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#1 Chris Cooke

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 11:41 PM

I just finished lighting a set for a daily interview show called LifeLine (a Christian show somewhat similar to Oprah). It's looking really good and we've already shot four shows to get ready for the start of the season. There's one thing that's really bothering me and that's the fireplace. I've basically lit some logs that sit in a mantle (it looks a little cheesy on an otherwise great-looking set). So today I got someone to go pick up an electric fireplace to put inside the mantle just to see what it would look like. I lit the set to a f2.8 to get a nice shalow DOF but the fire still barely shows up. I've checked out some gas fire places too and they're no brighter. It's not feasible to have a real fire in the building that we're in. Are there electric fireplaces that are made for tv and film? My other option is to shoot (or buy) some video of a real fire and put it on a Plasma, LCD, CRT or Rear Screen Projector. Does anyone have experience using any of these methods?
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#2 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 12:17 AM

What are your cameras rated at? F8 or F11 at 2000 lux ? I have shot around fire alot using video cams and with a camera rated at F11 at 2000 lux I could get a nice exposure without any gain. Are you using a high shutter at all?

I once worked with a lady doing tv shows once who at home had this string of twinkling lights almost like christmas lights around some real logs and she had put some type of gel material over them and when it was dark it had a convencing effect of fire.Though if the camera could see into the shadows of that setup it would cry fake.

If I can remember right most of those Electronic Fireplaces are just a round motorized gobo wheel with a light bulb in the middle of it. I would think you could get a more powerful bulb. But then that might give away the secret that it isn't real.

Though it seems to me that if temperture wasn't an issue you can turn up the flame on gas logs real high. The Cracker Barrel restaurants (Country style store restaurant popular on interstates down south) uses a hybrid design that really puts off some light and heat. It is like a gas rack that you put real wood logs on. Hopefully you can make it look nice, though I am a christian I have to say alot of the christian shows have flat lighting and cram as much stuff on the set as they can. Good Luck . And post some stills of your final product.

Edited by johnhollywood, 20 August 2005 - 12:19 AM.

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#3 Chris Cooke

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 12:48 AM

What are your cameras rated at? F8 or F11 at 2000 lux ? I have shot around fire alot using video cams and with a camera rated at F11 at 2000 lux I could get a nice exposure without any gain. Are you using a high shutter at all?

I once worked with a lady doing tv shows once who at home had this string of twinkling lights almost like christmas lights around some real logs and she had put some type of gel material over them and when it was dark it had a convencing effect of fire.Though if the camera could see into the shadows of that setup it would cry fake.

If I can remember right most of those Electronic Fireplaces are just a round motorized gobo wheel with a light bulb in the middle of it. I would think you could get a more powerful bulb. But then that might give away the secret that it isn't real.

Though it seems to me that if temperture wasn't an issue you can turn up the flame on gas logs real high. The Cracker Barrel restaurants (Country style store restaurant popular on interstates down south) uses a hybrid design that really puts off some light and heat. It is like a gas rack that you put real wood logs on.  Hopefully you can make it look nice, though I am a christian I have to say alot of the christian shows have flat lighting and cram as much stuff on the set as they can. Good Luck . And post some stills of your final product.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I could open up our lenses (fujinon) to f1.3 if I wanted to and expose for the fire but I'm exposing for the faces at f2.8. I'm also not willing to light the set any darker than f2.8 because I don't want my camera operators fighting to keep people in focus as they lean in or out, stand up, etc. My shutter is normal for interlaced NTSC at 1/60.

I opened up the fireplace today and found four 60W bulbs shooting into a rotating gobo. 60 watts is max. I was thinking about getting our electrician to rewire it so that I could put some brighter bulbs in there but my next thought was that it would melt the styrofoam ontop of it.

Yes, Christian films, tv shows, etc. tend to be flat and boring. I'm doing my best to change that at least in my place of work. Every show, film or comercial that you watch is trying to get a message across. Whether it be Christian or Muslim, horror or comedy, beer comercials or pampers comercials. In cinematography, we hopefully shoot projects that we support. Because our main job is to support the story, emotions and message by lighting, camera angles, color scheme, etc.

I'll definately post some stills when I get a chance.
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#4 Chris Cooke

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 05:11 PM

Does anyone have some thoughts about projecting a fire onto a screen in the fireplace?
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#5 Bob Hayes

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 06:35 PM

When I shoot video fire has always been way too bright. Are you NDing your cameras down to get a 2.8. If you are why not just use less light, save some, money, and keep the set cool. Also shooting at a 2.8 might make focus harder then it needs to be for your type of show. I wonder whether the narrow depth of field really helps your look.
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#6 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 08:23 PM

I think he is trying to get by with the electronic fireplace which would be easier on the crew and guests.

If the fixture can only handle 60watt bulbs why don't you try the new compact flourescents.http://www.1000bulbs.com/product.php?product=6730 Like this 55watt one that puts out 3600 lumens at 2700kelvin. Thats comparable to a 240watt regular light bulb.

One thing I would like to know is do these put out the full color spectrum? Are these kinda like KIno Flos? Do you have to use certain shutter speeds to keep from the color shifting?
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#7 Chris Cooke

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 11:52 PM

Are you NDing your cameras down to get a 2.8. If you are why not just use less light, save some, money, and keep the set cool.  Also shooting at a 2.8 might make focus harder then it needs to be for your type of show.  I wonder whether the narrow depth of field really helps your look.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


No, I'm not NDing my cameras down to get a 2.8. I've actually lit the set to a 2.8. There are several reasons for this but one of the reasons is so that we would be able to see the "fire". As it turns out, the fire still doesn't show up much. One of the hosts came up to me and told me that price isn't an issue for this. She really wants this fireplace to look right.
The idea about fluorescents in the bottom is a good idea since they wont heat up. I could even use regular fluorescents and gel it to my liking since flicker is not an isue in a fireplace. Has anyone come across electric fireplaces that are made for tv or film (with control over intensity)? I've done some research on Rosco products and it looks like all that they make is electric candles.
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#8 Chris Cooke

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 04:11 PM

I was able to get our editor to make me a stamp so that you guys could see where the fireplace is and what I'm talking about. I also direct this show. I get camera 3 to give me a continuous moving wide shot while camera's 1 & 2 get the close ups.

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#9 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 04:37 AM

Overall I think the set looks posh. (Nice Rich ski resort look)

I have to say though my eye is drawn to the lamp. Is that going to be in the end result? It makes me distracted from the host and guest. Though it might just be my ADD lol.

Though my mom would probably like it, the color scheme is pretty neutral and lacking color for me.

:huh: IMHO I think takeing away the lamp and having a fire going will be real nice eye candy. It would also be nice if some more color was added here and there. Maybe like some greenery, maybe some old books with red binders, and etc... Will the background be lit that bright in the end result?

Though you probably should discount what I say since I would probably put a moosehead on the wall to make people laugh.

Edited by johnhollywood, 24 August 2005 - 04:42 AM.

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#10 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 06:07 AM

With gas firelogs, you could try sprinkling on some of the color crystals that add color to burning logs. These contain mineral salts that create colored flames when vaporized. (e.g., sodium chloride burns bright yellow):

http://heating-and-c...ls--619729.aspx

http://chemistry.abo...a/aa052703a.htm

http://www.renaissan...=color&cart_id=

http://users.dslextr...oredFlames.html
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#11 gregory mandry

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 07:47 AM

Can you not get a sparks to knock you together a flicker box. (i think they use bulbs and fluecent starters) Put them together with some gells, then hide them in a fake gas fire. a good props or sparks should be able to put one together.

You can probably hire somthing similar and just get props to hide it in the fake fire.
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#12 Chris Cooke

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 10:55 AM

Overall I think the set looks posh. (Nice Rich ski resort look)

I have to say though my eye is drawn to the lamp. Is that going to be in the end result? It makes me distracted from the host and guest. Though it might just be my ADD lol.

Though my mom would probably like it, the color scheme is pretty neutral and lacking color for me.

:huh: IMHO I think takeing away the lamp and having a fire going will be real nice eye candy. It would also be nice if some more color was added here and there. Maybe like some greenery, maybe some old books with red binders, and etc... Will the background be lit that bright in the end result?

Though you probably should discount what I say since I would probably put a moosehead on the wall to make people laugh.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yeah, after that show, I put some diffusion behind the lamp shade to knock down the output. I still don't like it though but it looks too empty back there without it if a fire's not crackling in the background.
The set is also much bigger than what you see in this shot. There is a little more color in the closeups (greenery, books, pictures, etc). We're mostly sticking with the yellow/green/red color pallet.
I find that I get too many complaints if I go any darker in the background although I could bring the hilights down a bit. Also, I think that I'll put in some puck lights and get props to put something interesting in the shelves by the fireplace.

John, I like the idea about the color crystals. I think I'll try it in my boss' office to see how bright it will be.

I'll look into the flicker box as well.
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#13 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 01:42 PM

Isn't there 5 and 10 watt light bulbs that would look less blown out?
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#14 Chris Cooke

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 01:49 PM

Isn't there 5 and 10 watt light bulbs that would look less blown out?

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Yeah, I can't seem to find any here in Lethbridge but I don't like the lamp anyways. Right now I have a 20W in there. The other option is to put it on my dimmer but I think that I'm just gonna get props to replace it with something a little smaller like maybe some greenery.
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#15 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 01:56 PM

Yeah, I can't seem to find any here in Lethbridge but I don't like the lamp anyways. Right now I have a 20W in there. The other option is to put it on my dimmer but I think that I'm just gonna get props to replace it with something a little smaller like maybe some greenery.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'd suggest removing the table lamp in front of the fireplace. It's a distraction, drawing the viewer's eye away from the talent.
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#16 Chris Cooke

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 04:35 PM

We're doing 5 hours of live broadcast today and tomorrow on the Miracle Channel. You can check it out on www.streamingfaith.com or www.streamtv.net. I think that you have to log in to use it but it's not that hard. Our broadcast is from 5:00pm MTN to 10:00pm MTN. The set that I posted a still of is on these live broadcasts (although the lighting was not originally intended for 6 tv personalities to be on set). If anyone has a few minutes, check it out. Also, critique my lighting (especially on the live band).
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