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Lighting this night exterior


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#1 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:10 PM

Hi guys, 

 

I have an important night exterior to shoot on a very low budget indie short film. I've scouted for a street with good overall lighting and for cars going by to have background detail and I think I've found an excellent street. But the thing is, I think I still need lights to get good exposure on the actors. 

 

To better explain the scene, here's a photo I took from the street. I'll have one actor sitting on the ground, in front of store with the owl and another actor sitting down in the other store. On the right there's a cute little restaurant as you see in the picture. 

 

a6f5be63064e8da929e457cfdda7012c.jpg

 

 

What is the cheapest way to get a good exposure on the actors, besides using a very fast lens and a light sensitive camera (camera will be the Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k)? LEDs are still too expensive to rent. I was thinking maybe 2x 1k tungsten fresnels to get good exposure on the actors skintones. And they would match with the yellow light from the lamps much easier than HMIs (I think the lamps are probably at 2800k). I would probably have to gel the tungstens...

 

What do you guys think? My experience with night exteriors is limited, so I'm hoping someone more experienced could chime in and share their knowledge. :)

 

Thanks!

 

 


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#2 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:00 PM

Btw, I will be shooting close to the actors. There will be just one or two wide shots (such as the one like the photo I took) but I don't think I'll add any extra light on those.
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#3 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:53 PM

Edit 2:

Camera will be between both actors. Actors will be sitting down, against the doors of each store and talking to each other. At one point, actor on the left will walk to the other, sit next to him and talk.
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#4 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 06:33 PM

What are your options for power? Will you have a generator? 


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#5 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 01:58 AM

Yes, I will be renting a generator. I think it's still cheaper to do that than renting two LEDs with batteries.


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#6 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 05:39 AM

Okay, well since you're really budget-poor I suspect rigging anything to the buildings is probably out of the equation. I'd probably look to start with something like a light firing down onto the curb/sidewalk (acting like the throw from some kind of overhead street light). The bounce off the concrete from that could play nicely on your two characters positioned in front of the shops.


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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 05:46 AM

If you employ Mark's advice (good advice!) be sure to wet down the sidewalk and road,it will help reflect some of the light back up and onto your talent.


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#8 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 06:17 AM

Thanks guys! 

 

Would you use any backlight on the actors? They will be sitting in the ground, with their back against the stores and looking at each other. I could have two lights on each actor, one bouncing down from the wet floor (great advice!) and another as backlight to silhouette them. What do you think?


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#9 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:17 AM

BTW, would it look better to have the actors lit with tungsten balanced lights or daylight (in this case, moonlight) balanced? The street is filled with street lamps, so it would be easy to motivate light from the street lamps. Not sure how I'll balance the tungstens with the street lamps... Maybe 1/4 CTO would do. 


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#10 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 11:56 AM

Here's a good example of the kind of lighting I wanted for the scene (look at Sam L Jackson):

 

resurrecting-the-champ.jpg

 

 

Of course, Samuel L Jackson is not sitting in the ground against a wall, but the overall concept of lighting in this still is what I'm after. I can see some frontlight on his face that falls off very fast on his cheek. 


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#11 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:58 PM

For that kind of colour, I'd suggest putting full CTS on your tungsten fixtures, and setting your camera's white balance to 4500k.


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#12 Miguel Angel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 01:58 PM

You could also have (if it is possible) the two stores open with some lights on and create a bit of contrast with the colour of the street (orange) and the colour of the interior of the stores. 

 

That way you have the actors silhouetted against the stores and also a lot of depth. 

 

Have a good day.


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#13 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:24 PM

Miguel Angel,

 

That would be a great idea! Unfortunately, we'll be filming in the night, after the closing hours of both stores. Anyway, the framing will be almost parallel to the stores, to create depth with the car lights, street lamps, people, etc. Tomorrow I will go on location and shoot some screen tests without any artificial lights and post here for you guys to see.

 

What about LED lights? I need something discreet as I don't have a permit to shoot (I don't really need one, as long as I'm not creating any hassle with traffic or with people walking by). How could I recreate that look of the still I shared, using only LEDs? How would you place the lights?

 

Thanks!


Edited by Tiago Pimentel, 22 August 2017 - 03:25 PM.

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#14 Miguel Angel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 04:38 PM

Tiago, 

 

The production and locations department could help with that by asking the stores to stay open when you shoot or ask them if they can leave the lights on? 

 

The problem I see is that if you need to be "discreet" and "unseen" a generator is going to make a lot of noise. 

 

I would keep things really really simple and first of all I would ask the production department if they could talk to the restaurant's owners to see if I could plug the lights in the restaurant without creating any hassle. 

 

If you have that sorted that's 75% of the battle won! 

 

-

 

You could take a look at what Matt said on his youtube channel regarding street night lighting on a budget.

 

How to light a NYC night exterior

 

Have a lovely day.


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#15 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 04:54 PM

Miguel Angel,

The restaurant will be opened at the time we'll be filming. So i'll have some backlight on the actor on the right. My idea is to rent two led lights with booms and diffuse them to the actors (or is it better to bounce at the wet floor?). Much cleaner then huge tungstens with generators. How would I get the look like the sam l jackson still I pasted? Not talking about the color, but the way the light just falls off so fast. Is it placed on his left side and doing a kind of Rembrandt illumination?

Edited by Tiago Pimentel, 22 August 2017 - 04:56 PM.

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#16 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 05:52 PM

Today I went to the location and did some screen tests with different lenses (without any artificial lighting). I measured the overall color temperature at 2500k.

 

Here are two of the stills I got with my camera:

 

7c66121b5d5ca3329abd0224c5956a08.jpg

 

ef59aa310a72cd862c351555f6aeaae9.jpg

 

 

 

Watching this, what do you guys think of the best way to light this? I'm now considering renting a Dedolight Dled7 kit. Not sure I need a lot of lights to do this, though...

 

Thanks!


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#17 Miguel Angel

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:18 PM

Looking good Tiago.

For those two shots I would have a light on a dimmer with a 1 meter x 1 meter frame (or even a 1K Rifalight with dimmer) to light the character upstage and then I would have 2 floppies right by the camera for negative fill.
Done.

I would even live without the light if it were the case but if you have one you can play with it and see what it does and also you can model the faces a bit more, which I think that is good as a learning experience.

You will see that by taking the light off the faces by using the negative fill you will start modelling the light though!

Are you still going to shoot a wide shot? Hopefully not too wide?

Have a lovely day!
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#18 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 04:16 AM

Hi Miguel,

 

I'm a little limited by the gear I can take with me, but the rental company that I usually work with, have this Dedolight DLED7 Kit (90w each bulb) that seems great. It's three Led lights with chimeras that can go down until 2700k. My first problem will be the overall light of the street which I measured at 2500k. So, to have the faces white balanced, everything else will look a little yellow. But that's probably ok and a relatively easy fix in post. 

 

Your idea for negative fill would be to place a black flag against the wall, between the actor and the camera, to stop the light from bouncing back to the cheek and neck, right? 

 

As for wide shot, there will be a very wide first shot of the street that I'm not that worried because I won't be adding any light. After the big wide shot, the widest I'll get is going to be this:

 

b2946a32eb2cd8dd5899e11bd4436f42.jpg

 

Thanks!


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#19 Miguel Angel

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 05:28 AM

Well, the background doesn't need to have the same colour as the faces but that's up to somebody's aesthetics.

I can't upload any images but the negative fill should make the short side of the whole face less bright, usually it is done by bringing a black solid, floppy, net, etc camera side but sometimes you have to play with it around the face to find the right spot.

As per the Dedolight LED Kit, I have never used that particular kit, if you can get a CELEB or SELECT you won't need to worry about the output, or the 1K with some diff frames if you can plug it into the restaurant.

Maybe Guy and the lads have some other suggestions?

Have a lovely day!
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#20 Tiago Pimentel

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 04:25 AM

Took some Rotolights with me last night to shoot this and was amazed by the quality of these leds.

 

This still needs to go through our colorist to be properly matched.

 

80aea78254d8b29678b710eca9b2008e.jpg

24c390047d08508e99f2fa1caaf07c14.jpg


Edited by Tiago Pimentel, 09 September 2017 - 04:25 AM.

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