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Old December 20th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #1
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Lighting an interior to match exterior

Hi,

I might be shooting some video at these locations:

http://www.reelinspirations.com/lighting/image_1.jpg
http://www.reelinspirations.com/lighting/image_2.jpg

I'm wanting to light with daylight balanced instruments that are powerful enough so that I can have the video look like the photo with the outside and inside properly exposed.

I've never done anything like this before, and I'm going to have to rent lights and have them shipped here as I'm out in the boonies and they don't rent HMI lights around here.

Any suggestions as to how much/many lights I'm going to have to get to make it look nice?

Thanks,

Jim
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Old December 20th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #2
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Hi there

One option is to use scrims and ND gels on the windows... you can knock down the outside light considerably and more cheaply than chucking thousands of watts of HMI's at your scene...

a few strategically placed tungsten lights with blue gels should then make your lighting more balanced...

chers
Gareth
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Old December 20th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #3
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Don't think about lighting the space, think about lighting the action. An answer to your question depends a lot on what's going to be happening in the space. One really has to think the problems through shot by shot. How many actors? What will they be doing? How much movement? What time of day? What is the mood of the scene? etc.

What camera will you be using? What kind of crew is going to be in the space?
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Old December 20th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #4
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james, the lighting in 1 is okay but a little hot in the foreground. The lighting in 2 is a problem. 1 light coming from the right which cast a horrible shadow. Good lighting should be invisable. These shots look like the outside have been photoshoped.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #5
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Yeah, with that much glass you have few options.

One or two big Arrisun HMIs with appropriate lenses and scrims would let you work all day - but it's a pretty stiff rental expense.

Shooting for 15 minutes at morning or evening magic hour would work if you just need a quick interior shot.

Cutting in that much ND (or better yet ND+3200) for all those windows would be a major hassle.

Pick an approach you can afford and good luck.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #6
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Actually, there won't be any talent. This is a real estate shoot showing off the interior of the homes for a television advertisement.

I don't know if the images were tweaked in any way as I didn't take them.

So, I either use available light W/O HMI's or somehow knock down the light coming in the big windows.

What kind of material is normally used for blocking the light on big windows like these?
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #7
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How big would the Arrisun HMI's need to be?
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Huenergardt View Post
How big would the Arrisun HMI's need to be?
If you're fighting direct daylight, my first "go to" choice would be 12k HMIs - pretty big - pretty expensive. Sorry.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Huenergardt View Post
Actually, there won't be any talent. This is a real estate shoot showing off the interior of the homes for a television advertisement.

I don't know if the images were tweaked in any way as I didn't take them.

So, I either use available light W/O HMI's or somehow knock down the light coming in the big windows.

What kind of material is normally used for blocking the light on big windows like these?
Neutral density gel. Comes in rolls for large window application. Still hard to use.

But if you're just trying to get a good interior shot of the room, it's the prefect situation for shooting at magic hour.

You'd set up your shot before dawn, or before sundown, and roll tape as the exterior light increases or diminishes to match whatever the room lighting conditions are.

But advantage is it's FREE! (just costs you some sleep if you do it in the AM!)
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:55 PM   #10
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Thanks Bill,

So, if I shoot at 'Magic Hour' in the AM or PM (I'd probably do both) will I still need some daylight balanced instruments to light the interior?

Or, can I just use the practicals and let them go orange.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 01:23 AM   #11
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or, you can go old-school and play "ping pong." Depending on where the light is coming from, use a 42" xenon mirror outside to direct light in through a window that won't be in your shot, and "catch" it inside on a bounce of some sort - like ultrabounce. If you need to split it around, use a hard board reflector inside, partially in the beam to direct it to where you need it next - whether that be another soft bounce or something else. Sounds a little crazy and...perhaps even antiquated - but if you're just doing architectural shots and you don't need to maintain the same direction/amount of light all day long, you'd be surprised how much power you can get just bouncing around the sun.

The best gaffer I've ever had the pleasure of working with did things I couldn't believe, just using a few hard boards and frames of diffusion. We had a nice big tow-plant and big HMI's, but he chose ping-pong, and did a fantastic job. Not something you see often (due to the relative prevalence of HMI's), but it was a reminder of how much you can do with how little.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 04:10 PM   #12
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If you haven't seen it here's a post from another thread about matching indoor and outdoor lighting by shooting at "magic hour":
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....81&postcount=8
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Old December 21st, 2007, 10:58 PM   #13
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If you can shoot at different times of the day and pick the spots where the sun is not as bad outside. In other words, if the sun is on those trees in the morning, shoot morning shots on the other side of the house. It's good that there are trees out there, better than just a washed out sky, but with those big windows, it's going to take lots of ND gel or big HMIs. It would probably take you half a day or more with an assistant to gel the windows properly. If you can do that, it may be your most cost-effective thing. ND is around $125 or so a roll.

There's a technique for gelling windows...use a straight edge and exacto knife and foam core to cut it on. Cut it as exactly as you can. Spray the windows with Windex, put up the gel and use a hard squeegee to smooth it and move the bubbles out. If you do it right, it will stay up for days. Some people use a little dishwashing liquid soap in a spray bottle of water, but I like the Windex better.

If you can do the shoot early in the morning and late in the afternoon, you probably could get by with a couple of 1200 and one or two 2500 watt HMIs, but only if you're lucky on the sun and time.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 10:02 AM   #14
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Let me put my two cents into this one. The two images that you are showing most likely were done by still photography using strobe lights, that’s a much more flexible task because, depending of course on the type of still camera that you use, you can control the amount of daylight exposure with the shutter speed and the amount of the interior artificial light (strobes) with the aperture of the camera, the proper combination of the two, also know as syncro-daylight (SP?) will give you the desired exposure. Strobe lights can give out considerably higher burst of light when compared to HMIs. Still guys have a distinctive advantage on these situations, something for you to think about it if all the client needs is stills of the interior. You can still make many moves within the JPEG image in your NLE to give motion, providing of course that the image is of high resolution.

Now back to video. I assume that this is a job of limited budget, please do not take this as an offense but just as a logic, if this was a decent budget the client would not hire someone who has to ask on this board how to light such a sizeable job. There are plenty of DPs out there that specialize in architectural interior set-ups. First renting a bunch of HMI will cost you plenty, a 1.2K open face might be about $150 per day. Also most 2.5 HMI will require 220 current. You are looking at a lot of amps that the existing electrical system might not be able to handle, you might need an electrician first to look over the system. With these many HMI lights we usually hire a generator, more money. You are also talking about some very heavy duty stands, flags, cutters, etc., in few words, and this is where I’m going, hire a grip truck and a gaffer.

With these many lights facing those tall windows, unless the place is so huge that you can place the light away from the angles of reflection you will encounter a nightmare of glare and reflections, some of the lights might have to come from high inside the room, this means big stands, grids and booms.

Also the format that you will use will make a world of difference. Small format such as HDV have a tendency to increase the contrast range making this situation even more difficult, on the other hand a good full size camcorder like a Varicam will give you a greater control of your brightness range.

My suggestion would be to use a time of day when the outside light will be very close to what you can set up inside. Take advantage of all existing lights first, remember, those were placed there by a designer and are part of the décor, gel them with 1/2 CTB to match them to the outside light and use several smaller HMIs or gelled 3.2k Fresnels to paint the interior with lights where needed. At this time of day the exterior will be considerably better with much less contrast. Also let the interior be slightly warmer that the exterior, particularly if you have a lot of woodwork inside.
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