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Lighting questions for 5 minute scene in one take.


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#1 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 05:09 PM

Im shooting a short film in a couple months that involves a shot that is roughly 7 minutes long. The shot covers an entire scene. The scene is pretty complicated in terms of blocking as it involves two characters with dialog and then a murder at the end. 

 

It will be shot in a house, we start up stairs in a hall way, walk down the stairs into an art studio and then we move around with the actors in the art studio for the rest of the take. The art studio is supposed to be lit dark and has one slash of light peaking through the dark curtains.

 

We will see every angel of the room and I'm having trouble with how I will light the scene. I plan on pushing a 1.2k HMI through the crack in the curtain. There will also be daylight spill coming in from the door to the art room that is motivated by a window off screen. My biggest question is how I can bring up the ambient light level in the room so on camera there is still detail but it reads as a dark room with light creeping through the dark curtains.

 

My first thought was just place a 650 and bounce it on the floor or into the ceiling however I will see 360 so I wont be able to put a light on a stand. I pondered LED lite ribbon diffused on the ceiling. Maybe the spill from the door will give me what I need. 

 

Any suggestions. Thanks guys!


Edited by Kenny Keeler, 05 February 2016 - 05:18 PM.

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 05:54 PM

The trick to lighting these types of scenes is to carefully block the shot first, and then see where you can hide units. The typical approach is to have pools of light where it's absolutely necessary to see the actors or where it makes sense and let the rest fall off into darkness or have a overhead ambience if needed.

I've done this both on stage and in a real house. On stage, we had four connecting rooms. I had a handheld shot first tracking with a character from a bedroom set lit for day, into a moodily-lit living room with characters sitting around at a wake, into a dark kitchen with a window to the outside against the back wall with people around a table. Then the actress turned around and I led her as she ran back through the living room to the bedroom (now lit for night), broke down on the floor, and then went into her closet which led into a funeral parlor set as I followed here and circled the casket.

My approach was to first put up large skirted diffusion frames above the living room and bedroom as a base ambience. Then I put up white cards outside the windows and lit those with 1/2 CTB to blow them out. Put curtain sheers in front of the windows and fake plants outside to break up the white. Added 10k and 5k tungsten fresnels with 1/2 CTO outside windows for sunlight. Then started adding practicals into the bedroom and living room. To get the day/night lighting cue, we turned off the sunlight and turned on the practicals from the same lunch box while the camera was in the kitchen. Then I was able to hide a Kino in the corner of the kitchen near the door to light the actors at the table since I never turned around in there. Hid a few inkies on baby plates on the floor of the living room to glow the walls and furniture behind the couches, silhouetting the actors. Then for the funeral parlor, we had a single 2K up high on one of the flats as a heavy backlight onto the casket and lit the faces around it with the bounce.

So you can see that the approach was mostly one of adding ambience through soft overhead lights, adding big lights through windows, and then simply hiding lights on the floor wherever they made sense.

For the one in the house, I was not the DP but just the 1st AC. We had a 8.5 minute Steadicam shot starting outside the house following a girl as she approaches the front door, gets let in by her boyfriend, goes through a dark hallway to a living room where three other characters are sitting on the couch playing video games, walks past them into the kitchen and has a brief argument with another character across a small dinner table, then goes back into the living room and sits on a chair in the corner of the room, plays with her phone, argues with the boyfriend, then leaves. The boyfriend slumps on a couch and the other three roommates crowd in next to him and give him a hug.

So for the interiors on this one, I believe we mostly used Kino Flo 4x4s screwed into the ceiling, a few HMIs outside the windows and a china ball above the kitchen table. The rest of floor was taken care of with practicals. We also cut a hole in the ceiling for the Wevi wireless receiver and power supply and ran SDI cable along the wall to the kitchen for the director's monitor. So again, very similar approach - overhead soft lights for ambience, big lights through windows, practicals and small hidden lights where possible to accentuate and clean up.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 05:55 PM

You can sometimes hide the floor lamp pointing up into the ceiling for a bounce by putting some furniture in front of the lamp -- you can even try using a shorter stand or some other way of getting the lamp lower so it is easier to hide behind a chair or something.  You just can't smoke the room because you'll see the source of the light because of the beam created. 

 

Otherwise, the ambience either comes from a mounted soft ceiling light or from another cracked window, just not a hard slash but softened.

 

Or your one light coming through the crack is so bright that it creates fill by bouncing off of the floor or some light-toned furniture.


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#4 Chad Griepentrog

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 05:57 PM

you could always use a standing lamp and beef up the wattage of bulbs . or if it has a big enough shade, you could rig a head in there and shoot straight up into the ceiling.  power it with a pig nose adaptor (& ground lifter) through the lamp's socket. i guess the biggest thing is getting the light you want without casting your own shadow.


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#5 timHealy

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 10:08 PM

What is the shot size? ... That's a rhetorical question

 

Best

 

Tim


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#6 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 02:13 PM

Good advice! Thanks guys!  wow Satsuki Murashige that sounds like one heck of a shot would love to see it! 

 

The scene wont have any practicals on. In the film the actress is sneaking into our actors art studio where she finds that he has been stalking her. So most of the light in the scene will need to be motivated by the daylight spilling in from the window and from the door.

 

 

The image below is what I would like the overall ambience of the room to be, but the curtain would be closed more. I do have a scout and rehearsal coming up so I will find out that day if i will see the ceiling or if there is any small spot in the room i can put a light. Im hoping if I push a 1.2 through the window and maybe hide a 2x3 bead board on the floor and bounce some light in the room. and then off camera have a joker 800  pushing ambiance in from the door 

ambience.jpg


Edited by Kenny Keeler, 06 February 2016 - 02:15 PM.

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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 03:01 PM

Wish I could share, but I don't have a copy of the footage.

Question: Can the girl have a flashlight or use her cell phone as a flashlight? That could be an additional motivating light source.
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#8 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 03:35 PM

Ive pondered it but the director is not on board which i understand. Some of the actions she is doing in the room requires both hand and it would be a little clunky based on timing if she had to set the flash light down etc. Although the room is dark, there would theoretical be enough ambience for her to see without a flash light. I will keep you guys posted after my scout on what I can get away with lighting wise. Thanks again for everyones helps!


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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 08:39 PM

I guess you could go with the 'Panic Room' approach and just use a lot of soft toppy Kinos for ambience and crush down in post.
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#10 Kenny Keeler

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 01:51 PM

I guess you could go with the 'Panic Room' approach and just use a lot of soft toppy Kinos for ambience and crush down in post.

 

Ya I'm thinking pushing what I can through the curtain crack in the window with a 1.6 Joker we have. Then go with the good old kino tubes on the ceiling with light grid and put a skirt around them to give some fall off on the walls. I think I can adjust my framing for the wide shot so we don't see the ceiling or use my actors head to block it all. The wide angle portion of the long take is her looking into the room, camera is behind her and she is center frame after she enters the room we shouldn't have a problem after that keeping the kino's out of frame.

 

If that doesn't work I will hide a light behind something on the floor and blast it into the ceiling, or use that light from the window and bounce it. The scout/rehearsal got cancelled until a further date so I still have not been able to get in there and work it out with the director and actors to see what my options are but I think this is a good plan.

 

Thanks for all your help guys!


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