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#1 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 04:53 AM

Hello,

So we wrapped week 1 today (continuing from a partial week prior to the 4th of July).

The week was split between two locations ? inside and outside of both of them. Both locations were very difficult to work in. They were very small, cramped apartments.

The first apartment was a tiny white box (dubbed ?The Closet? by the AD). Luckily the production designer (Scott Clark, who is doing a great job) was able to dress the walls with old grungy cardboard (the character is a very odd artist). This helped darken things up.

The second location was a little better. It was larger, and we were able to paint the walls. The only problem was that it was a second story apartment, and most of the scenes for the last two days (out of 3) took place during the day (in the script). I could not really hit the windows with light from the outside (we could, but it was a huge pain), so I just worked around a system of lighting from the general direction of the window from the inside.

We shot in the small apartment (?The Closet?) for two days. Most of those days were a day interior scene (as well as a night interior, and some day exteriors).

My general approach for this location was to use as little equipment as possible on stands. I wanted to only light from above or from outside. To do this we placed a wall spreader across the span of the room that I could put various units on (usually a 2x4 Kino), and also put some light diffusion on the windows in the room and shot two HMI PARs into them (either 1200?s or 2500?s . . . don?t remember).

Here is a bad picture of the setup:
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Another problem with the location was the limited room for staging any equipment. We had to stage in a hallway, but due to the buildings management, they would only allow us a small chunk of space.

Essentially this was all we could stage:
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Pretty much some gel, stingers, and various other expendables. We kept some other gear outside, but anything else meant a trip to the truck, so it took a little while to get anything.

All and all I am really happy with the stuff we got for these scenes. The performances were good, and I feel like we got a good look out of a tuff location. The trick I think was creating a quality of light that had a very fast fall off, thus the light was darker by the time it hit the walls. There was not a lot of movement in these scenes, so a lot of falloff worked well.

Latter in the day we ran outside to grab a very tight close up of an actress when the sunlight was in a good position. Rather than spend the time to bring lights out, etc we just shot it in available light and augmented some with bounce:
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I used a frame of ¼ grid (I think) overhead, and just shaped it with the bounce. It looked pretty nice, and was fast.

Latter that day we went outside for more day EXT work. I wanted this scene to look like the sun had just gone behind a building (which it had), and was about to get dark. I did not want to see into their eyes, it was a fairly contrasty, ?ugly? look that really worked well for the scene. I honestly have never shot anything that looked quite like this. In fact my gaffer who works with me a lot was talking about how weird it was that he was doing a scene that looked like this with me. I don?t know what it was about the look of the scene; it was just different (and uncharacteristic for me). I may look at it down the road and think ?What the hell was I thinking?!?? but at this point I like it.

I originally wanted to use a book-light for the key in this scene, but due to space restrictions we couldn?t really fit one. So instead I used an Image 80 fairly close to the actors:
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And on the other side I bounced a 1200 PAR into some bounce board armed overhead to create a nice subtle reflection in the actor and actress?s dark hair, and act as a little fill
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(I don?t know why I never got a shot with both units in the frame, bad pictures on my part)

We then moved to the next location.

We started with a scene in a shower (neck up, and reflections in the mirror). Real simple, easy way to start off. I used a 2x4 Kino on wall spreaders.
Posted Image

Next we did a nice, classical looking shot of a girl getting ready in a vanity mirror. I wanted to motivate light from somewhere, so I suggested a vanity light. We really had nothing on hand that would work for this so we used a 9? mini-flo and art department did a great job of dressing the unit. I then used a 650 with a really long blackwrap snoot and 4 layers of 250 for a super soft, controlled light on the actress. I then created some nice edge light with a 150 Dedo.
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The final scene of day one (in that location) was a fairly huge setup that had us lighting almost the entire apartment for night.

The scene was of several characters eating dinner, but the camera needed to see about 270 degrees.

For the table, I used two heavily skirted chinaballs overhead, as well as a Dedo in the middle of the table to create a hot spot for some energy in the frame. I then used a Kino for some minor fill:
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#2 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 04:55 AM

And because of the 10 picture limit I continue in a reply:

For the kitchen, which is in the background I used two 9? mini-flos with ¼ plus green under the cabinets to create some ambiance:
Posted Image

The next day I had a day for night INT of some characters seated on a couch watching TV.
I used a 1k openface through a Chimera as a soft key motivated by an onscreen practical. I also used a 2x4 Kino overhead to create some reflections in the black leather couch. For the TV flicker I used two globes in one chinaball with ¼ blue flickered and dimmed randomly:
Posted Image

Later we did a day for day INT where I just used a 1200 through a 4x4 frame of ¼ grid on the window side, and a 8x8 solid on the other side of the room for negative fill. It looked nice, and was simple
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We resumed a similar setup the next day, but I got bored with the 4x4 frame and went with a Chimera instead. It was a smaller source with more falloff, so it was a lot more contrasty (which I wanted for the scene).

We finished up the week with a 7 page dialog scene taking place in a bedroom. The scene takes place during the day, but I knew we would be shooting into the night. The problem was that I had no way to get lights from outside the windows. Thus, we scheduled our shots in a way that we would shoot out the windows before the sun went down.

I put 1000H on the windows, and bounced a 1200 PAR off the ceiling from the same area the window light was coming from, creating a permanent soft ambient ?window light?. We pretty much committed to never seeing that one corner of the room, thus I had a permanent soft side, edge light. For fill I just moved a Kino around all day. It worked well, and was really fast so it gave the director maximum time shot to shot with his actors.
Posted Image

All and all it was a very good first week. I mostly spoke about the technical aspects in this post; maybe tomorrow I will talk more about the interpersonal aspects of the project. But for now I am tired!

Kevin Zanit
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#3 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:36 PM

Hi Kevin: Just wanted to say thanks for all your efforts in publishing your lighting set-up info and photos here. I'll be printing it out and saving it for future reference. Best of luck for the remainder of your shoot!

- Peter DeCrescenzo
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#4 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:54 PM

Thanks!

I will try to keep them coming. This week (Monday) is all night for day INT work, thus we are doing a week of night shoots. Should be interesting.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:43 PM

It would be nice to get a shot off that matched the final frame, as well as the wider shot that showed the lighting.
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#6 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 11:57 PM

Yeah you?re right . . .

I always forget to grab one because I get so busy once the actors are in position, and I start thinking about 1000 other things.

I will try to get more shots that reflect that actual frame, and can give a better idea what the lighting is actually doing (although the last frame somewhat reflects that).


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#7 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 06:46 PM

As a new cinematographer I must thank you for your time and effort in putting up this post, it gives a great insight into lighting set-ups, something we rarely stumble across even in the ASC.

Edited by djdumpy, 13 July 2005 - 06:47 PM.

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#8 allnetfilms

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 08:17 PM

Thanks Kevin. What you're doing is aweseome! It is extremely insightful to hear about your efforts in the trenchs.
;)
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#9 Sean Azze

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 09:59 PM

Thanks for all the photos and insight. This forum has proved to be one the best teaching tools - and much cheaper than college textbooks.
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