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Lighting Poker games - advice?


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#1 Thom

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 02:35 AM

Soon I'm going to begin photography on a short film about a kid addicted to gambling. There are several poker scenes, and I'm trying to devise a lighting plan, and I wanted to get some info/advice on how to go about doing this - learn from other's mistakes, imitate some of the better ideas, all that.

I'm trying to avoid anything too moody. It seems too easy to fall into that trap with poker scenes. The old single hard light straight down at the table, and an empty black room surrounding... I'd rather avoid this kind of look, the plan is to go soft and keep it subtle.

The poker games involve four players around a table. What's the best way around lighting a setup like this?

by the way, it's definitely worth nothing that we will likely not be shooting in-studio but in an actual house location. relatively small rooms.

Any help would be appreciated!
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#2 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 04:09 AM

What kind of camera moves are you going to use? Lighting will depend some on what, and how much of the room the camera will see. You can't very well place lights stands if your gonna get a 360 of the room.
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#3 Travis Cline

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 04:40 PM

I did something very similar last month, it wasn't a poker game, but four engineers around a table disussing. I knew we were going to dolly around the table a bit and eventually see all around the room. I just hung a china ball over the table. It lit the people around the table, but then it also spills onto the walls. It gives you a nice light on the people and then falls off a little, but not to black, and you don't have stands in the way which will help you move fairly quickly. I also placed a few practicals around the room to give depth to the room and light it up a little bit. Set up your china ball and if the background is too lit up just put a skirt on it and adjust it to your liking. Hope that helps at all.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 05:58 PM

Yes, I was going to suggest a Chinese Lantern too -- soft overhead light that favors all people around the table equally. If you don't skirt it, it spills outwards and doesn't become a high-contrast look. The larger the Chinese Lantern, the softer the lighting effect. Or build an overhead softbox...
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#5 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 08:31 PM

Make sure you have what is necessary to control the intensity of the background practicals-dimmers, streaks and tips, etc.
Recently I really had to work on this so that they were well balanced with the skirted overhead 2k Spacelights.
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#6 Thom

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 09:36 PM

Great advice guys, thanks.

And just some clarification - We will not be seeing 360 degrees in a single shot. It WAS the director's original intention, but she has since changed it because of the logistics of our location and limited film stock.

anyway - we may be shooting 180 degrees around one side of the table, and it gives us some room for lighting on the other side.

I really like the idea of using a skirted chinese lantern over the table - one of our locations has a very low ceiling (basement suite), so I'm worried about fitting it in. The other plan is to bounce lights or use maybe a silked 1K for the key and just not fill it in (it's not a comfortable scene and it's a very enclosed, small apartment). I'm just trying to get a setup that works without having to give each person their own light, and still keep a soft setup with fairly high contrast ratio.

Again, thanks guys. I hate to admit that I'm green, but it's true, I'm still finding my way around lighting for film. The advice is hugely appreciated.

Thom
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#7 oscar jimenez

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 02:22 PM

China lantern + 3 dedo lights or peppers for specific spots over actors faces
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#8 Bob Hayes

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 07:10 AM

Chimera Pancake light works well also.
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#9 Tim J Durham

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 08:31 AM

Soon I'm going to begin photography on a short film about a kid addicted to gambling. There are several poker scenes, and I'm trying to devise a lighting plan, and I wanted to get some info/advice on how to go about doing this - learn from other's mistakes, imitate some of the better ideas, all that.

I'm trying to avoid anything too moody. It seems too easy to fall into that trap with poker scenes. The old single hard light straight down at the table, and an empty black room surrounding... I'd rather avoid this kind of look, the plan is to go soft and keep it subtle.

The poker games involve four players around a table. What's the best way around lighting a setup like this?

by the way, it's definitely worth nothing that we will likely not be shooting in-studio but in an actual house location. relatively small rooms.

Any help would be appreciated!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


How many dogs will be playing? The standard 5 like the painting (I love that painting)? More? Less?
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Visual Products

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FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider