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Old May 19th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #1
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Lighting at night. (I have supplies)

Well I am making a new short film this summer with my friends and I have some serious questions on lighting I will make cliff notes so it's easier to understand.



-I have three 500 watt halogen work lights
-Several 250 watt tungsten lights
-Several 100 watt tungsten light bulbs
-We are shooting at night time in the woods (At a park)
-I have the Canon XL2
-Using a camp fire and making it look like it's the main lighting source
-Going to be using dolly shots a lot
-How can I make my subjects surrounding a campfire look softly lighted (solid light mixed with the flicker of the very dully lit campfire)

-Also what would be a good amount of lighting to light the trees in the BG a little, but I want it to look somewhat natural i.e. -

http://www.boxofficeprophets.com/ima...ers2111803.jpg
http://www.jou.ufl.edu/Pubs/communig...e-jeepers3.jpg
http://videodetective.com/photos/673/028306_18.jpg

- I am fond of the over lit look, considering this will be a teen slasher type of film sort of like Jeepers Creepers.

-What kind of lights would you recommend for lighting a campfire scene?
-How would I go about placing some of these lights, where at?
-What settings work best for night scenes in the Canon XL2?
-Would a bug light (yellow/amber colored, not a bug zapper, haha.) substitute for an amber colored gel directionally placed downward on us for the camp fire scene? Directional or Flood?

-Tips on your experiences, pictures are appreciated as well. :)

Thanks everyone.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 07:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Delish View Post
Well I am making a new short film this summer with my friends and I have some serious questions on lighting I will make cliff notes so it's easier to understand.



-I have three 500 watt halogen work lights
-Several 250 watt tungsten lights
-Several 100 watt tungsten light bulbs
-We are shooting at night time in the woods (At a park)
-I have the Canon XL2
-Using a camp fire and making it look like it's the main lighting source
-Going to be using dolly shots a lot
-How can I make my subjects surrounding a campfire look softly lighted (solid light mixed with the flicker of the very dully lit campfire)

-Also what would be a good amount of lighting to light the trees in the BG a little, but I want it to look somewhat natural i.e. -

http://www.boxofficeprophets.com/ima...ers2111803.jpg
http://www.jou.ufl.edu/Pubs/communig...e-jeepers3.jpg
http://videodetective.com/photos/673/028306_18.jpg

- I am fond of the over lit look, considering this will be a teen slasher type of film sort of like Jeepers Creepers.

-What kind of lights would you recommend for lighting a campfire scene?
-How would I go about placing some of these lights, where at?
-What settings work best for night scenes in the Canon XL2?
-Would a bug light (yellow/amber colored, not a bug zapper, haha.) substitute for an amber colored gel directionally placed downward on us for the camp fire scene? Directional or Flood?

-Tips on your experiences, pictures are appreciated as well. :)

Thanks everyone.

1. The campfire probably won't throw enough light by the time you are done. We did a similar setup. Used a low powered fan on the ground, facing up towards the talent faces and tied bits of tinsel to the mesh of the fan and the light below the fan. This gave a flickering look on the faces because the real light of the fire was actually not bright enough.

2. For a fill from a moon, a china ball... or large beach ball, bigger the better. 3' or more. Hang from a tree and shoot your 250 light in a narrow band if you can to hit the ball and the ball fills from above.

3. Your other lights.. like the 500 watt shop lights.. try to use a diffusion screen or a reflector (they have ugly light) and bring in the light as a fill.

4. Your remaining Fresnel lights use the last 250 as a key, maybe 10' in the air to give the long shadows to make you feel like you are at night and the smaller Fresnel for rim light.

now color.

1. Filter on camera? Good choice, but you will lose at least a stop of light.
2. Filter each light? Maybe, but what a chore, and you will lose at least 1/2 stop on each light with gel.
3. White balance off a non white card. Get a $10 package of colored paper and white balance at night with one of those lights to come up with one of those colored papers acting as a white paper for a cold white balance. something medium to light blue, and see how it looks in the monitor and if you can color correct it easily in your NLE.
4. Do all the color correction in your NLE. Might not be that good. Experiment before hand.

I vote for #3. Keep it just a little blue with shadows boing to dark black. Oh and obviously shoot manual to retain highlights and let 1/4 of the shot to be in dark shadow.

Experiment in your back yard a few times to see if any of what I said is working.. but that's at least a way to start.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 05:58 AM   #3
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Notice that all of your scenes are lit from behind. They use a great big light behind and above the scene. Two of them use fog to hide the source of the light and the other has the light off screen.

Here is what I suggest you try:

Put your biggest lights high up behind your background objects to illuminate their edges and cast them in silhouette. White balance to these lights or use your camera's tungsten white balance. If you want these lights to simulate the moon, try adding a bit of blue CTB gel. Some movies also use a bit of green.

Use less powerful lights to shine THROUGH the fire at your talent. Use amber CTO gel to match the color of your fire. It should be in the neighborhood of 1/2 plus 1/4 CTO (total of 3/4). You may also substitute a bit of red if your fire is mostly red coals. You will need to make sure the "fire" lights don't shine on the foreground of the fire and give away their position. Use barndoors, snoots, and/or black wrap to make the light shine mostly on your talent.

Keep the gain low (zero if you can get enough light) on your camera or your whole scene will be noisy.

No buglights. Gel is cheap and you definitely need at least color temperature correcting gel in your kit. Also get some diffusion to help eliminate hotspots.

To keep the illusion of night, the simplest rule I can think of is to never light the part of your subjects that directly faces the camera with anything but "practical lights" and a bit of fill (an exception is the eyelight). Practical lights are light sources that are objects in your scene. In your case, the firelight and maybe flashlights would be your practicals. In a camping scene, gas lanterns and maybe vehicle headlights would also work. In a city or suburban scenario, streetlights and illuminated signs are also common as well as the city skyline.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 12:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
Notice that all of your scenes are lit from behind. They use a great big light behind and above the scene. Two of them use fog to hide the source of the light and the other has the light off screen.

Here is what I suggest you try:

Put your biggest lights high up behind your background objects to illuminate their edges and cast them in silhouette. White balance to these lights or use your camera's tungsten white balance. If you want these lights to simulate the moon, try adding a bit of blue CTB gel. Some movies also use a bit of green.

Use less powerful lights to shine THROUGH the fire at your talent. Use amber CTO gel to match the color of your fire. It should be in the neighborhood of 1/2 plus 1/4 CTO (total of 3/4). You may also substitute a bit of red if your fire is mostly red coals. You will need to make sure the "fire" lights don't shine on the foreground of the fire and give away their position. Use barndoors, snoots, and/or black wrap to make the light shine mostly on your talent.

Keep the gain low (zero if you can get enough light) on your camera or your whole scene will be noisy.

No buglights. Gel is cheap and you definitely need at least color temperature correcting gel in your kit. Also get some diffusion to help eliminate hotspots.

To keep the illusion of night, the simplest rule I can think of is to never light the part of your subjects that directly faces the camera with anything but "practical lights" and a bit of fill (an exception is the eyelight). Practical lights are light sources that are objects in your scene. In your case, the firelight and maybe flashlights would be your practicals. In a camping scene, gas lanterns and maybe vehicle headlights would also work. In a city or suburban scenario, streetlights and illuminated signs are also common as well as the city skyline.
Actually I don't have any gels and I can't get any online at the moment, unless you have a cheap website with more than 12 included, lol.

Also question on lighting red objects, whenever I film red objects they artifact terribly... I have set the red setting -2 in camera and it'll still do this, anyone have any ideas?
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 07:46 PM   #5
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barbizon.com - they have many local offices and if you need one sheet, they will sell it to you. filmtools.com is another.

FWIW, I've done this too and I'll say this is the time to think about renting 1 large light, and maybe a small gennie. a 1200 HMI par in a Hi Hi roller, even with a C stand removed from its turtle base as extender will get it up 30ft. please note lots of sand bags, stand MUST BE PLUMBED STRAIGHT, and ideally tied off. not a big deal. rental on this should be about $150 per day. a 2.5K HMI is a bit more. you could also rent a 5K tungsten unit for $25-$50 per day too, or 2 2K tungsten lights. honestly the lights you have will do for the foreground, but for lighting up the woods, its litterly peeing in the ocean.

also, for the fire scenes, put the key light on a flicker box which simulates... lights flickering. another cheap rental item. use the right tools for the job to get best results because the time & effort to do them with the wrong ones is more exepensive, and gets 1/2 @#$ results.
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Old May 23rd, 2008, 10:31 PM   #6
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The red artifacts may just be an issue with your camera. It could be that they are going out of NTSC safe range or that there is too much infrared. You can try a hot mirror filter, but there are no guarantees. Just make sure you don't have zebra bars on the red and that may be the best you can get.

A 20" x 24" color gel is only $6.50 at B&H. You need at least some strong (3/4 or full) CTO to match the color of your campfire. You can probably gel 4 halogen worklamps with one sheet. It would make your life easier if you also have some 1/2 CTB to make your tungsten more blue to simulate moonlight or to help match sunlight in daytime shots.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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...Where can I find gels that would best suit night time and dusk/dawn and or Amber gels? Direct links would be appreciate if any of you have tried to simulate these color fx
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Old May 25th, 2008, 01:15 AM   #8
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There is quite a variety of gels at B&H.

I had pretty good success getting a dusk look with some CTO combined with minusgreen. You might want to also try CTS (color temperature straw) to get a bit more yellow/gold look instead of CTO. The dusk-colored light needs to come in from the direction of the horizon and should be a fairly hard light.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...1_4_Minus.html

I think this gel may be what you want. It is probably similar to what I created with CTO and minusgreen.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...lter_Pale.html
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