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Lighting a long handheld shot


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#1 jijhh

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 07:45 PM

I'm shooting black and white 16mm and am working with a tungsten Arri kit that includes 2 650w fresnels, 1 300w fresnel, and 1 1k open face with a chimera. The shoot is inside a large house, and I have a few shots that are long, handheld, shots that follow subjects down halls, through rooms, etc. I have two questions:

1. Are there any effective methods of lighting shots like this to still look natural but to keep the subjects exposed properly for most of the time.

2. How can I ensure continuity in the lighting of my shots, specifically for the purpose of making smooth cuts without disparities in exposure.

Andrew

PS I'm using a Sekonic L-398M Studio Deluxe II meter. What is the most effective way to meter my shots (incident, reflected, etc.)

Edited by phillyfilm, 23 July 2005 - 07:49 PM.

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#2 drew_town

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:16 PM

I have no idea what the house looks like or if you're shooting a day or night shot. But a good way to create a natural look is to place the lights where you want them and use a gobo shape break up the light. You can use wall spreaders if the ceilings are tall enough so you won't see the stand in the shot.
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#3 jijhh

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:48 PM

Its a day shot with some daylight coming through glass doors and windows from one side.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 11:25 PM

Well it would be natural for them to not always be lit as they move through the house. Otherwise, you could try following them around with a Chinese Lantern on a boom pole to add a little fill.
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#5 Kevin Jones

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 06:00 AM

I would like to start this topic back up, as I too have a scene where a long, handheld shot will be used. The only difference in my case is that it will be at night, using color film (Super 16).

Any suggestions beyond what is already posted?
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#6 David Regan

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 08:36 AM

Well it's pretty much as Mr. Mullen previously stated, that subjects don't have to always be lit. Think about lighting your environment. I.e. if you character walks down a long hallway, you don't necessarily have to kill yourself lighting the whole hallway. It might look nice to just light a room at the end of the hall and have your character walk in silhouette for much of the way. It really just depends on the look you want, if it's supposed to be really bright, like a house with all the lights turned on, look into lightweight fixtures that can be rigged out of shot. Roger Deakins makes extensive mention of his technique of wiring a bunch of bulbs onto strips or circles of wood, it's lightweight and easy to place.
And wall spreaders couldn't hurt either.

Good luck
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#7 Steve McBride

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 02:09 PM

I would imagine using David's suggestion of a China lantern on a boom pole along with using a lot of practicals would work well for this kind of shot. The hardest thing is making sure your practicals all have the same color temp. Seeing as it wouldn't be weird to see lamps and fixtures as well as TV's or anything that illuminates around a house, there would be a lot of sources for you to use as practicals.
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#8 Bob Hayes

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:10 AM

Light the set not the actors. Just walk backwards through the house as if you are a camera and hide lights in areas that make sense and create the mode you want. Think practicals or hiding lights behind furniture. Hopefully many of the lights will also light the actors as they walk in a natural way. Then walk your talent through the set and see if there are gaps where you really feel they need light as David M. says. Let them walk through darkness. That is more interesting. I am a big fan of floating lights over camera on a pole. My current favorite is the Rifi light by Lowell. It is the lightest Chimera style light made and it doesn?t spill like a China ball. The light can be used to add eye lights to the actors or key a dark area. It can also be a soft gentle key for the whole walk.
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#9 Serge Teulon

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 06:56 AM

From my own learnings and also watching other ppl's work, I find that one of the biggest mistakes that are made when lighting is over-intense lighting.
If you walk around your place with a light meter in front of you (pressed for reading) you'll notice that your stop is always varying.
Our job is to re-create reality (the reality does hang on the story but for arguments sake let's say a standard situation) so don't vary from that.

Don't overlight it, if you need fill then apply it but don't feel that every part of an actors walk has to be lit.
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#10 Scott Aronoff

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 01:05 AM

First off I'd state that I highly agree with the earlier posters; light your set for the effect you want and your actors should fit right into it. However, I see that you're working with a limited kit and have a recommendation on what you're looking for: Block out your long run with your actor, and decide on a few marks based on his pacing, or your or the director's desire. Tape out those marks, and light your subject on those marks to a consistent contrast ratio, by using your incident meter to determine the ratio between your fill light vs keylight+fill. From the tone of the shot I'd say you're looking for a 1:8 or even a 1:16 ratio. If you want to get some great info on contrast ratio lighting check out the book 'Practical Cinematography' by Paul Wheeler, if you can find it.
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