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portable fill/eyelight (daylight)


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#1 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 04:31 AM

hey,

i know this has been discussed several times, but i have a pretty specific question. i'm shooting a short on hdv (fx1) next week, all daylight exteriors "on the run" and i think i need a portable fill/eyelight since i love eyes and would hate to lose them. this time of year stockholm is pretty much magic hour all day long (short) so the natural light will be the soft overhead light from the sky (no sun to bounce either) and i was wondering what kind of cheap light would be strong enough to provide some fill for the faces and sparkle in the eyes. i'm thinking a 125w portable hmi would be great, but it looks like we can't afford it (yes, the budget is that low). would a sun gun, pro-light or similar tungsten source give me the punch i need after i've gelled it down to 5600k? many shots will be rather wide so it has to have some reach, which rules out kinos too i guess (?), and besides i like my eyelights to be hard. so, not very specific after all, but any suggestions? :-) what about 12v work lights? maybe i should buy one instead of renting pro gear? it should come in handy on more occasions.

thanks,

/matt
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#2 Patrick Neary

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:48 AM

Hi there-

"punch" is not a word i would use to describe a pro-light :)

It sounds like your best bet would be a small, close to the camera light to provide an eye-sparkle for the close-ups (if that's what you're talking about) with foamcore or griff bounce for overall fill.

You're probably not going to see any eye-glints in your wide shots even with a small hmi, but you can still use big sheets of foamcore or griff in a frame (or even shiny boards) for an overall soft fill from the skylight.

let us know how it goes-
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#3 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 10:43 AM

thanks. i don't think i'll get much eye glint in the wides either, but i'm worried that the eyes will become black holes without additional lighting. i measured the ambient light today and it's only around 400 footcandles so the "punch" i was talking about doesn't really have to be that punchy. :-) but i guess what you're saying is that the hmi is the minimum for a wide shot and that a small tungsten source, while useful for the closeups, will do nothing further away? i'll experiment a little with shiny boards. i'll let you know how it goes.

(i'm pretty experienced in shooting film, but i've shot very little video and never hd, and i must admit it's probably scaring me more than it should)

/matt
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#4 gregory mandry

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 11:11 AM

Reflect light, it's cheep and outside brighter than any HMI. If you don't want just polly-board there are plenty of other refective surfaces to use.
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#5 Mario C. Jackson

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 02:28 PM

You could get a 250w pepper and just shoot straight in her eyes.
Hope this works
Mario C. Jackson
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#6 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 06:23 AM

Reflect light, it's cheep and outside brighter than any HMI.

i see your point but in this case i seriously doubt it. you noticed that this is a 320 footcandle magic hour shot with no direct sunlight to bounce, right?

If you don't want just polly-board there are plenty of other refective surfaces to use.

the only thing i can think of that could be bright enough is a mirror. any experience using those for reflecting diffused light? i've used them to redirect sunlight through windows and such a few times, but that's it. maybe a shiny board would be a little easier to aim since there's some spread, while providing almost the same output? my experience with foamcore or lastolite is that you have to be quite close to the subject for it to work.

/matt

You could get a 250w pepper and just shoot straight in her eyes.

i know. it's just that i'm looking for a highly portable fixture that runs off a battery. but maybe they do? a car battery only holds like 7Ah though, so a 250 watt light would only burn for 20 minutes and i'm planning on shooting at least 30 minutes per day.

/matt
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#7 Patrick Neary

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 10:46 AM

again, a small (especially battery-powered) light isn't going to do squat unless it's quite close.

Given the kind of restrictions you're talking about, large griffs or something similar seem to be the only option. And they do make a difference, even in diffused light- You don't need to match the 400fc ambient, just fill a little, right? And at a certain point, you get so far back (wide shots) that it doesn't matter anyway. that diffuse, magic hour light does it's own wrapping and fill quite well on it's own. Watch a bit of "Days of Heaven"
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#8 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 07:45 AM

thanks, yes i'm going to forget fill for the wide shots. the ambient light should indeed wrap enough, even though i would have loved the extra separation, then when moving in closer i'm going to use a handheld 4x4 shiny boards as well as a battery powered eyelight on the camera or handheld. i'll post my results.

/matt
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#9 Chris Cooke

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:13 AM

thanks, yes i'm going to forget fill for the wide shots. the ambient light should indeed wrap enough, even though i would have loved the extra separation, then when moving in closer i'm going to use a handheld 4x4 shiny boards as well as a battery powered eyelight on the camera or handheld. i'll post my results.

/matt


Sounds like a good plan. I just did a shoot yesterday where I had a nice warm late afternoon side light on our actor and then I took a 500W tungsten spot (powered by a little 23.3 amp generator) and put it about 3 feet from our actor at eye level (catch light). I then got put up a sheet of foam core on the fill side (about one foot from the actor). The shot was an extreme CU on his eyes and I just looked at the dailies. It looked great. The camera light should be the best bet for you though since you're handheld.
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#10 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 07:25 PM

thanks for your help. here are a couple of clips as promised. one was shot at dusk using the camera light handheld as a side key, you can see where it is if you watch the guy passing by since he looks up at it. :-) one is daylight cross lit with a shiny lastolite reflector. the third is a closeup where the convertible lastolite was used as a butterfly diffusor and the camera light as fill.

http://www.mattias.n...f/iloveyou1.mov
http://www.mattias.n...f/iloveyou2.mov
http://www.mattias.n...f/iloveyou3.mov

the short premieres at the buff film festival in malmö, sweden next thursday the 16th. it will be shown on digibeta in an "e-cinema" equipped theater, whatever that means. sounds better than the usual home movie projector in a nightclub or conference room festival setup at least. :-)

/matt
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