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light globe practical lighting lamp location

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#1 Jacob Mitchell

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 09:18 PM

Hey all,

 

This has been a question I've had for a while. Are there a specific type of globe/light source that is commonly used to replace practical bulbs? I.e. If you're trying to reach a certain exposure, and want to use practicals, where could one find an assortment of different globes to reach a certain light level?

 

Thanks!


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 09:48 PM

Home Depot?

 

They have a wide range of tungsten globes in various different wattages. Failing that, there are many online retailers. Practical lamps in shot will almost always need to be dimmed, so inline, or socket dimmers are virtually essential.


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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:54 AM

I tend to carry a whole bunch of bulbs, 11w, 25w, 40w, 60, 85, 100, 150, 200 etc etc in both clear and frosted. Personally I don't dim them too much I like to just change out wattage of bulb.


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#4 Jean Gonzales

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 01:23 PM

100watt frosted bulb and a dimmer


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#5 James Compton

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 02:16 PM

 Jacob,

 

  I used to work at an electrical supply house that serviced many theatrical film projects as well as TV shows. Key grips, gaffers and the folks from the art department were in there daily.  The most popular bulbs that I sold to them were:

 

Standard E26 base regular 25, 40, 50, 60 and 100watt bulbs. Then there are the "specialty bulbs like the PH211/75W, PH212/150W ECA 250W (tungsten),BCA 250W(daylight).

 

Many people in the camera departments and art department wanted old fashion incandescent bulbs, buying hundreds at a time. They still do.

 

  Adrian and Stuart are right, it really depends on your needs. It's a process, test and find out what works best for your project.


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#6 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 02:06 PM

Just be careful because a lot of practical assemblies can't accept high wattage bulbs, they will melt shit.

I generally get incandescent globes from the lighting/grip house and bring them along. I'll get someone on the crew to install them everywhere there is a socket first and then look at the results and either back them down wattage wise, or sometimes just throw some diffusion inside the globe housings to make it work.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:32 PM

Something else not mentioned is the application of steaks and tips. It's not really something I like doing; personally; but it is done, on the bulb to bring it down "just a bit".

 

Another bulb to carry these days are various wattage MR16s, as those are increasingly common. in newer construction.

 

For the moments when you wind up with sealed LED bulbs, generally in recessed ceilings in newer and posh houses, given a location scout fist, a few ND.6 and ND.9 cuts (i don't like ND.3) and some 1/4 Minus green can be helpful taped into them as I've found sometimes dimming those fixtures, while not perceptible to the eye, can cause flicker.


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#8 Jacob Mitchell

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:56 PM

Thanks everyone. Very helpful information.

Just be careful because a lot of practical assemblies can't accept high wattage bulbs, they will melt poop.I generally get incandescent globes from the lighting/grip house and bring them along. I'll get someone on the crew to install them everywhere there is a socket first and then look at the results and either back them down wattage wise, or sometimes just throw some diffusion inside the globe housings to make it work.

How is one able to get inside the globe housing?

Something else not mentioned is the application of steaks and tips. It's not really something I like doing; personally; but it is done, on the bulb to bring it down "just a bit".


What are “steaks and tips”
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#9 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:42 PM

Thanks everyone. Very helpful information.

How is one able to get inside the globe housing?


What are “steaks and tips”

You can't get inside the globe housing. What is probably meant is that you can add diffusion or ND to the inside of the lampshade or, if there is no shade, the lamp glass.

 

Streaks and Tips is a hairstyling product normally used to create temporary color in hair. The darker shades are sometimes used to reduce output from a globe, usually the side facing camera. I'm not a fan of it, mostly because it doesn't work that well. Dimmers, a selection of different globes, and a few cuts of ND gel will have you covered.


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#10 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 08:21 PM

Any good gaffer will have a practical kit, and it's standard procedure to exchange any low energy or funky LED (although they are getting better) on a practical set for globes and an inline dimmer. I find that most practicals are overexposed in stuff I see. It's one of the things that drives me nuts in contemporary digital cinematography.


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#11 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 11:25 PM

 I find that most practicals are overexposed in stuff I see. It's one of the things that drives me nuts in contemporary digital cinematography.

I think sometimes people are obsessed with trying to light only with practicals, and they let them burn hotter than they should just so they can get an exposure on faces, when they should really be adding another lamp. I've been guilty of this myself when I'm pushed for time, thinking I can fix it in post, but you often can't.


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 01:24 AM

I don't mind it, I light with practicals when I can (it worked for Kubrick!)  The overexposure is only a problem if there is unnatural clipping in the shade, but with a camera like the Alexa, that rarely happens.  I prefer it when it feels like a practical is doing "some real work" to add light for the room.  But I don't go nuts and try to light an actor with a lampshade when they are standing ten feet away from it...


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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:20 AM

I had a discussion the other day with an actor while I was lighting a bedroom scene where a husband and wife go to bed, each with a table lamp on night stands on each side of the bed, then the wife turns her lamp off and then after a few more lines of dialogue, the husband turns his off and then they talk further in the dark room until the wife notices that the husband has fallen asleep.

 

These sorts of scenes are much harder to light than most people (including directors and producers) think.  

 

First of all, the whole room at some point has to go from being lit by the room lights to being dimly lit by streetlamps or the moon because the scene continues and you need to see what is going on after the lights go out.  So not only are there dimmer board cues for the practical lamps if they are tied to other lamps simulating their effect, but then there is (maybe) another cue to shift the room into a streetlight/moonlight look.

 

The other problem is more prosaic, if the light in coming equally from the practical lamps on each side of the bed, the people in it are lit from two directions, which is less attractive than being lit from one direction.

 

What I mentioned to the actor is that it would be a lot easier for me if the practical lamps actually did light the room because for one thing, then I wouldn't need to do a cue as each lamp gets turned off.  But the problem isn't that the lamps are bright enough to light the actors, it's that in real life a table lamp next to a bed is slightly behind the face of a person sitting up in bed (to light what they are reading instead of their faces).  The light doesn't create in a nice half to 3/4 frontal key, it actually sort of lights 1/3 of their face and the rest is filled by the ceiling bounce of the lamp spilling out the top of the shade.

 

So sometimes I will just augment this ceiling bounce with my own ceiling bounce, one for each lamp on each side of the bed, so when the practical goes out, the ceiling bounce goes out with it.  That's simple, fast, and looks fairly natural.  Trouble is that it is a little flat and you're top-lighting the actors' faces.  So in this scene, instead, I rigged a tweenie with a medium Chimera soft box hitting each actor from the side of the bed but more from a side to 3/4 frontal angle to wrap the effect of the lampshade around their face.  Looks more attractive but again, when both lamps are on, you are sort of creating a light "sandwich", hitting the actors from opposite sides. I did dim the Chimera lamps quite a bit to not overpower the effect of the practicals.

 

As for the moonlight effect, in this case I decided to have the moonlight already on, raking the bed, but quite dim, and when the practicals went out, I did an iris pull on the lens to bring "up" the moonlight slightly (nothing extreme, just a half-stop pull). Other times I've dimmed up the moonlight, like have done a 30% dimmer increase as the room lights snap off.  I generally have the practicals go out fast on the dimmer board but the moonlight fade up like over 2 seconds, it simulates your eyes getting used to the dimmer room. 


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#14 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:40 AM

I've found that since I started using Luminair to control practicals, rather than hand squeezers, I've become a lot more adventurous in using purely practical light in a scene. It's so easy to create simple lighting cues, and vary the intensity of off camera lamps.


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#15 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 01:04 PM

I've found that since I started using Luminair to control practicals, rather than hand squeezers, I've become a lot more adventurous in using purely practical light in a scene. It's so easy to create simple lighting cues, and vary the intensity of off camera lamps.

So then are you using mostly Kino Celebs and Skypanels?  What about L10's?  Have you tried using those outside in mixed weather?  How do they hold up?      


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 03 September 2017 - 01:05 PM.

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#16 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 01:17 PM

No, I'm using Luminair to control practical lamps, and any tungsten units that I'm using, as well as Quasar tubes. If I had DMX controlled lamps, I'd certainly use Luminair to control them too, but generally it's just tungsten.


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#17 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

Hey, we all do it - motivating the light from a practical and it can look great. I do it all the time. It's just that when you do it on film, it somehow worked to overexpose the source and it almost always looked good. Think about the scene in Children of Men where she gives birth and how it's only lit by that very bright lantern they're carrying around. I just don't see that done in a pleasing way on digital. To keep the tone on the faces and in the room as in that scene, you'd have clipped the highlight long time ago on digital. They keep saying it has 15 steps of latitude, but not at the top. When digital clips it clips - it's a cliff. With film it's a more gradual slope.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=XoWvE383hm4

 

Another example of that is night photography on digital. As sensitivity has gone up, it has become part of the visual language to use just available light or light very sparingly. The result of that is completely overexposed, even clipped sources in every shot - streetlights, car headlights, tail lights (red taillights are habitually overexposed on most film these days, to the point where they're white at their brightest part), neon signs etc.

 

In my opinion, night scenes look a lot worse today in general because there's the convenience and ability to just "ISO-up" instead of lighting to balance the sources in shot.


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#18 Eric Soto

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:49 AM

Hey, we all do it - motivating the light from a practical and it can look great. I do it all the time. It's just that when you do it on film, it somehow worked to overexpose the source and it almost always looked good. Think about the scene in Children of Men where she gives birth and how it's only lit by that very bright lantern they're carrying around. I just don't see that done in a pleasing way on digital. To keep the tone on the faces and in the room as in that scene, you'd have clipped the highlight long time ago on digital. They keep saying it has 15 steps of latitude, but not at the top. When digital clips it clips - it's a cliff. With film it's a more gradual slope.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=XoWvE383hm4

 

Another example of that is night photography on digital. As sensitivity has gone up, it has become part of the visual language to use just available light or light very sparingly. The result of that is completely overexposed, even clipped sources in every shot - streetlights, car headlights, tail lights (red taillights are habitually overexposed on most film these days, to the point where they're white at their brightest part), neon signs etc.

 

In my opinion, night scenes look a lot worse today in general because there's the convenience and ability to just "ISO-up" instead of lighting to balance the sources in shot.

Can you name any modern films that point this out ?


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#19 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:27 PM

I've been trying to find good examples from films, (Jason Bourne has a lot of that in the night car chase in Vegas, but not sure what's shot on what as that filmed mixed mediums). But here's a night test from our own Phil Holland - and this is not a criticism of his footage at all, he's clearly just demonstrating the low light capabilities of the Red as he should.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=1cLm1IEf2NI

 

But as you can see from this test, the tendency recently in movies is to expose the night scenes in this vein, although perhaps not fully this bright. Because you can. Meaning, "ISO-up", shoot on fast lenses to get exposure for the dark areas (to save you lighting it) and just let the highlights go, fall wherever they may. It's convenient to do so - saves a lot of time and money. But to me, this is very unpleasing to the eye. It looks raw, unsophisticated and cheap. Look at 00.35 the center of the stop light, is it red or white? White, or maybe very slightly pink. The green light the same - white. It's so overexposed there that the chip can't render the color of it at all. If anyone things you can bring that back in grading from a RAW file, well, you can't. That just wouldn't happen with film. Look at store windows at 00:41 - almost completely blown out. Look at every car headlight clipping, every light sign or neon - almost clipping.

 

If you can't light, I get it, then you can't. But don't overexpose it like mad to ty to compensate for that fact. Restrain yourself and allow things to go dark - we don't need to see everything. In the case of the guy bicycling in front of the store windows, then I would have exposed for the windows instead. Let him come in and out of the light from them - much mor cinematic than this clipped thing.

 

Look at this test. Somewhere between 400 and 800 ASA, F2.0 is where this scene should have been exposed, with a little added light on our character or background. From 800ASA and onwards, or when they open up to F1.4, it's way over the top and you start losing detail in signs, lights, car headlights etc. But you can bet on it that many DP's that came up through the 5D revolution will lean towards exposing it around 1600ASA. Look at 2:59 at 1600ASA and the Subway sign - you can't even tell if it's got any yellow in it. It all looks white. Car headlight and tail lights again - clipping.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=IDAgKs4Ilko

 

Sorry, rant over. But the low light capabilities of modern cameras has made us lazy and unable to expose correctly, it seems.


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#20 Eric Soto

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:51 PM

I've been trying to find good examples from films, (Jason Bourne has a lot of that in the night car chase in Vegas, but not sure what's shot on what as that filmed mixed mediums). But here's a night test from our own Phil Holland - and this is not a criticism of his footage at all, he's clearly just demonstrating the low light capabilities of the Red as he should.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=1cLm1IEf2NI

 

But as you can see from this test, the tendency recently in movies is to expose the night scenes in this vein, although perhaps not fully this bright. Because you can. Meaning, "ISO-up", shoot on fast lenses to get exposure for the dark areas (to save you lighting it) and just let the highlights go, fall wherever they may. It's convenient to do so - saves a lot of time and money. But to me, this is very unpleasing to the eye. It looks raw, unsophisticated and cheap. Look at 00.35 the center of the stop light, is it red or white? White, or maybe very slightly pink. The green light the same - white. It's so overexposed there that the chip can't render the color of it at all. If anyone things you can bring that back in grading from a RAW file, well, you can't. That just wouldn't happen with film. Look at store windows at 00:41 - almost completely blown out. Look at every car headlight clipping, every light sign or neon - almost clipping.

 

If you can't light, I get it, then you can't. But don't overexpose it like mad to ty to compensate for that fact. Restrain yourself and allow things to go dark - we don't need to see everything. In the case of the guy bicycling in front of the store windows, then I would have exposed for the windows instead. Let him come in and out of the light from them - much mor cinematic than this clipped thing.

 

Look at this test. Somewhere between 400 and 800 ASA, F2.0 is where this scene should have been exposed, with a little added light on our character or background. From 800ASA and onwards, or when they open up to F1.4, it's way over the top and you start losing detail in signs, lights, car headlights etc. But you can bet on it that many DP's that came up through the 5D revolution will lean towards exposing it around 1600ASA. Look at 2:59 at 1600ASA and the Subway sign - you can't even tell if it's got any yellow in it. It all looks white. Car headlight and tail lights again - clipping.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=IDAgKs4Ilko

 

Sorry, rant over. But the low light capabilities of modern cameras has made us lazy and unable to expose correctly, it seems.

Yes, I have noticed that too, mostly from my peers which are beginners when it comes to cinematography. I find because of this ease of just bumping up the ISO it doesn't encourage one to expose for the most important light in the frame, and they will allow a lot of clipping when it doesn't need to be so.


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