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Microbudget High-Key Comedy/Family feature suggestions


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#1 Jay Young

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 02:52 PM

I've signed on to shoot a micro-budget feature. 

 

Director wants High-Key, Comedy elements, family friendly. 

 

Budget is the problem here; I can't rent a 5-ton truck for 25 days. 

 

There are 49 Day INT. scenes.  Figure shooting at 800asa, with a generous stop of T4, erring on the side of 2.8 split.  I have at least one HMI and possibly two in the 1200w range rent-able for this production.  Since I can't light with big tungsten, I'm thinking of going Kino 4x4's and hoping there is enough day ambiance to make T2.8, shaping with bounces.

 

I would rather not use the HMI inside, and I will not have access to a smaller Joker (such as the lovely 400).   That leaves supplemental 1K's and 650's to taste.  I also have Tweenies and Inkies available, love those.

 

My initial thought is to key light with 4x4 Kino's, and give separation with LED or small tungsten units.  I've only briefly spoken to my gaffer about this; we're meeting Monday.  Becuse we will be in a real house, I am hesitant to use wall spreader and top light, tho if I can get away with it, I will.  

 

Lastly, I should say that I feel the director really wants low contrast and not "high key" like a TV Sit-com.  My initial goal is to just keep everything within about 2 stops.  I am going to do some tests to see how the director feels about the look. 

 

 

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to achieve a high key feel with minimal equipment (LOL) would be appreciated.  

 

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to achieve a high key feel with minimal equipment (LOL) would be appreciated.  


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#2 AJ Young

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 04:22 PM

What camera system are you looking at? 800ISO is good, but if you're limited on lights and output, then maybe a system with a higher base ISO may help (IE: FS7 at 2000ISO).

 

You'll probably need a lot of fill light to keep a high-key ratio. I would recommend some ceiling bounce fill light coming directly from camera. It'll spread across as much of an area as possible.

 

Two HMI's are better than one, especially with day interiors. You're probably going to run out of sun on a lot of days, so you'll have to do night-for-day at some point. Two 1.2k HMI's can cover a lot of windows in most INT locations and make night-for-day at a small budget less painful.

 

I would also test a look that morphs the shadow detail to a high-key look. IE: Black shadows, but exposures normally 1-2 stops under are pushed up to be 0.25-0.5 stops under while the rest of the shadow detail rolls to black. Something like that.


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 05:57 PM

Tricky at best. I suspect that aping the high key, front lit look of the big budget productions may not be the best way to go. It's surprisingly difficult, despite looking fairly simple.
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#4 Jay Young

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 06:16 PM

Tricky at best. I suspect that aping the high key, front lit look of the big budget productions may not be the best way to go. It's surprisingly difficult, despite looking fairly simple.

 

Agreed.  I emailed the Director and said exactly that.  He has yet to mail back, but I suspect he will understand the lack of funds for equipment and crew.

 

I advised that we might be able to pull off a low contrast look, but that's about it.  


Edited by Jay Young, 01 February 2017 - 06:17 PM.

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#5 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 07:36 PM

Check out The Intern.  It's family friendly, funny and looks great.  

 


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#6 Jay Young

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:38 AM

The lining package that we currently have budget to rent consists of:

4x4 4x2 2x4 2x2 kino tungsten/daylight
2x Leko 575w 19 & 26 degree lens
3x 1k fresnel
1x 650w fresnel
3x 300w fresnel

Couple of off-brand LED units

This morning I've been doing a lot of soul-searching to try to justify using the kinos versus using an open face or fresnel tungsten unit with a softbox.

I am rather old school when it comes to the approach of selecting units and if it were me I just like the whole thing with 5Ks. But we don't have the budget to rent power for large units.

The decision on whether to shoot at a physical location or whether to shoot on a studio set has not been made. If the decision to shoot on a set goes forward, then I will no doubt light with all tungsten as the studio in question already has tungsten units rigged from the grid.

However I would like in put on dumping the Keno's in favor of renting more physical units and grip it to control. I very much like the look of a 48-inch softbox with a 60-degree grid. I have yet to see more than one or two setups with key knows that I really enjoyed.

Edited by Jay Young, 12 February 2017 - 10:41 AM.

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#7 Miguel Angel

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 11:23 AM

I would take a look at the magnificent Blanket-Lite as a fill light in interiors.

 

http://www.kinoflo.c...anket-Lite.html

 

It should be quite cheap as it is discontinued and everybody is shying away from it in favour of Celebs and such. 

 

It creates a big soft light that you can put as close to the actors as you can with minimal hassle or heat. 

 

Have a good day. 


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#8 JD Hartman

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 12:57 PM

I would take a look at the magnificent Blanket-Lite as a fill light in interiors.

 

http://www.kinoflo.c...anket-Lite.html

 

It should be quite cheap as it is discontinued and everybody is shying away from it in favour of Celebs and such. 

 

It creates a big soft light that you can put as close to the actors as you can with minimal hassle or heat. 

 

Have a good day. 

 

When is the last time you saw a Blanket-Lite or rented for one for a shoot?

 I know of two rental house in the NYC metro area that have one.  They each have exactly one and they were located after spending about a half day on the phone.  In the Lexington, Ky. area....even less likely.


Edited by JD Hartman, 12 February 2017 - 01:10 PM.

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#9 Miguel Angel

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 01:31 PM

When is the last time you saw a Blanket-Lite or rented for one for a shoot?
 I know of two rental house in the NYC metro area that have one.  They each have exactly one and they were located after spending about a half day on the phone.  In the Lexington, Ky. area....even less likely.


On January 16th, 2017, for a commercial for "The Laughing Cow" brand

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=Y4gbR_umszU
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 04:34 PM

If this is really micro-budget, then I suspect you will have to move very fast. With that in mind, I would consider going with what the locations give you for the ambience and augmenting with a few small units and practicals. Not sure more heads and grip is the way to go. Rely on the sensor's sensitivity and dynamic range and insist on locations that will work with the strategy.

Some units to try: Joker 400/Jem Ball pre-rigged on pipe or on boom arm, Kino Divas, Litemats, Dedos. You can even do walk-and-talks with the Litemats quite easily. Try to pre-light and pre-rig as much as you can. Then just walk in a key light or diffusion frame if necessary to clean up.
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#11 Jay Young

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 09:36 AM

If this is really micro-budget, then I suspect you will have to move very fast. With that in mind, I would consider going with what the locations give you for the ambience and augmenting with a few small units and practicals. Not sure more heads and grip is the way to go. Rely on the sensor's sensitivity and dynamic range and insist on locations that will work with the strategy.

Some units to try: Joker 400/Jem Ball pre-rigged on pipe or on boom arm, Kino Divas, Litemats, Dedos. You can even do walk-and-talks with the Litemats quite easily. Try to pre-light and pre-rig as much as you can. Then just walk in a key light or diffusion frame if necessary to clean up.

 

I have 16 days, and 98 pages. 80% of it is dialogue, interior day.  9 day EXT and 5 Night EXT scenes.  I think we have plenty of time, I'm just trying to be cost effective. 


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#12 AJ Young

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:40 PM

I think your 575W Leko's will be your work horse lights for fill levels. I'm not sure what your locations look like, but a Leko is excellent at shooting a bright square onto the ceiling that doesn't spill the hard light anywhere and still gives you that wonderful top soft light for fill.

 

I think your goal in this case should be to create a general fill level and key from there; I commonly associate comedy with higher key images.


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#13 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 07:20 PM

 

I have 16 days, and 98 pages. 80% of it is dialogue, interior day.  9 day EXT and 5 Night EXT scenes.  I think we have plenty of time, I'm just trying to be cost effective. 

I second Satsuki's advice. If you are in real houses and you are moving throughout the house, prelight ahead of yourself. While you're shooting a scene, have enough units that you can send two swing to the next room to light that up so when you arrive you are ready to rock. 

 

Think about two packages.  The one you are using and the one you are sending ahead of yourself.  

 

Of course, if you're building rooms on a stage, this may not apply if you've built the whole floor of the house and can light it all up at once.  


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