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Old May 14th, 2019, 05:34 PM   #1
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Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

A lot of locations that I am forced to used cause of budget, have white walls, which do not look cinematic, or good, since white is a brighter color than the actors. Most bigger budget movies, have walls that are different colors than white of course.

So I was thinking, if we are not allowed to paint the locations, what if he lit the walls a color instead? Would this look weird to an audience, and they would be thinking, why are the walls lit a color, instead of painted though?
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Old May 15th, 2019, 12:57 AM   #2
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

I know this is TV not location film production, but your question above immediately put me in mind of the low budget solution that the new BBC Scotland TV channel devised for its”newsroom” (photo below).
This is effectively a location setting in the office space/general purpose area on of the floors in Pacific Quay, the BBC headquarters in Glasgow with the purple-lit atrium as a backdrop.

Knowing the building, it amuses me as the main BBC Scotland newsroom is just a few yards away and the new arrivals must be a bit of a nuisance:-).

To me it shouts “no money” but that’s just me. It does fit in with the current fad for open plan newsrooms as in Broadcasting House in London.
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Old May 15th, 2019, 06:52 AM   #3
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

Oh okay. Well that picture makes the lighting on the walls, look like a nightclub or something like that, where as I want to shoot in houses and office buildings, that take place in the daytime, but don't want the walls to be light, so thinking of lighting them wall-paint looking colors, if possible.

Would that kind of lighting look good for those kind of environments, cinematically?
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Old May 15th, 2019, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

I don't see how that could really work. Lighting a white wall will make it even brighter, so you'd have to use even more light on the people (without spilling on the walls) to compensate. And you'd need to cleverly conceal your wall-wash fixtures and deal with shadows from other objects in the room. Seems like it would look artificial no matter how you did that. But maybe that would work if you're doing something very stylized?
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Old May 15th, 2019, 05:34 PM   #5
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

I wouldn't say I am doing something too overly stylized. It's a crime thriller story, so some style is okay, but not sure how far I can push it. Mainly it's just that it seems 90 percent of locations, at least where I live, have white walls, as that's the most popular color for walls, but I want to get rid of the white, without being allowed to repaint.

So either I light it a different color, and keep that colored light in the background and separate from the foreground, or I have to color all the walls in post, while isolating the skin tones, and keep them non-effected.

You say there will be shadows from other objects, but I thought that if I put the colored lights, lighting the walls, behind all the objects, then no shadows will show then, if that helps?
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Old May 16th, 2019, 12:33 PM   #6
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

You can also try taking light off the walls competely, with flags/gobos or covering/unscrewing fixtures. At least that can make walls dark/grey rather than white. You can play with gradients and shadow patterns to create interest. Of course may not be feasible depending on where shooting.
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Old May 16th, 2019, 01:30 PM   #7
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

In a somewhat different direction, and in addition to the creative use of lighting options, would it be possible to break up the overall whiteness of the walls with strategically placed artwork, paintings, plants, lamps, etc? maybe even a bookcase or two rented from a showhome staging company? Just food for thought...

Ever notice how busy the decor is in Jerry's apartment in old Seinfeld reruns? Something along those lines - just to break up and distract from the walls.
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Old May 16th, 2019, 05:51 PM   #8
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

Okay thanks. I will add all that too, it's just I feel there should be a different color other than white in the white spots still. I can put some things on the walls, but I don't want to add too much of course. Actually I was watching a film riot tutorial and they talked about how they used backdrops for background in one video. Do you think that's a good idea to use backdrops?

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Old May 17th, 2019, 07:38 AM   #9
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Re: Painting location walls with colored light, when not allowed to paint?

White walls are great - you can wash them with single or multicoloured patchy or washy colours, or use fixtures that can do gobos, or even wash them solid LED green for pretty good chromakey. Side, and uplight is good. If the cameras can be set to narrow death of field can look even nicer.
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