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Bonfire Fun!


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#1 basic

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 11:37 PM

Well...my next movie takes place during the day, but mostly at night, in a backyard. It is a bon-fire party (not a big bon-fire) and a pool. The pool has lights in it, adn the bon-fire will light up, but what is the best way to light up the movie, without it looking fake or amatuer? And so that nightime is clearly seen.
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#2 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 12:11 PM

Just a couple questions:
1. What are you shooting on? If film, what stock? If video, are you shooting HD, or DV?

2. What is happening in the scene? What is the feel you are looking for?

3. What are your resources?

For the night scene, you may want a uni-directional moon light. If you are going for a wide shot, you will want to make sure the background is also lit from the same direction (can be less intense, and bluer), otherwise it will appear as though your 'moonlight' is just a streetlamp, or something encompassing a smaller distance. Remember that moonlight casts the same amount of light on great distances.

As for some highlights, you can use a well-placed china ball and christmas lights.

The bonfire will cast a soft flattering light. A great way to produce a more intense light level would be to throw a log (wrapped in cotton cloth), that has been soaking in oil, onto the fire before the take. If you do not use duralogs, you will be going through a lot of wood to keep your fire going.

Hope that helps.
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#3 basic

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 08:16 PM

1. I'm shooting on DV. (An XL2)

2. It's a thriller, and a I want a dramatic, sad feel. The bon-fire will (like you said) produce a beautiful light alogn with the pool light which will be on (since the pool is right next to it and is an important part of the movie) btu I was afraid it wouldn't be enough.

The info you gave me is good, and yes, we'll have some Duraflame, but the rest will be logs. Now, the oil wrapped in cotton, should I just use it if I don't use Duraflame, or for even better light?
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#4 Jeff DiMambro

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 06:22 PM

Make sure you schedule your shots in a manageable way. You'll have a tougher time with the wider shots as you'll want to light background elements. Depending on the lighting available to you, you've got a few options.

If you can afford it, find a way to bounce big units in certain areas to add light. In your wide shots, establish light sources like flood lights on the house, or those cheap citronella oil lamps between the fire and the pool, anything you can. That way when you go in for closer shots you have motivated sources that are either in or out of the shot which you can punch up with smaller lights.
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#5 Mitch Lusas

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 12:50 AM

The oil soaked cotton rags will give you a greater intensity of light from your fire. They will burn quickly, so you will only have about 7-10 minutes from each wrapped log. If your looking for a sad feeling, and maybe something surreal, bounce an HMI, with 1 & 1/2 CTB and enough ND to dampen the light, off of the pool onto the action. This will give you some nice texture from the water while lighting the pool.

Also, the smoke from the fire will give you a nice effect. To enhance this you can burn a sugar mixture in the fire. I apologize, I do not know exactly what this consists of, but I remember the ingredients consisted of sugar and the some type of powder from the drug store. You could also use tiki torches from walmart just off camera.

Your XL2 should pick up the action. If the lens goes to a 2, you will be able to grab what you are looking for.

Oh, and for the moonlight, soften the shadows from your moonlight. If possible, bounce the light off of a bounce card above your light source. This will simulate a higher, softer light source with shorter shadows (a la moonlight).

Prepare and have fun.
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