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Bright Flashlights (don't want flicker)

flashlight lighting flicker

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#1 Suzanne Friesen

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 12:51 AM

Hi!

 

I'm shooting a film in a couple weeks, and one of our night scenes calls for our actors to be holding flashlights (which will be lighting key areas of the scene/action). These flashlights may be the only light source(s) in the scene.

 

I would like these flashlights to be as bright as possible, and spread their light very wide (not be super focused). We are shooting at 23.976 fps, ISO 800, at 5K with a RED Epic.

 

Do you have any recommended flashlights for these conditions? I am interested in LED flashlights but am concerned about flicker.

 

Thank you for your help,

Suzanne


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#2 Chris Steel

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:14 PM

Generally speaking most LED lights wont flicker at full brightness as they will be running off of a constant DV voltage but will flicker when using their built in dimming feature(PWM). LEDs that don't dim shouldn't give you issues.

If you get a bunch of good quality lights for cheap and they dim, by all means use them but make sure on every take that they are on full brightness.

 

A good way to check is to point all the torches at the camera one by one before rolling. If one's flickering the operator should see immediately.


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:33 PM

One of the problems with LED flashlights is that they can be overpoweringly bright and often far too narrowly focussed to produce the sort of effects that people want. That's especially a problem if you want one actor to light another; expose for the flashlight and, if they're toe to toe, you get a two-inch circle of picture in an otherwise black frame. Expose for the rest of the frame and the flashlight is hopelessly overexposed.

 

They're often very bluish in colour but that can be OK as part of the effect. Either way, I'd make sure to carry some ND and diffusion filter, and carry duplicates of them as if you stuff them full of ND and diff they can get very hot.

 

P


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#4 Matias Nicolas

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:54 PM

Hi!

 

I'm shooting a film in a couple weeks, and one of our night scenes calls for our actors to be holding flashlights (which will be lighting key areas of the scene/action). These flashlights may be the only light source(s) in the scene.

 

I would like these flashlights to be as bright as possible, and spread their light very wide (not be super focused). We are shooting at 23.976 fps, ISO 800, at 5K with a RED Epic.

 

Do you have any recommended flashlights for these conditions? I am interested in LED flashlights but am concerned about flicker.

 

Thank you for your help,

Suzanne

HI, i'm shooting a horror sci fi movie in 2 two months, and I'm having the same issue. FLashlites with dimmer (not a real dimmer, but you push the back botton, and youll have 3 positions of less light, strobo, and S.O.S signal ... those flashlights allways flicker when dimming... 

You can try it without dimming, or choose one without dimmer. THe maglite allways are very powerfull... and as Phill sais, its better to have 3 flashlights, one for long distances, and anotherones for short distance, with some ND filter inside.. And watch out batteries ... yo'll need a lot !


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#5 Chris Steel

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:04 PM

My cheap backup torch which doesn't dim and has an unscrewable front (to easily put in CTO) has been used to replace the art depts torches more times than I care to count. Simple, cheap torches that don't have a complicated PCB with PWM dimming are the way to go.

 

On a horror feature the DP had a LOT of torches but very few spares as there were so many characters. Switching out gels wasn't really doable on the time scale so bounce boards and spark operated torches were used often to fill in where necessary.

 

We rather liked having different colour temps for the different groups/characters as sometimes that was the only way you could see which character was where. Something to think about before getting the colour meter out and perfectly matching 20 brands of torches together :P


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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:13 PM

Hi Chris

 

Did I see you at the camera branch AGM the other night?

 

Would certainly reiterate everything Chris says about not having time to switch out gels. They're not exactly expensive devices; buy three times as many as you need!

 

P


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#7 Matias Nicolas

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 03:51 PM

My cheap backup torch which doesn't dim and has an unscrewable front (to easily put in CTO) has been used to replace the art depts torches more times than I care to count. Simple, cheap torches that don't have a complicated PCB with PWM dimming are the way to go.

 

On a horror feature the DP had a LOT of torches but very few spares as there were so many characters. Switching out gels wasn't really doable on the time scale so bounce boards and spark operated torches were used often to fill in where necessary.

 

We rather liked having different colour temps for the different groups/characters as sometimes that was the only way you could see which character was where. Something to think about before getting the colour meter out and perfectly matching 20 brands of torches together :P

 

Can you explain a little more :  ''  so bounce boards and spark operated torches were used often to fill in where necessary" 

 

Cause im going to shoot a horror movie with lots of scenes with torches in a cave, and we wan't to feel real inside it. 


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#8 Chris Steel

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:12 PM

 

Can you explain a little more :  ''  so bounce boards and spark operated torches were used often to fill in where necessary" 

 

Cause im going to shoot a horror movie with lots of scenes with torches in a cave, and we wan't to feel real inside it. 

 

I should preface, I'm a 1st AC and not a DP so this is all from what I've seen on set and I'm leaving things out which I would consider the working DP's IP or personal technique.

 

4'x4' Poly or bounce board hidden out of shot so when the torches land there you get more fill on that side. Far side seemed to work well. Maybe use unbleached muslin or other material to give a more natural feeling bounce.

 

In close ups where one or more character is completely out of shot, have a spark operate the torch or instruct the actor to have the torch somewhere that gives more fill.

 

Have actors point torches at each other when talking, to the chest worked well if standing close together as it wasn't too harsh.

 

Finding some way of adding "realistic" practicals or external light could help you out. Inexplicable shafts of moonlight for example.


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#9 Miguel Angel

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:54 PM

 

Can you explain a little more :  ''  so bounce boards and spark operated torches were used often to fill in where necessary" 

 

Cause im going to shoot a horror movie with lots of scenes with torches in a cave, and we wan't to feel real inside it. 

 

Checco Varese shot a movie called "Los 33" which has loads of interiors in a mine. 

 

The interiors were ALL shot with the lamps that the miners had on the hats and they used some out of frame and bounced on a polyboard (either white / unbleached or silver) or 12 x 12 frame for filling if needed. 

 

You might want to take a look at it if you haven't done so already!

 

Andrew Lesnie did something similar on "I am Legend" in the interior of the warehouse when Will Smith is looking for his dog. 

 

"Neville enters the building in search of his dog, and the only source of light is the Surefire 6P LED lithium-powered flashlight mounted on his gun. “Francis’ philosophy for this sequence was, ‘The more we leave to the audience’s imagination, the scarier it will be,’” recalls Lesnie. “We shot the scene wide open, using [Kodak Vision2 500T] 5218 rated at 1,000 ASA, with a handheld PanArri 235. To complicate things, Will was using a military technique of cupping the light from the flashlight with his hand, releasing it only in short bursts. I asked him to keep his hand an inch away from the front of the flashlight so he’d be lighting his face with the bounce off his palm. When he took his hand away, I had a beadboard positioned right in front of the carbine to bounce light back onto him."

 

From:

 

https://theasc.com/a...gend/page1.html

 

Have a good day.


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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 07:10 PM

I wrote a piece about a film called Eloise, shot by Antonio Riestra, ASC, and incidentally directed by the great Robert Legato, ASC. Lots of LED flashlights in that; it's in the March 2017 issue of American Cinematographer.

 

P


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