twilight is it is also dark. I think your close but I'd probably push it a little farther. the brightest parts of the frame maybe at stop or 1 stop under even. and have her face maybe 2 stops down.


Edited by Albion Hockney, 05 May 2015 - 03:27 PM.

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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 05:33 PM

Bradley, 

 

I think you're definitely in the right area. Twilight is difficult to replicate because it is a very subtle mix of color temperatures. It's a soft, directionless, slightly cold light that has lavender tones due to the influence of the recently set sun. I always feel that it is a desaturated look as well, so the colors are muted.


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#4 Bradley Stearn

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for the replies Albion and Stuart! Both great responses. From my personal observations, after being in a tungsten lit room, and then going outside during twilight, I see a very soft pale blue light.

I took a photograph of this light a few months ago, along with my hand for reference. I was trying to replicate this quality of light for the above shoot.

Maybe a more muted, almost gray coloured light would be a more realistic twilight look? 

 

10943774_758088797639712_9022927910564271881_o.jpg


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#5 Albion Hockney

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 09:27 PM

Yea for your reference I think the color is on point, but that reference feels like it has less exposure and the source is less directional/softer


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#6 Dominik Belancic

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 12:36 PM

This looks nice, but as Albion said, the reference does seem softer and darker so you could maybe try using a book light, it will soften it more and of course darken it since you are bouncing and diffusing light


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#7 Bradley Stearn

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 03:55 PM

Thanks Dominik. The reference photo isn't accurate, as I cheated white balance quite a lot to get the blue tone, but in a similar way that you can cheat the way we see twilight. When our eyes have balanced for tungsten light when inside a house, stepping outside during twilight will make it look very blue, after a while your eyes adjust to more of a white light. I suppose the best thing to do would be to use a colour meter to get an accurate reading during twilight, and then try to replicate this in a studio. With my studio shot, I suppose you could say it is set during the early stages of twilight.


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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 06:47 PM

 so you could maybe try using a book light, it will soften it more 

Booklights do not magically soften light more than any other method. A book light can be small  (4'x4') or  large  (20'x20'), and the softness of the light they produce varies. The key factor in how soft a light is is its size relative to the subject. Hence, a 4'x4' frame 3 feet from an actor's face may be just as soft as a 20x20' frame from 30' feet away. It also doesn't matter whether you bounce, double diffuse or use a direct source through the diffusion, the softness will remain the same, only the intensity will be affected.


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#9 Bradley Stearn

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 06:51 PM

For my setup I did use a book light. I bounced a 1.2kw and 575w HMI into two poly boards, which was then further diffused by two 6x6 trace frames. What other methods could I have used to create softer light? Would adding another layer of diffusion behind or in front of the trace frames, hanging from a c-stand arm work? Or starting with a softer source such as a tungsten open face light?

I chose HMIs for this project as 2 out of the 3 scenes where primarily blue, with twilight being one, and moonlight the other. 


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#10 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 07:00 PM

Bradley, what's important is the size of your diffusion, and how close it is to your actors. In the picture you posted, something like a 12'x12' frame of light grid would work well to provide a soft key, but in order for this to work, you have to make sure that the lamp is filling the frame evenly. This might mean that you have to place the lamp a long way back, or that you have to bounce it or double diffuse. It really doesn't matter which route you take as long as the source fills the frame.


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#11 Bradley Stearn

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 07:01 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 23.30.49.png

 

This was my setup for the original photo posted on this thread.


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#12 Bradley Stearn

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 05:57 PM

Today whilst on set I was observing light coming through into a kitchen, through a small frosted glass window on a door. The light was a beautiful green daylight shining into the room, that shone perfectly onto a nearby bar stool. The house was in a forest, with a lot of greenery throughout the garden, hence the green tinted light being bounced into the kitchen. It was a dark and rainy day today as well, so the light was already extremely diffused. It was a really nice light, and something I would love to re-create when I get the chance to/a script that would call for this kind of lighting.

 

I suppose I would try and set it up to be as natural as possible - diffused HMI, bounced off of polyboard (with green gel to represent the 'trees', and finally through a trace frame of opal diffusion (or similar). Im sure there are a million ways to re-create this light, any ideas? Also which 'green' lighting gel would you specifically use for this quality/colour of light? 


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