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Lighting a very large area with a little


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#1 Kyle Geerkens

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 02:55 PM

Hey guys and gals,

I'm in pre-pro for my my first pilot. We're shooting January, and I'm having trouble figuring out how to light this scene.

We're shooting on the Panasonic AJ-HDC20A HD Camera. The pilot is for a comedy with much the same feel as "Scrubs'.

One of our major scenes is located in an indoor beach volleyball court. This place in in a giant warehouse but has been remodelled with 'beachy' murals on the walls and wahtnot so there is lots of beautiful colour to pick up on the walls. It's really a nice looking palce as long as I light it well. But, as you can imagine the court is huge! 3800 sq/ft.

Assuming the wide shots will be coming from the bottom left of my diagram, I was hoping you coul offer some suggstions on how to make this huge place look great. We're shoting at night because around the roof it is all huge windows. there is a balcony on the left hand side stwetching the width of the court whihc would be ideal for placing my main source.

Here's what I have to work with for equipment, and I can rent some other stuff obvioulsy as needed, but we're trying to keep this as cheap as possible.

2 x 575 hmi w/ various lenses and scrims
4 x 1K T
4 x 650 T
6 x 250 T

thinking about renting one or two 1.2 K HMI
one for each lower corner one being on the balcony w/ 12x12 silk to key both teams.

now the fel isn't supposed to be overly dramatic, I'm not going for a lot of contrast here, as I said it's a funny scene with lots of vibrant colour. I want to pick up the walls nicely in the background, but mostly I need a good evenly lit court and teams.

any suggestions on making this happen better? and there was a thread on going in for coverage that I saw which may or may not apply to such a large area as I may ned to bring my lights in a lot more for CU's?????

finally, the court is uslaly lit with about 6 large mercury vapour fixtures on the ceiling. As of right now I am turning these off for sure, however if you think they could be better left on I'm open to that i guess.


Sorry for the long post

Kyle
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 04:36 PM

If the place has big windows, then why not shoot in the daytime and use that light?

If your story is supposed to be at night, you have to ask yourself how realistic do you want the lighting; most sporting events are well-lit. Most movies would probably hang several 6K space lights to replace the mercury vapor fixtures and create the same overhead toplight look.

Probably one of the cheaper methods would be to get a bunch of 1K PAR's and hang them in a grid pattern, but you'd need a generator no matter what. Or install some big long fluorescent work lights and get tubes that have a low green content (high CRI number).

Edited by David Mullen, 05 November 2005 - 04:37 PM.

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#3 Kyle Geerkens

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 04:46 PM

If the place has big windows, then why not shoot in the daytime and use that light?

If your story is supposed to be at night, you have to ask yourself how realistic do you want the lighting; most sporting events are well-lit. Most movies would probably hang several 6K space lights to replace the mercury vapor fixtures and create the same overhead toplight look.

Probably one of the cheaper methods would be to get a bunch of 1K PAR's and hang them in a grid pattern, but you'd need a generator no matter what. Or install some big long fluorescent work lights and get tubes that have a low green content (high CRI number).


The scene isn't really meant to be a sporting 'event' as such. no audience. it's a corporate league (similar to a beer league in hockey i guess) I was thinking of doing it at night, not so much because it has to look like night, but more to stay away from the sun changing direction throught the day. I'm not sure how much of an issue this would be?

If i did it in daylight do you think my 575's would have enough punch to be noticeable at all against the sun?

and also, if we were replace the mercury vapour lights, do I have to check the fixture for compatibility, or is this a standard substitute?

thanks for your prompt reply David.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 05:07 PM

I doubt you can change out the mercury fixtures; I was talking about turning them off and hanging something near them to do the same effect but at the right color temp.

You have to ask yourself what will look better -- hard-to-manage natural daylight that keeps changing, or a big empty room at night with hardly any lights to light it up with.

I mean, you could hang a silk over the outside of the windows and at least not have direct sun to deal with, only sunlit and then unlit silk and the color shift that will cause.

Lighting it at night is fine IF you have the lights and crew to create light in there that looks nice or interesting. It's not easy lighting big spaces and creating an interesting lighting effect. For day scenes, sunlight streaming in, soft backlight, etc. all look interesting. At night, a big overhead soft source MAY look nice, or maybe it would look boring. But just a few hard 1K's scattering around up there would probably look cheap. You'd be better off art directing the space to provide some of its own in-camera light sources -- strings of light bulbs, Christmas tree bulbs, Chinese Lanterns, whatever can be motivated. It sort of depends on the scene content.

Lighting is not about just getting enough illumination to shoot in a big space.

You say it's not a sporting event but it's still a game being played, which suggests it wouldn't take place in moonlight, let's say. But could it take place in the shadows or by the backlight of a single lamp with lots of silhouettes, like a secret game in the middle of the night? Or is it a game where someone in real life would turn on some overheads? Maybe you DO just want the look of mercury vapor lighting.
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#5 Frank Barrera

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 10:11 PM

On the budget you have and considering that it's not a scary murder scene you probably have to go with the mercury vapors as a base to give you a "well lit" look. On the floor use all the HMI's you can afford to make some nice soft light keys and some back edges and bring a bunch of gels to match the SOdium Vapors. Match as best as you can and then white balance under the vapors and the gelled HMI's. TRy some plus or minus green along with some CTO or CTB etc. Rent a color meter and have fun. The nice thing about video is the monitor after all.


Good luck
Frank B
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#6 Kyle Geerkens

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 03:12 PM

I'm thinking based on these comments that I may be able to shoot with overheads on. they are mercury vapour. am i correct that mercury is close to daylight temperature?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:44 PM

I'm thinking based on these comments that I may be able to shoot with overheads on. they are mercury vapour. am i correct that mercury is close to daylight temperature?


Shoot tests. Yes, mercury vapor is close to daylight with a LOT of green thrown in, depending on the fixture. Since it is missing wavelengths (mainly red), while you can white balance to it and lose the green, faces can end up looking a bit grayish and monochromatic as a result. Hence why some people match the color of mercury vapor using gels on HMI's and shoot their close-ups under that gelled HMI light, so that it contains the missing red wavelengths, and then white balance to that, and let the background be lit with the mercury vapor.

Test, test, test.
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#8 oscar jimenez

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 07:30 PM

Have you thought about using Par 64 with corrected Bulbs? They do help a lot.
All the best
Oscar
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#9 John Hall

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 01:07 PM

For lighting a large area evenly, you can't go wrong with spacelights.

Posted Image

Each one is 6 kW (6 1k bulbs in each). A few well placed spacelights in the ceiling will give you good even illumination on the walls and talent.
Then you have your smaller fixtures free to light the talent from the floor.

Power wise, a spacelight has 3 AC cable's, each powering two of the bulbs (2kw each). If you absolutely can't have a genny, provided your location has 20amp breakers, you can plug these directly into the wall, provided nothing else is running on that circuit.

Both Whites & PS rents them.

BTW, are you shooting at that volleyball court at Lawrence & Victoria Park?
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#10 Kyle Geerkens

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 03:48 PM

Hi

Yes that's the one. It's at Lawrence between the dvp and vic park. It's called North Beach Volleyball.

It will be very difficult to rig anything on the ceiling there under my budget... (i hate budgets!!)

Do you know anyone sho has shot there before?

Also Davidthank for your help, when you say to shoot the CU's with gelled hmi's... what correction should i gel with. if the mercury is missing a lot of red and i have balanced to those fixtures to remove the green, then i see why it would be grey, so then wouldn't doing the CU's with hmi's and no gel manage to fill in the missing red wavelenths? Sorry for the dumb question, i just got a little confused there.


Thanks

Kyle
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 07:45 PM

Well, if you don't gel the HMI's that are lighting the close-up to match the background mercury vapor, then you'll have a foreground face lit one color and a background lit another. Unless you were talking about turning off all the overheads when lighting & shooting the close-ups. But then you might be pushing your luck in terms of matching.

Matching HMI's to mercury vapor usually means adding either 1/2, 3/4, or Full Plus-Green, plus maybe 1/4 CTO to take down a little of the blue in the HMI. But mercury vapor lamps can vary in how blue-green they are.
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#12 John Hall

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:36 AM

Yes that's the one. It's at Lawrence between the dvp and vic park. It's called North Beach Volleyball.

It will be very difficult to rig anything on the ceiling there under my budget... (i hate budgets!!)

Do you know anyone sho has shot there before?


No, I don't know anyone who has shot there. I'm only familiar with it because a friend of mine used to throw parties there years ago.

I found a photo on their website that shows the court at night lit by mercury lights.

Posted Image

I'm guessing the photo was taken from the balcony you described.
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#13 Kyle Geerkens

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 11:08 PM

Thanks for the photo, I can't believe i didnt know that was online.

Yes that is the exact court im shooting in, and the shot is from the balcony.

As you can see the mural is quite colouful so i want to emphasize that. I've found that with this style i'm going for the more vibrant the more funny for some reason. Maybe vibrant colours don't lend to dry humour as well as for this style... my humble opinion! haha

I'm thinking I will shoot under the mercury lights, but i'm definitely going to shoot some tests in day and night first to see this week.
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#14 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 08:33 AM

the shot is from the balcony.

i wouldn't rely on overhead lighting for my key if the shot was from above. maybe you can put some extra lights in the back and to the side or something, and gel it appropriately of course? or at least put flags and negative fill on the camera side. just thinking aloud here. i never shot any such large interiors. for night exteriors i like to use overhead jokerbugs in chinese lanterns. maybe that could work? again i'm just thinking aloud. ;-)

/matt
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#15 Lucita Jones

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 01:40 PM

[quote name='David Mullen' date='Nov 5 2005, 01:36 PM' post='73969']
If the place has big windows, then why not shoot in the daytime and use that light?

But would you rely on daylight coming from the windows for the entire shoot? What if clouds roll by? What if the next day is cloudy? This has been on my mind for some days. I know that Nouvelle Vague films relied strongly on natural light, but what consistency can one have throughout the shooting?

Thanks for your insights

LJ
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 04:02 PM

Hi,

Put diffusion over the windows.

If it's cloudy, take the diffusion off.

Phil
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