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Immediate Assistance with lighting a silhouette!


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#1 Knight of Rueful Countenace

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 04:32 AM

Hi, i shoot my first sound film this upcoming sept. 11. The film is a thriller and there's a scene that requires two people standing behind a window aiming flashlights into the interior of a house.
It's a wideshot capturing the window in the window in the center of frame and portion of the interior. (Filmed from inside the room.) I want the two figures to appears as silhouettes but i have to shoot it early morning. And this is miami where the sun is merciless.

To this, i have constructed a tent out of pvc pipes, large enough to box the two actors and sealed it completely with a black fabric. My lighting scheme was to position a 650 light behind the actors throwing a backlight against the fabric. I have yet to rehearse this shot but my concern is, due to the confined space of the tent, the light won't flood enought to create a white background to separate the actors.

I am considering placing a foam board behind them hoping the smoothing surface would sufficiently even the light creating a crisp, precise silhouette. Would the color of the board matter, most preferably a black board?

I would dearly appreciate advice from some of you filmmakers who are more adept and experienced than myself.
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#2 letitlight

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 09:47 AM

I think you talking about a Night (?)
Backlight your guys with 650 wih blue color ... the best would be to bounce it since moonlight is never so hard. Measure incident reading from this 650 pointing the light meter at it from their position. That f-stop you can use for your lens f-stop. As long as your interior is dark that will give you silhouette. If you want parts of your interior to be seen make sure its ambient reading falls somewhere at around 3 stops below of what the incident of 650 was.
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#3 Tim Tyler

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 09:55 AM

Just put a 12'x12' white silk (or a big white sheet) outside the window behind the actors and light it from behind with the sun or with lights.

Am i missing something?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 11:17 AM

Well, the question is WHAT is causing the silhouette if this is a night scene? Are they silhouette against a wash of backlit smoke playing for moonlight? Are they silhouette against a lit background building or row of trees, etc.? Are they silhouette against the dark blue sky? There has to be some sort of realistic background that could be lit so they can be silhouette against it. Unless we're not talking about a silhouette so much as we are about a backlit person with no fill, which is slightly different.

Simply putting a large frame of black behind the actors, smoking the set, and letting natural blue skylight leak over the top of, and around the sides of, the black may backlight the smoke enough to create a silhouette if the actors are under a shaded doorway.
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#5 Knight of Rueful Countenace

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 02:15 PM

I apologize for not having elaboratied on the scene. It' s night and i'm basically aiming for a white background to distinguish the actor who appear in silhouettes. As to what causes the white background i'm leaving it to the viewer's discretion, be it a white wall, a lamp or moonlight. At one point in the film, the window would be the main source of light.

What Letitlight suggested is accurate to what i'm looking for.

The tent encoses the actors entirely.(Black box with roof and all) This being because the area outside of the window is exposed to the harsh fury of the sun. Thats why i buit the tent to block off the sun acheiving the illusion of night time. What i'm afraid of is that i have 4ft of depth to work with. (Four feet from window to the back of the tent).

Another problem has surfaced regarding flashlight readings. We're using an arri SR1 with a Karl Zeiss 10-100mm lense. If the room is pitch black would the camera catch the areas illuminated by the flashlights? The lowest f-stop is 3.

Thanks for advice.
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#6 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 04:09 PM

Friend,
Are u using tungsten film? If yes, then u can just use a tungsten assymetrical fixture light (1000w)from behind like u said, with double full C.T.B. gel.
I am guessing from the things u re writing that u only want the rim effect around them and not the whole background lit?
There also some light available for wall wash from Mac light or similar companies that are specialists in events or concert lights, that have really wide light spread.
This are using MSR lamps, that are very similar to the HMI'S so no need to gel them.
Regards
Dimitrios Koukas
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Visual Products

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Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly