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to tungsten or not to tungsten


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#1 Lucita Jones

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 03:44 PM

Hello

This is the scenario I am faced with:

No possibility of renting HMI's
Totally aware that correcting tungsten to daylight means a great loss of light
Will shoot in an interior with a large window


SO------
As I see it, I have two options for shooting this interior daylight scene:

1. Gel the window to bring the outside color temperature down to 3200 and use tungsten lights and tungsten film inside the room, or

2. Shoot with daylight film and use mirrors and reflectors to fill inside

If I want to CREATE an effect with the light that enters the window, i.e, the shadow of a curtain on the wall, I would have to use a powerful light from the outside. Again, since I dont have HMIS, it would have to be either a 2K or 5K, or a else use a mirror to direct the sunlight. The second option is risky because the sun will change position throughout the shooting, and the first option requires a very big light (how much I don`t know, but it still requires turning tungsten to daylight). For both options, I will depend on the light level from the exterior and my continuity could well be at risk...Should I just try to avoid the window and curtain it? What should I do?


Thanks, I am williing to hear your advice
Lucita Jones B)
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#2 Kris Carrillo

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Posted 10 August 2005 - 06:42 PM

How big is the window? Gelling it sounds like a good option if it's not too large.

Also, don't forget about Kino's. They're a little more to rent than tungsten units, but a whole lot cheaper than HMI's. You can use 3200 or 5600 tubes in them--I think these would be great for fill in your situation.

Good luck,

Kris
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#3 Chris Cooke

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:24 AM

Every DP has come across this situation and most of us with resources similar too or less than yours. Both options that you listed are viable with your resources and can look quite good when fully understood.
Another option that you have if you don't need to see anything outside of the window is to box it in. With this setup, you will need the right kind of window coverings (preferably white sheers) that catch the light and let it pass through but don't let you see through. Then put up a 2K or 5K tungsten source outside the window with maybe a tree in front for a little breakup. With this setup you have full control over your set instead of the ever changing angle, intensity and color tempurature of the sun.
tip: bring the sheers close to overexposure but not quite.
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 01:50 PM

To be honest with you - gels aren't that cheap. So gelling lots of big windows with the manpower it takes will probably end up costing as much as a HMI in the first place. Not to mention that you have to use huge genny's with big tungsten units, when you could have gotten away with a smaller one for HMI's.

But if power's not a problem try renting some Wendy lights or Dino lights - they pack a lot of punch and deliver a nice big and broad source.
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#5 Bob Hayes

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 01:50 PM

In A Man With a Camera by Nestor Almendros he speaks a great deal of shooting feature films with available light. He loves it and this was back in the days of 100 ASA. It always made me a little nervous because of changing exterior lighting.
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#6 Robert Morein

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 06:12 PM

I was involved in a project that had this problem. This is how it was solved:

1. It is not true that tungsten lights are much less efficient than HMIs. The design of the reflector/collimator is much more important. By using PARs, you can come very close to the output of HMI's. Full blue gel loses quite a bit, 1&2/3 stops, but these lights are so bright, there is still usable light output. Half blue costs less light. Put it this way: if you gel a PAR full blue, you will still have about as much light per watt as an ungelled Fresnel, which is the most wasteful light, per watt.

2. We used a parchment paper, behind curtains, as an approximate 1/2 CTO. Covered by curtains, the paper could not be detected. Of course, we sacrificed a view out the window, but with much less labor.

3. We had a nearby balcony from which we aimed PARs at the windows. PAR bulbs come in three spot sizes; the longest one really throws a distance.

3. Theatrical PARs are really cheap. We rented for $12/week.

We shot with 500T. The windows were rendered slightly cool. Since the room was balanced for tungsten, we had full run of our ample tungsten lighting package.
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#7 Chris Cooke

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 06:36 PM

I was involved in a project that had this problem. This is how it was solved:

1. It is not true that tungsten lights are much less efficient than HMIs. The design of the reflector/collimator is much more important. By using PARs, you can come very close to the output of HMI's. Full blue gel loses quite a bit, 1&2/3 stops, but these lights are so bright, there is still usable light output. Half blue costs less light. Put it this way: if you gel a PAR full blue, you will still have about as much light per watt as an ungelled Fresnel, which is the most wasteful light, per watt.

2. We used a parchment paper, behind curtains, as an approximate 1/2 CTO. Covered by curtains, the paper could not be detected. Of course, we sacrificed a view out the window, but with much less labor.

3. We had a nearby balcony from which we aimed PARs at the windows. PAR bulbs come in three spot sizes; the longest one really throws a distance.

3. Theatrical PARs are really cheap. We rented for $12/week.

We shot with 500T. The windows were rendered slightly cool. Since the room was balanced for tungsten, we had full run of our ample tungsten lighting package.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Point #1 is very false. HMI's can give up to 4 times the light per watt as compared to a tungsten light of the same style. Yes, PARS output more light than Fresnels but not 10 times more like Robert was saying (full blue only transmits about 10% of the light).
Also, Robert shot with mixed color tempurature which usually looks very amature.
I agree with Adam about HMI's but you don't have access to them apparently. Also, Bob makes a good point about shooting with natural light which is what you (Lucita) were thinking of doing allready. Without HMI's, boxing the window in might still be your best choice for full control.
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#8 Greg Gross

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 12:20 AM

Hello bob1dp,
When I first started in real serious photography(Ansel Adams follower,70's) I
would forget about the changing outdoor light. Clouds would also build up and
change my spotmeter values. As I struggled on I started to realize that I had
"windows" of light(perods of light quality,quanity in the a.m. and p.m.) When I
took that into consideration it started to naturally become a habit and I was ab-
le to make myself aware of changing light during a shoot. Of course these win-
dows of light are different and vary with the season of the year. As I would pr-
actice applying these windows to a shoot that I wanted to do, I could almost vis-
ualize in my mind the month,day and time of day for the subject. I would remem-
ber certain locations and how they looked at different times of the day and season.
In those days my darkroom enlagrer was tested for maximum black(zone system).
Each camera body and each lens was tested for maximum black per the zone sys-
tem. Changing anyone of those variables would make the zone system in-valid.
I actually set up my own grey scale for my specific photographic equipment. I also
did the same with printing papers. I don't want to bore you with all that. On a light-
er note we used to run contests. We would break down a 4X5 camera put it in its
case and then put the case in the trunk of a car. So the guy had to use a key to
unlock the trunk get the camera case out,get the camera out of the case and set
it up completely on the tripod with a lens on it.

Greg Gross
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#9 Greg Gross

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 01:52 AM

In the 1993 film "FEARLESS" cinematographer Allen Daviau was distressed
about shooting a scene in a small bedroom. He could not get the lighting in
to the small room he had to shoot in. Peter Weir did not want him to put a
lot of lights in the room. You can read the account in the book "Reflections".
Well Mr. Daviau talks about how distressed he was over the situation. He had
some good ideas about how to light the room but could not use them. One day
he went back to the location(pre-production). At the time of day he was there
he noticed that a certain quality,quanity of light would shine through the bed-
room window for only a period of time. The bedroom window faced the wall of
the building next to it(in otherwords there was a small alley between the two
buildings). Mr. Daviau had his method for lighting the scene. The crew hauled an
18K HMI up between the two buildings in the alley and suspended it on a block
and tackle. In this account Mr. Daviau says that the 18K just happened to shine
through the bedroom window at the right angle without any other adjustment!
"Reflections" is an excellent book and learning tool and it has helped me to dev-
elop my own solutions to lighting/shooting.

Greg Gross
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#10 anamexis

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 03:36 PM

Point #1 is very false. HMI's can give up to 4 times the light per watt as compared to a tungsten light of the same style. Yes, PARS output more light than Fresnels but not 10 times more like Robert was saying (full blue only transmits about 10% of the light).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


For the record, Rosco full CTB (3202) has 36% transmission, or in other words, loses 1.5 stops. I assume Lee is similar.

Edited by anamexis, 13 August 2005 - 03:39 PM.

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#11 Chris Cooke

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 01:37 PM

For the record, Rosco full CTB (3202) has 36% transmission, or in other words, loses 1.5 stops. I assume Lee is similar.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You're right, I stand corrected.
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 03:36 PM

Hello

This is the scenario I am faced with:

No possibility of renting HMI's
Totally aware that correcting tungsten to daylight means a great loss of light
Will shoot in an interior with a large window

What should I do?
Thanks, I am williing to hear your advice
Lucita Jones B)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Shoot at night and use tungsten light. Create all your "daylight" coming through the windows with large units outside. If you need to see outside the windows in any shots try to obscure the view with curtains or blinds in front of the window, and objects such as trees shrubs near the windows outside. For any sky or sunlit exterior in the deep background, light up a white grif or even foam core so that it's overexposed. The brightness really sells the idea of a realistic sunlit exterior.
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#13 Lucita Jones

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 03:58 PM

Great and interesting advice from all of you. In the end I rented two tungsten 2K fresnels which I convcerted to daylight (Full ctb) for one scene and, for another scene I used at 3200K, after building a box outisde the window. It was Ok, but I stil missed having MORE light coming from less weighty lamps. Next time I will consider the Kinoflos and I will definitely re-read Almendro's book for inspiration. Thanks everyone.
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#14 Chris Cooke

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 06:15 PM

Great and interesting advice from all of you. In the end I rented two tungsten 2K fresnels which  I convcerted to daylight (Full ctb) for one scene and, for another scene I used at 3200K, after building a box outisde the window. It was Ok, but I stil missed having MORE light coming from less weighty lamps. Next time I will consider the Kinoflos and I will definitely re-read Almendro's book for inspiration. Thanks everyone.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If you have any stills, post 'em. Next time you could also remove the lens from the Fresnels to get more light. This makes the light behave much differently but if you're going through diffusion or window sheers you'll probably get away with the more specular and less controled light.
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#15 Oli Soravia

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 03:42 PM

..Should I just try to avoid the window and curtain it? What should I do?

I wouldn`t curtain the window - you`d go loosing a nice framing. You could use the following cheap alternative, without lamps: first, deciding which kind of wheather predominates, sunny or overcast, taking daylight stock and HS lenses. Using the window in the frame as it is (camera towered window), some overexposed outside (+1-1,5), and the inside goes down wherever it may go (I`m aware that some DP`s now will say, I`m probably mad), filling the inside with bounce cards until it looks naturally (or don`t, it`s always kind of silhouette). You`ll end up using ND´s on the lense while shooting against the window and replacing them while shooting other angles without the window in frame, but keeping always the same t-stop. Try to get some clear props in the frame to enhance some specific points. Mantain consistency by always measuring the "big key" outside. For covering other angles with no window in the frame, correct the bounce cards to augment fill on faces. Regarding the curtain shadow on the wall, it only works with sunlight or a big source (6K par for example, HMI) not tungsten (if possible). Or, you`re going to use a tungsten source (10K fresnel) uncorrected as sunlight. When you decide for using lamps outside, you`ll need to place 12x12 or 20x20 frames to cover the real sun. I would only light from the outside. Good luck anyway.
OLI
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#16 Lucita Jones

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 07:10 PM

If you have any stills, post 'em. Next time you could also remove the lens from the Fresnels to get more light. This makes the light behave much differently but if you're going through diffusion or window sheers you'll probably get away with the more specular and less controled light.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Great tip about removing the lenses....When I get some pics I will post them. Thanks to all.
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#17 Paul Bruening

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:49 PM

Hey all,

You can still get dichroic PARs for 1K theater cans. It is real close to daylight and needs only slight gelling. They burn up faster, though. They cost about $150.00 each.
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#18 BillP

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:40 PM

Hey all,

You can still get dichroic PARs for 1K theater cans. It is real close to daylight and needs only slight gelling. They burn up faster, though. They cost about $150.00 each.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>




Where can I get these?

-BillP
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#19 andyh

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 03:50 AM

Point #1 is very false. HMI's can give up to 4 times the light per watt as compared to a tungsten light of the same style. Yes, PARS output more light than Fresnels but not 10 times more like Robert was saying (full blue only transmits about 10% of the light).
Also, Robert shot with mixed color tempurature which usually looks very amature.
I agree with Adam about HMI's but you don't have access to them apparently. Also, Bob makes a good point about shooting with natural light which is what you (Lucita) were thinking of doing allready. Without HMI's, boxing the window in might still be your best choice for full control.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR CLAIM THAT MIXED COLOUR TEMPERATURE LOOKS AMATEUR - PERHAPS YOU COULD EXPAND ON THAT A LITTLE. PERSONALLY, I THINK KEEPING ALL YOUR SOURCES AT THE SAME TEMPERATURE CAN OFTEN LOOK VERY UNINTERESTING
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#20 Glenn Hanns

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 09:16 PM

I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR CLAIM THAT MIXED COLOUR TEMPERATURE LOOKS AMATEUR - PERHAPS YOU COULD EXPAND ON THAT A LITTLE. PERSONALLY, I THINK KEEPING ALL YOUR SOURCES AT THE SAME TEMPERATURE CAN OFTEN LOOK VERY UNINTERESTING

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think having variation in colour balance can be used with great effect to help tell the story. Like all choices it must have relevance. My only concern is going too far in both directions and not having the ability to correct later if needed.
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