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-   -   Questions on lighting setup (diagram included) (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/102075-questions-lighting-setup-diagram-included.html)

Nathan DuMoulin August 25th, 2007 03:21 AM

Questions on lighting setup (diagram included)
I'm building a set for a short 3 day shoot. The shoot is of a player playing pool (billiards). I'm a little unfamiliar with lighting in general and would appreciate some help with the details.

I've made the following diagram to show the set and the distances of each object in relation to one another.


As you can see, the camera is on a dolly, and will always be shooting from the same side of the table (although some shots will be taken from the end of the table rather than from the side). The back light is above the back wall, shinning downwards.

Q1. Is a 3 point lighting setup adequate for such a shoot?

Q2. Should I be using soft boxes, or flos?

Q3. Based on the approximate distances indicated, what wattage should these lights be?

Q4. What does it cost to rent such a light setup?

Thanks for the help everyone.

- Nathan

Les Wilson August 25th, 2007 06:58 AM

The decision on whether to use hard lights, soft boxes or flos depends on the mood you are trying to create. Are you creating a drama or are you just videotaping the event?

As concerns the backlight, it seems far away. If the angle is too low, you'll have problems. The wattage of those lights depends how far away they are after you get them high enough.

Also, I would think you need to move the backlight or aim it so it's opposite the camera. If you don't, then you won't have it's effect as you trolley at the ends. Maybe two back lights so one becomes a kicker at the ends of the trolley.

All that said, if you are just trying to light up some people playing pool, then I would think more lights with less wattage and soft and evenly spaced around will do that.

Nathan DuMoulin August 25th, 2007 11:29 AM

Thanks for your input Ernest.

The shoot utilizes a set, but basically it's being filmed as an event. I know to use soft lights to avoid any harsh shadows, I'm just not sure if flos would be strong enough given the distance to the subject.

Your advice on the back light is excellent. I'll be sure to bring it in closer so that it's angled more downwards....and maybe grab a second one to cover that concern you had about the trolley.

Thanks again.

Les Wilson August 25th, 2007 04:23 PM

Barn doors will be critical to keeping shadows off the table from the back lights. I'd think there would be a light over the table.

Charles Papert August 25th, 2007 05:43 PM

I agree with Ernest. A large softbox over the table will give you the best lighting for the table itself. I would use a custom chicken coop but in a pinch you can use a 4x4 Kino with a diffusion bag under it (i.e. clip the diffusion to the barn doors which should be spread open wide, but leave plenty of slack so that the diffusion hangs down in the middle, which will further soften and spread the light). If this setup is lighting the walls too much, you can skirt around the kino with duvetyne.

To this you can add a soft key just to fill in the eyesockets from the toplight from the spot you defined. You may not need any fill from the other side, or very little.

Personally, I might not worry about a backlight for this sort of setup, certainly not a hard one. I might be inclined to do a row of 2x4 kinos behind and above the talent (3 along the back, one each along the sides) if the shoot was high-end enough to require it, but that's a fair amount of rigging and cabling.

Nathan DuMoulin August 25th, 2007 06:47 PM

Thanks Charles.

The whole overhead diffused light makes perfect sense. It seems to me that they light pool on TV this way. The added key should also help soften the shadows under the pool balls.

I am however, confused about the row of backlights. Wouldn't the overhead light be acting as a sort of backlight already? Or is it too soft for that?

Sorry for all the questions. I really appreciate the help.

Charles Papert August 25th, 2007 07:16 PM

Not for the player (unless bent over the table). As I said, this feels somewhat optional to me. I'm not a stickler for backlights in general, they have their place but especially with shooting narrative work I will often omit them.

If the walls surrounding the pool table are already bright (white or off-white) and the player separates just fine against them, I don't think you need the backlight. If they are dark and your lighting doesn't lift them up to the point where a dark-haired player gets lost against them, a backlight will help. The line of Kinos will ensure a nice soft texture to the hair and edges around the shoulders from any angle without throwing shadows onto the table.

Nathan DuMoulin August 25th, 2007 07:58 PM

Perfect. The back wall is fairly light in color, so it sounds like I might be fine without the backlight.

I intend to build the set well in advance of the shoot. I'll have several weeks to experiment with the lighting before we record any footage. Thankfully I'll have some people on set that will know more about this stuff than I do. I just want to get a general idea of how things will work (for peace of mind and budgeting purposes). That's why one of my questions was about rental costs.

Speaking of questions, my last question for now (hopefully) is concerning the size and wattage of the lights. You mentioned the overhead could be a 4x4 Kino, but what should I use for the key (and fill, if needed)? These lights will be a good 10-12 feet away from the subject.

Charles Papert August 26th, 2007 12:14 PM

I believe that you could achieve what you need to do with another 4x4 kino, although you should have an extra one that you can place on the other side as well (resulting in 3 total). Otherwise a 1K with Chimera will do the job, the difference being that the eggcrates on the Kino will keep the light from lighting up your back wall as much. Chances are you will be knocking down the front light a bit from full output anyway, as this is functioning more as fill.

Regarding that top light, as I said the most desirable unit would be a chicken coop made to order (series of photofloods in a trough with diffusion at bottom and duvyetyne skirt) as it would better match the dimensions of the table. The 4x4 Kino is going to be a bit short edge to edge for a full-size table, meaning that you may see some falloff when the player goes to either side of the table. One solution would be to run two 4x4's edge to edge (making an effective 8x4).

Nathan DuMoulin August 26th, 2007 06:19 PM

Thanks for the input Charles. Your input has helped me immensely.

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