Lighting a night bonfire scene at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Photon Management
Shine an ever-loving light on you.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 11th, 2007, 12:01 AM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 12
Lighting a night bonfire scene

I am shooting a scene for my feature that I need a little help on equipment wise. The scene is set in an open field at night, with a bonfire being the main point of action. Two actors stand by it and drop something in to burn it.

The sky is really the limit as far as budget, but crew and time are a factor, so no balloon lights. I am looking to rent from CSC in New York.

Obviously, there needs to be a strong moon source. Would my best best be an HMI? If so, what wattage? I am also thinking of peppering the background woods with some smaller fixtures.

As far as lighting the talent, I'm not sure. I want the flames to be a main source of key light, so how should I punch up the glow? Any suggestions would be very helpful, so thanks in advance.
Kevin Harrington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2007, 04:44 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,120
It depends on the size of your field, but it sounds like you'd be using a 12K HMI, perhaps more units depending on your location. Using them as backlight across the the field works really well, for best effect a hoist of some sort would really help create a moonlight effect. You can use Kinoflos for moonlight fill.

For the bonfire light, you can use gelled tungsten lights - orange or CTO according to taste and you can apply a flicker effect.

You can use the light from the bonfire, they're usually bright enough
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Posts: 1,538
Since you say budget isn't a great concern, I'd echo the idea of bringing in MORE light for the trees/backgrounds rather than less.

My thinking would be that in today's NLE editing era, if my original scenes had MORE light and background definition then I wanted in post - I could always use garbage mattes and digital correction to dim and de-emphasize any part of an overlit background I don't like. But if the background isn't reflecting enough light in the first place, there's nothing you can really do to bring it up.

So this is a case where more might actually be more.

Something to think about anyway.

Good luck.
Bill Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2007, 07:48 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Little Rock
Posts: 1,383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Harrington View Post
The sky is really the limit as far as budget,
Then rather than guessing and throwing your money away for a shot that might not come out. Do it right... Hire a grip truck and lighting director.
David W. Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2007, 08:47 AM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
No real necessity for a strong moon source as you suggested, as you will have plenty of contrast in the scene due to the bonfire itself and the scene will play more realistically without a cool backlight. Giving the trees in the background a pop will indeed add depth--you can use Molepars or open face 1ks as uplights, or rake a length of trees with larger units.

Intriguing that you have an unlimited budget for gear but not for crew...? Cabling for the units in the background will take quite a while, you'll still need a bunch of guys for this especially if you intend to shoot in multiple directions.

You can augment your bonfire lighting with some larger units on variacs.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2007, 09:50 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,120
If it's only a couple of wide shots you could shoot at dusk, with the trees barely silhouetted against a near black sky (usually an extremely dark blue) with the bonfire burning in the field. Leaving the camera on tungsten preset, it's a matter waiting for the best moment for the best balance of the sky and the bonfire - it can look extremely effective.

You can then move in for your close shots as required.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2007, 01:13 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Tampa-Orlando, FL
Posts: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Harrington View Post
As far as lighting the talent, I'm not sure. I want the flames to be a main source of key light, so how should I punch up the glow? Any suggestions would be very helpful, so thanks in advance.
Careful when trying to use the flames to illuminate the subject, particularly if you are also trying to keep the fire in the image. The light reflected off the faces might be several stops darker than the flames and it might be difficult to get an overall correct exposure. You might want to use some Fresnel lights to bust the lighting from the fire. You might need to experiment with red or orange color gels depending what your lights will be, tungsten (3200K) or HMI (5600K). The color of flames is about 1800 degrees Kelvin.
__________________
NinoMedia Productions - EFPLighting.com Advanced Lighting and Gripping Workshops
Nino Giannotti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2007, 08:55 PM   #8
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
Posts: 1,261
2 80ft condors ... 2 6k HMI pars ... 2 12kHMI fresnel ... 6 1200 par HMI's ...
and assorted tungsten 200- 2K's and i'm pretty sure i can light it any way you want it without seeing the script or scouting the location .....
Don Donatello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 12:24 AM   #9
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 12
Thanks for all the replies guys. The reason the budget isn't a concern and crew is, is that my friend is very wealthy and pretty much shooting this in his free time. I'm helping gaff, but since we're shooting over Christmas, the availability of crew is obviously limited.

I'll definitely run all these suggestions past him.

The field is pretty big, I'd say about a football field's worth of open space surrounded by trees. The action is very condensed to one area according to him, so I'm going to be discussing with him how wide he wants the master shots.
Kevin Harrington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #10
New Boot
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 12
Forgot to add, that we WILL have a sizable crew, just mostly film students and not actual pro's so complex set-ups is something I'd like to avoid, otherwise, I'm gonna talk to the DP/Producers and look into hiring some freelance G+E guys for the day.
Kevin Harrington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ephrata, PA United States
Posts: 257
I heard someone explain how they shot a night-time campfire scene once. They didn't have any trees in the background (just an open grassland), so they didn't have to worry about that, but what they did do is shine some fresnels THROUGH the fire onto their subjects. Worked very well - I saw the end result.
__________________
Mountjoy! Studios - Promotional Videography & Graphic Design
MountjoyStudios.net
Dale Stoltzfus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Tampa-Orlando, FL
Posts: 124
Rent the movie and look at the campfire scene of Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles, just forget about the sound effects.

That will give you a good idea of how the lighting on a similar set-up was done.
__________________
NinoMedia Productions - EFPLighting.com Advanced Lighting and Gripping Workshops
Nino Giannotti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
"what they did do is shine some fresnels THROUGH the fire onto their subjects."

That is exactly what I did but with one of those super bright battery powered spotlights. They are the ones that use car headlight batteries and cost about $30. I used diffusion and put the light below the camera and to the right aimed through the fire. I framed the fire to the right and the talent a bit to the left. It turned out just fine. Don't forget that you probably need to use full CTO or more to match tungsten to fire.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:01 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network