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Fluorescents/Neons/UV on Camera?!

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#1 Jackie Read

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 03:21 PM

Hey everyone! Cinematography student here looking for some advice on an upcoming project.

 

I've got a short sci-fi piece coming up for which we are planning to build a set made of fluorescent or neon tubing.

This is what we are going for: 
static.dezeen.com/uploads/2014/12/Bentle... 

To make things more FUN ... we are also hoping to use "glow" contacts and UV paint on the actors (we are trying to find a way to make them look like they have been inhabited by light and are now almost emitting light).

So, I'm looking for any and all advice regarding these subjects! 

- Is it possible to film fluorescent tubing without flicker? If so, which bulbs would I need to get?

- If fluorescent tubing is an overall bad option, are there any other types of light I could use for this effect? I looked at neon tubes but they are insanely expensive.

- Would UV paint be a viable option for making the actors "luminescent" or are there other options?

Any and all advice on achieving these effects would be GREATLY appreciated!!


We will be filming with a Red Epic and I do have a decent amount of other film lighting available for fill but I need the tubing on  set to and the actors to really glow!

Thank you!!!


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 03:29 PM

You can certainly film floros w/o flicker, we do it all the time. It comes down to the ballasts, but most are just fine; and if you happen to see it, you can adjust your shutter speed.

 

I would be worried however, how much UV lighting you'd need to compete with all your non UV.


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:15 PM

It would probably be better to make that set of tubes all out of UV tubes because regular tubes are going to wash out any UV effect from additional UV fixtures unless you ND gel all the regular fluorescents way down.  It's going to be a very dim set, by the way, unless you want to rent more powerful Wildfire-type UV units for additional off-camera UV light level.

 

You can then add some weak non-UV light to bring up faces and whatnot that aren't painted.

 

I'm worried though that this whole scene will look exactly like what it is, lit with UV lamps and fluorescent paints.

 

Another approach might be the "Superman" Krypton look using 3M material on the wardrobe and white lights, not UV.


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#4 Jackie Read

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 12:34 PM

Thanks for the responses gents! I'm hoping to secure the fluorescent tubes and ballasts after meeting with Panalux next week, but I'm worried if we'll be able to afford the amount we need on our budget (we're only going to build one wall with the bedroom furniture though so hopefully it wont cost too much). I also bought a strip of LED Light Tape to experiment with and on my DSLR at 400 ISO it seems to be showing up nicely with no flicker ... but more tests are needed.

 

My biggest concern is definitely what you mentioned, David.  If we go with UV lighting for the set I'll need additional UV lighting off frame and it still might not be enough (and also might just look like a bad rave party...).  I'm hoping to test it out any way just because I'd like to bring the director a few options.

 

I'm looking into the 3M material (great suggestion!), which seems cost effective, but I"m not sure it will establish the look we want with the characters. We want them to look like they have been inhabited by light.  I'll give it a try though :)

 

I really appreciate your input and if you think of anything else please let me know! Thanks! 


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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 12:52 PM

I'd be a bit cautious about UV. You can end up needing absolutely enormous amounts of it to achieve anything, and as you say, the bad-rave effect is all too easy to end up with.

 

I once did a shoot where someone wore a rather Tron-style outfit which was white (which glows blue) with fluorescent orange markings, which we lit with (lots of) UV. It was then used as the basis for a postproduction effect, where the orange and blue were separable in post. It looked okayish before processing, but much better afterward. If you want your characters to be "inhabited by light" then I'd suggest that approach. The post tweaks are not that difficult these days.

 

I apologise for the poor quality; this is from a standard-def test run which is all I have of it.

 

tronesque.jpg

 

P


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