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Starting as a cinematographer - advice on lighting setup


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#1 Flora Correia

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:27 PM

Hello,

 

This is my first time posting, it would be really nice to get some advice on a lighting setup I'll be doing soon, since I don't have much experience yet. I'm graduating from film school this year and just starting out as a cinematographer, so sorry if the questions I have are really basic. 

 

I have to light a room for a short, and because of the look we want to achieve compared to what the location looks, the director wants to shoot against the window. I'm attaching a picture of what the wide shot is going to look like more or less:

 

https://drive.google...452?usp=sharing

 

The mood is kind of a dark comedy, so the characters can be a bit silhouetted but not completely. Also, the window must be blown out because what's outside doesn't really fit the story.

 

My plan is to cover the windows with some 216, blow it out with an HMI, and inside use bounces and another HMI coming from the right of the frame to balance out the exposure.

 

My doubts are the actual wattage it would require to blow out this window (light it evenly), which doesn't really get any direct sunlight, and also how much power the other HMI should be (the one that will be inside).

 

Sorry for any english mistakes. Thanks!

 

 

 

 


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#2 Miguel Angel

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 08:02 PM

Hello Flora and welcome to the forum.

The location looks pretty good and it is great that you are shooting against the window for your wide shot because that means that you can potentially go around 90° on your characters for the close ups, they will be side lit already and you will only need a frame with diffusion to make the light on their faces a bit softer if that’s needed.

Now, regarding your question, I’d say that a 4K / M40 far away will do the job if you place a frame in front of it.
There is another option that you might want to explore which is bouncing a 4K / M40 on a 4 x 4 meters frame high up and tilted so the bounce is filling the window completely.

You can see both approaches on this commercial I shot a month ago.

The idea was to have a REALLY bright commercial
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=24zKNUILEgI

The window on the right-hand side was lit with a 6K bounced off a 4 x 4 meters frame with ultrabounce.
The window at the back of the characters was lit with a direct 6K with a light grid cloth frame in front of it.

The interior was lit with a Skypanel (at probably 70%) through a 2 meters x 2 meters light grid cloth frame.

The windows had a diffusion already in place which was great as I didn’t need to put a silk across the window.

Shot on Alexa Mini and Summicrons at 800ASA and T2.8 1/2.

Thinking about it now, I should have built a black tent outside each window for the day scenes and I would have been able to light it with 2 x 2.5K or a 2 x M40 bounced off frames.

We shot a piece at night too
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=v_uB28hEug0

Lit with 4 x 2 blondes bounced off two 4 x 4 meter frames to achieve the “exterior night” and a Gemball inside.

Hope it helped!

Have a lovely day.
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#3 Flora Correia

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 09:30 PM

Hi Miguel,

 

Thanks for the quick reply! It helped a lot!

 

But unfortunately 4Ks are very expensive in Brazil and production will most likely not be able to afford them. You think it's possible to do the job with something smaller, maybe a 1.2K / M18 (if we use a tent to block out the sun) to blow out the window and another one as a side light? I know it's not ideal but budget is tight...

 

Once again, thank you.


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#4 Miguel Angel

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 04:27 AM

Hi Flora, 

 

A couple of M18s will be ok for the exterior yeah, I say a couple because that way you can have the light more evenly distributed.

Don't forget to ask for the scrims! and a couple of 1 x 1 meter frames with light grid cloth / grid cloth / 216 for the M18s as you might want to place those frames in front of the M18s to make the source a bit bigger (and softer :D)

 

You mentioned that the sun doesn't hit the store at all which is good so you won't need to use a black tent.

 

You might want to consider using a black solid on top of the window to block any ambient light if you think that you're going to spend there from the morning to the night. 

 

 

For the side light, I don't know if you plan on bouncing the M18 to make a book light or going direct through diffusion but If you're going to go direct through diffusion I would consider the space that you have at the location in order to fill the frame perfectly with the M18 which might be impossible to do due to the size of the location.

 

 

Have a lovely day!


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#5 Flora Correia

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 10:58 AM

Miguel,

 

Thank you for answering again. I've learned a lot and have things much more clear in my head now.

 

You have a lovely day too! :)


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#6 Miguel Angel

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 12:57 PM

No worries!

 

Glad I helped a bit.

 

When you go around for the close-ups (assuming that you will do close ups) remember that you can add a bit of contrast on the downstage side of the face by placing either a black solid or a single / double net close to the face.

 

Also, if you want to soften the light on their faces on the upstage side of the face you can do that by placing the biggest frame you have the closest you can :)

 

I'm used to use Opal or Hilite. 

 

If you want to "kill" a bit the "electricity" look of the HMIs you can do that by placing No Colour Straw on them, that commercial I showed to you has No Colour Straw on all the HMIs.

 

Have a lovely day!


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