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Lighting night exterior

lighting night exterior parking lot low budget sodium light

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#1 Jenny Pagoni

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 08:54 AM

Hello all,

 

this is my first post here and I really need some advice on how to go about that! I have a project coming up which involves interior and exterior shots.

 

My main concern is lighting the outdoors night scenes. The scene involves two actors having a dialogue while they go about dumping a body in a car. This takes place at night.

Mood: Dark as possible - its is a murder after all, mysterious.

 

The only source of light is kind of a Sodium Light high up on the wall next to them which is pretty strong if they stand on its range. (and some other lights in the distant background which only offer some perspective)

 

LJP-20150806-10.jpg

LJP-20150806-9-2.jpg

eventually they will sit next to each other

 

(some other shots involve them standing almost under the sodium light talking - but these ones are the widest ones and obviously the biggest worry for me since I need to light from further away)

 

 

 

My initial thought is to keep it as simple as possible and try to utilise what I have as much as possible.

I can always try to match the sodium light for the interior shoots as it supposedly shinning through the window-> using half orange and +green or even a dedicated gel. 

 

But now I am left with trying to light up their faces and at the same time trying to make them look natural, I can budget some diva kinoflos and pretend that there are some other street lamps around of a different color temperature(or even match it), but I am worried it might not look as natural as i want and that it might sort of spill all over the place and destroy the mood.

 

 

The camera is an Arri Alexa with a kit of prime lenses. This is working in my favour so I cant complaint I just need to sort out my lighting kit list soon and these scenes do trouble me since its the first time I am lighting an outdoor night scene.

 

 

Much appreciated in advance any advice is welcome!

thanks!

 

 


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#2 John E Clark

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 11:56 AM

Hello all,

 

this is my first post here and I really need some advice on how to go about that! I have a project coming up which involves interior and exterior shots.

 

My main concern is lighting the outdoors night scenes. The scene involves two actors having a dialogue while they go about dumping a body in a car. This takes place at night.

Mood: Dark as possible - its is a murder after all, mysterious.

 

The only source of light is kind of a Sodium Light high up on the wall next to them which is pretty strong if they stand on its range. (and some other lights in the distant background which only offer some perspective)

 

attachicon.gifLJP-20150806-10.jpg

attachicon.gifLJP-20150806-9-2.jpg

eventually they will sit next to each other

 

(some other shots involve them standing almost under the sodium light talking - but these ones are the widest ones and obviously the biggest worry for me since I need to light from further away)

 

 

But now I am left with trying to light up their faces and at the same time trying to make them look natural, I can budget some diva kinoflos and pretend that there are some other street lamps around of a different color temperature(or even match it), but I am worried it might not look as natural as i want and that it might sort of spill all over the place and destroy the mood.

 

 

As I recall Roger Deakins indicated that he gelled tungsten lights to have a distinct yellow cast to match the existing industrial sodium lights for this and similar scenes in "In Time"(2011). The location was in the downtown Los Angeles area and is industrial in category.

 

I don't know what you may have available for tungsten in this location, but in order to get a better spectrum for the faces of the actors, while maintaining the yellow cast, I think you need to look to doing something similar.

 

Could use car head lights (not the high K blue type...) and bounce on a large, like 8x8/10x10 sized canvas to get the overall fill. If one does not have big lights available.

 

 

28INTIME_SPAN-articleLarge.jpg


Edited by John E Clark, 11 August 2015 - 11:57 AM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 12:02 PM

If you like the look of that single sodium lamp, then try to work with it and make any additional lights secondary in brightness.  For example, you could softly light the faces from the side as if that building light was wrapping around their faces dimly.  You could etch out the background with orange slashes and pools, you can even add some sodium fixtures from a hardware store somewhere in the background or on the dark corner of that building.


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#4 Jenny Pagoni

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 01:44 PM

Thank you all very much! 

 

Yes wrapping around is something that I can do and try and match that yellow/orange light. Do you think it will look strange if I mix the color temperatures  as if there is another temperature light from the front?

 

David I will definitely do something in the dark corner, there will be a pink spill imitating some sort of a neon sign thats supposed to be there. maybe if i manage i ll add some flood sodium lights as you suggested! it will make it much more interesting.

 

 

John yes bouncing came to mind, I just dont want it to go all over the place since I like the hard contrast and I am really hoping to keep the mood as dark as possible. 


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 05:51 PM

You can definitely add some light for the foreground that is a different color temperature - some people would add cyan light as if from an industrial Cool White / Mercury Vapor / Metal Halide lamp, if you wanted a more colorful image.  It doesn't hurt though to have an angle where you see the practical source of where the other color is coming from, though not absolutely necessary.


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 06:00 PM

I did this shot at night where I put a mercury vapor lamp on the corner of the trailer and put an overhead spot with Cyan 60 gel on it over the phone booth but another white tungsten spot on the large tank behind the trailer:

 

assassination16.jpg


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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 06:22 PM

You might consider using lighting units to bring up the distant background and rake the building while leaving the foreground dark if you like the dark mysterious look. Par cans could be enough to uplight a distant building or backlight some structure. Maybe just use some edge lighting in the tighter coverage or have the actor(s) step into a pool of light for a key moment. You could also play with the position of their parked car and have the red brake lights work as a motivated key source, a la 'Goodfellas.'

I would also try to get some tweenies or par cans on the roof of the building to extend what the sodium practical is doing further down the street and add some kinos inside to light up the windows. I like the cyan coming thru the 2nd floor windows, maybe try to replicate that with cool-white fluorescents on the 1st floor windows. Also, if you can wet down the pavement, that might be nice. Even just a little water in the background can extend your lighting units, essentially doubling the lights that you have working back there.

If you need to match tungsten to the existing sodium practical, there are existing gels for that. I'm sure one of our resident gaffers and lighting technicians can tell you which ones. If you are going to turn it off and recreate from the look from scratch, then Apricot gel works well.
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#8 Jenny Pagoni

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 02:55 PM

thank you all!! very much appreciated


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#9 Miguel Angel

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 05:57 PM

Interesting location. 

If you want to keep it really really simple yet dark as the images you posted you might want to add a practical with a different colour at the back of the wall, maybe a little bit further away from where the car is? 

 

A fluorescent unit would be something interesting to put there as it would create a different colour, and you can then gel the fluorescent unit as you like. 

 

A029_C029_0620B9.0000000F.jpg

 

This is by my house and as you can see there are different colour temperatures. €20 each lamp in a hardware store as David said. 

 

For the faces, a simple kinoflo with depron from the side would give you a lovely light or even a 2K with Depron (although I would put it on a dimmer as with those light levels a 2K might be a lot even with the depron)

 

For the background in the darkness.. buy some bulbs, put them on tripods, get them gelled with different colours and put them far away simulating street lights, they will be out of focus and they will add a bit of life to the background. 

 

Regarding lighting from the front, what you can do is using another light with a different colour to give them a rim light or even the light that you might use to light from the side could have a different colour temperature and that would give you a lot of separation, why not? :)

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-02-28%20at%200.55.4

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-02-28%20at%200.55.5

 

I don't remember the movie I got the frames from but as you can see the background has a different colour than the foreground, the frames are one after each other in the actual movie, and you can see where the light is coming from in the close up. 

 

Or even the following one: 

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-06-06%20at%2020.35.

 

Or even me! 

 

001_1.jpg

 

002_1.jpg

 

I got those frames at home with my Redone MX @1280 ASA and the lighting setup was one of the square lights that I was talking about, gelled with Blue Deep if I remember correctly.

The rest of the light comes from the practical behind me and the street lamp.

 

The one with the little flare is because I tried to put it a bit closer (and it gave me T2 at @1280) 

 

You can always add a polyboard or even better, a depron (because it is more reflective) as a fill or to give a bit of light into the eye.

 

Simple, tight and within a very limited budget! 

 

Have a good day! 


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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 06:17 PM

You should also take a look at the Lee Urban Filters, which mimic the sodium street lamps.  I used them on my last short and they recreate the look very well.


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#11 Albion Hockney

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 02:36 PM

Miguel what is "Depron"


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#12 Miguel Angel

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 02:45 PM

Hi Albion, 

 

It is a very thin styrofoam and you can buy it in sheets.

 

I'm pretty sure that you can buy it in the States and any lighting rental house will have it.  

 

http://www.depronfoa..._is_depron.html

 

Have a good day.


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#13 JD Hartman

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 06:18 AM

Hi Albion, 

 

It is a very thin styrofoam and you can buy it in sheets.

 

I'm pretty sure that you can buy it in the States and any lighting rental house will have it.  

 

http://www.depronfoa..._is_depron.html

 

Have a good day.

 

How does it differ (other than thickness) from the white/ silver styro beadboard we already use?


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#14 Miguel Angel

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 06:25 AM

Hi JD, if by styro beadboard you mean a polyboard used to direct a light to it and bounce it then it differs in the way that I usually put "depron" in front of the light as the thickness of the depron is perfect to let some light pass while super softening it. 

 

Have a good day! 


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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 01:05 PM

 

How does it differ (other than thickness) from the white/ silver styro beadboard we already use?

 

I think it's extruded polystyrene,  like blue Styrofoam or green Styrodur, so it won't shake apart like expanded beads.


Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 19 August 2015 - 01:09 PM.

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