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Old November 22nd, 2007, 05:26 PM   #1
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Daytime Lighting - School corridor

Hi,

I need to light a busy corridor scene, 4 main characters plus around 20 extras.

I have access to 3 dedo lights, about a dozen redheads and a few work lights. The main characters will be moving around (steadicam)

Not sure how to go about this; the ambient light in the corridor isnt too bad, although i should probably close down to stop the ceiling lights from over exposing. Faces are still too dull and could benefit from something.

I've attached pics of the corridor im going to be using.

Any advice would be great

Tony
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Daytime Lighting - School corridor-corridor1.jpg   Daytime Lighting - School corridor-corridor2.jpg  

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Old November 22nd, 2007, 06:47 PM   #2
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The ceiling lights don't look too bad in the photos. However, the problem with Steadicam shots is often hiding the lights and not getting Steadicam shadows. Looking at the photographs there doesn't seem to be that many places where you can conceal them.

Are the characters walking the length of the corridor?

If you are, one method would be to use a china ball on a boom, which will give a moving fill light on the faces. You can then try to hide lights on top of lockers, in doorways etc, to provide possible pools of light around your key action and small amounts of backlight. I suspect you'll need to put on some 216. Often, you also need your practicals to help with the lighting.

Usually it's best to block out your shot(s) and see where you can hide your lights.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 01:30 AM   #3
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You are lucky that the lockers have a shelf space on top where you can place some lights out of camera range. You also might be able to clip small lights to the drop ceiling. Of course you don't want all your light coming from above, but you can reinforce the ceiling lights from up there without worrying about them getting in all the shots. If you put the camera over to one side of the hall a bit, you can also put lights just around the corners in adjacent hallways and doorways to add a bit of backlight (light aimed at the back of your talent therefore pointed toward the camera).
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 10:52 AM   #4
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In the rooms shining out as they walk the corridor makes for good practical lighting that you can control the height and direction of to get nice side lighting. China on boom for fill is a great idea.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Ah, the old Steadicam walk in talk in a school corridor--I'd hate to think how many of those I've shot! The way we usually tackle this is as most folks here have wisely said already: moving front fill (china ball is good, or a handheld Kino or equivalent) with pops coming through the doorways. The redheads will work well for this, but you might want to shoot them through a diffusion frame (not the same as clipping diffusion to the barndoors) so they are less "sourcey". A nice look is if the frame is set so that the diffused light plays across the faces, but the raw light hits them from chest down, which gives the feel of sunlight playing into the scene. Very common episodic TV look. Naturally you would want to pick one side of the corridor to represent the sunlit side.

I wouldn't recommend trying to hide lights around the lockers or up in the ceiling except for the very end of the walk, if the characters end up coming to a stop at a specific spot for a conversation. At that point you can add supplemental light as if you were lighting a static shot (don't overpower the look of the rest of the scene), i.e. your walking fill can fade off and be replaced by a stand-mounted fill. Hiding lights in the walking portion can be dicey as you will likely see them as you move down the corridor. Make sure to line up the final camera position to evaluate what you do and don't see.

The ceiling practicals are a bit unfortunate in that they protrude down, it's a lot easier to manage the type that are flushed up into the ceiling. You could minimize the pain by neatly wrapping the sides in black material (duvetyne), and if you can locate and borrow the honeycomb grids that are usually used with fluorescent fixtures in modern installations that can be taped over the bottom of these fixtures, that will further help the appearance of the light once they come into your shot (you won't see as much of the direct heat of the diffuser lens of the fixture). That's a pretty extensive job depending on how long your shot is and how sophisticated you care to get.

The very simplest thing you can do is add the moving fill to beef up the faces and let the rest go.

Careful design of the paths of the extras will help make those 20 bodies seem like more. Plenty of background and a few foreground crosses will keep things looking lively. 20 people is not enough to make those corridors look truly "busy" (that would take more like 50), but you can at least make it look populated.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 01:12 PM   #6
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The problem as I see it will be getting even lighting all down the corridor.

I guess the strip lighting is always going to blow out, but maybe if you ND the bottom surface of the diffusers it will help to reduce the downward light, but keep the side spill, which is giving the soft bounced light.
You could try tin foil in the diffuser to stop light coming out the bottom all together, just keep the side bounced light (I hope I'm explaining this well enough!!)

Or maybe that Lee silver sheet with holes in it. It acts as an ND of sorts, but will bounce some light back into the fixture and hopefully out the sides so it might not be so wasteful, but it's expensive.

If you place bounced redheads all along the corridor you'll see them in shot unless you are very well rehearsed and blocked out. Sometimes there will be space for lighting on the left side sometimes on the right of the corridor. It's bound to give uneven results. I would go with existing lighting, maybe buy better tubes if they have a low CRI, then add subtle fill near the action.

Instead of a china ball, you could simply handhold a redhead, carefully and with gloves, and bounce it off the ceiling above the camera as the shot happens. If it's not too overpowering.

At live events I get an assistant to hold a dedo running on 20w 12v with a lastolite diffuser in front of it. It's held on it's own stand above the camera to give a cameralight look, without looking to false or overpowering.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
...but you might want to shoot them through a diffusion frame (not the same as clipping diffusion to the barndoors) so they are less "sourcey".
Charles, are you referring to having a greater distance between the lamp and the diffuser, or having more area for the diffuser, or both. I ask because on Lowell lights with their frames there is a slight, but no great difference berween using their frames and just clipping the diffusion to a barndoor.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 02:06 PM   #8
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I think Charles is referring to large diffuser frames, like lastolites. That's what I use infront of my dedo, albeit a small lastolite about 15 inches.

Actually I started writing my post and left it for an hour or so, and didn't read Charles post. Sorry. I've driven home from work and thought some more...

But I guess the question hasn't been asked - what look are you hoping to achieve?, what time of day will you be filming? (schools finish around 3.30 pm and it's dark at 4pm in the UK ATM)

Strong redhead sidelight suggesting light in the classrooms to the sides would actually give you the excuse for having further patches of redheads in the corridors maybe.

It is a typical very small English school corridor, not the kind of thing you see on the big screen very often. Probably no more than 8 foot wide.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 02:54 PM   #9
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thanks everyone for your replies.

I'll be filming on a sat morning, the scene takes place in early afternoon, say 2ish. The characters are going to walk about 1/3 maybe 1/2 way down the corridor.

would a dedo light with a softbox on a pole suffice as a moving fill? also with a moving fill how do i prevent the background people from looking unlit? is that where redheads in classrooms comes in?

corridor is pretty narrow and dark, not ideal i guess.

i looked at a couple of others but they were either lit by windows which would blow out or they were just really bright and evenly lit and made the video look flat. (im shooting HDV) any tips for making a bright location look less flat?
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 03:19 PM   #10
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You seem worried about highlights in several of you posts. The fact is they will blowout. But so what I say.

I don't have a problem with window exteriors being blown out, so long as the exposure on the subject is OK and the light doesn't bloom around the subject.

You could always ND the windows of course. I'd use the corridor with the windows, the striplight corridor looks awfully dingy and flouri lighting often has a green cast.

The Dedo with diffuser will work as a moving soft fill, I've never seen a china ball in the flesh, and it's not in you kit anyway. How to keep the background lighting right is up to you.

Basically put redheads wherever you can to get the best look. It's a bit difficult to answer without being there too. Where are you actually shooting?

Maybe someone on here is free to help you out.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 04:39 PM   #11
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Tony:

If a corridor you have access to has windows down one side and it will not be in direct sun when you are planning to shoot there, that will give you the easiest and prettiest light to work in. If you prefer a more moody look, the corridor you showed in the pictures is perfectly workable with the recommendations given above.

The Dedo/softbox combo is perfectly usable as a front fill, as long as you have enough punch for the distance from the actors that you will be working. As far as the actors looking more lit than the background, it's all about ratios--you want just enough fill level to bring up the faces to a comfortable level, but not so much that the source is apparent. You are essentially filling in the dark areas between practicals with your front fill, and giving a highlight to the eyes. Usually I don't even bother with a pole, the fill can be handheld just behind and above the Steadicam.

Most modern fluorescents won't exhibit too much of a green cast on video, but they may have a difference color temperature (cooler/warmer) than tungsten so having an assortment of CTO and CTB is advised. If not possible, simply balance to your tungsten units and let the background be a little funky, it shouldn't look too bad.

Eric:

I was indeed referring to large frames set apart from the lights. I would use 4x4 frames with medium diffusion (light grid or 250 or equivalent) set back a few feet from the doorway, just so that they aren't visible to camera, to give the greatest spread. The redheads would be positioned about six feet further back to fill the frame. If the look was too punchy, you could add a little diffusion to the unit itself, which will knock it down and soften the overall effect even more (for closeups I use a second frame a few feet inside the first). If this level of grip equipment is not available, one can substitute shower curtain or translucent dropcloth hanging off a boom stand etc.

The Lowel frames are a little perplexing when used with units like the Omnis that have their own barn doors--they make a bit more sense if one was to use them with a Tota or V-light, which are need more distance from the bulb than the clamshell design allows when directly mounting diffusion.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 06:42 PM   #12
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If you're using CTB on the redheads, if need be, you can always double up on the lights going the diffusion frames.

There's not that much grunt from a blued up redhead going through diffusion. Although, you might just get enough depending on the sensitivity of your camera and the distances from the subject.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 07:12 PM   #13
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I wasn't recommending full CTB--even if this was simulating daylight, you wouldn't want it noticeably cooler than the overheads. If the flo's were cool whites, it might be worth adding some 1/4 CTB to the redheads. Won't affect the output much.
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Old November 23rd, 2007, 11:34 PM   #14
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Charles, thanks for your reply. I've benefitted from your posts before and always appreciate yur input.

Tony, I had an odd thought- if you do use lights from the side doors, via diffusion frames, you could easily catch them in your frame if your camera is set at a wide angle, which it probably would be. That means you would have to back up the silks/frames from the doorway a bit. And if you are angling them a bit 'forward', i.e., in the same direction as the camera is moving, you would have to make sure which way the door swings, so you actually have space to back up both the frame and the instrument. Also, you might have to flag the light to keep it from reflecting off the face of the door.

OTOH, all this might be totally unecessary bother...the camera frame might pass by the doorways in such a way that it doesn't see any of this.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 02:39 AM   #15
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Eric, that is all part of the design when using this scheme. The frames are set first so that they are as far forward as possible but not visible to the camera as it pulls backwards. It can be useful to rotate them slightly so that they are facing more towards the talent than flat to the doorframe (this may be what you are saying, I'm not sure). The best way to slow down whatever downstream doorframes are affected would be a baffle in front of the frame (at a certain point the whole affair would be best served with a Chimera or Kino with their own baffles) rather than a flag, as it takes a lot of extension to work a soft source and the whole thing would have to back up further into the room, which then makes the flagging even harder, and so on.

I've been trying to find a representative version of what I've recommended but I don't have any of that stuff online, except this music video. The green hallway shots of the band were obviously not meant to be realistic but I used a pretty similar setup, with an LED ring light on the camera and HMI's shooting out the doorways (no diffusion, but cut with flags to hit the bodies not the faces). Like I said, not a great example but maybe it will help somehow.
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