fakin' da moon 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 August 6th, 2003, 05:04 PM   #1
Slash Rules!
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,723
fakin' da moon

Last night, I tried and failed to light a scene using "moonlight" as well as some other sources. I'm not buying a 5k or 16k light or anything, so I need some advice on faking the moon, on somewhat wide shots (if possible) as well as closeups, with what I currently own. If there's something simple, like rigging up a bedsheet for diffusion, that's ok, but I'm not buying more expensive crap.

Anyway, here's what I have: Two Lowel tota lights, a 650w fresnel, an Arri 300, and four stands, two of which go up to 13 feet. I have a Lee quick location gel pack, and that's it. Can you tell me any way to effectively fake moonlight with what I've got? What are the characteristics of it, that make it look real or fake? Here in Houston, we don't see moonlight much, and I haven't been anywhere where you can in a loooooooong time. Help!

If I can't do this with moonlight, how would suggest lighting exterior night scenes somewhat convincingly using what I have?
Josh Bass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2003, 05:19 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 2,222
I have some 18000 K flourescent lights on my aquariium used in a T12/10 ballast. They're blueish, but they don't give the feel of moonlight.
Gints Klimanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2003, 08:26 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 581
You could rent the lights but that won't be cheap for a 10k or more. Like $150 to $200.

And what do you mean they don't have the moon in Texas?
Rob Belics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2003, 08:43 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
I'm gonna risk sounding stupid here, but could you do something with a car's headlights. Gel them with 1/4 CTB or something and diffuse and bounce the light onto the actors? Maybe trying to get the car higher up than them if you can.

Never tried it so have no idea if it's doable or whether it's as stupid an idea as it sounds. Maybe it wouldn't be any stronger than your current lights.

Cheers
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2003, 12:20 AM   #5
Chimera Lighting
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Santa Cruz CA
Posts: 293
Well.. I think you could try the following.

1. You could use your tota lights with some blue gel and work the white balance and exposure to get the look you desire. I would suggest a single tota at a distance. u will have to experiment for the right effect. You may want to get a shot of the moon to cut to so the audience gets the idea that the subject is lit by moon light.

2. you can shoot in daylight at adust your exposure and white balance to try to get the look you want. Try using blue gels in from of the lens when you white balance. they do this kind of effect in films all the time by underexposing.

I hope this gives u some ideas to try
__________________
Strength and Honor
RLV
Richard Veil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2003, 12:49 AM   #6
High School Student
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Canton, Ohio, USA
Posts: 609
Re: Well.. I think you could try the following.

<<<-- Originally posted by Richard Veil : 1. You could use your tota lights with some blue gel and work the white balance and exposure to get the look you desire. I would suggest a single tota at a distance. u will have to experiment for the right effect. You may want to get a shot of the moon to cut to so the audience gets the idea that the subject is lit by moon light.

2. you can shoot in daylight at adust your exposure and white balance to try to get the look you want. Try using blue gels in from of the lens when you white balance. they do this kind of effect in films all the time by underexposing.

I hope this gives u some ideas to try -->>>


My attempts at day for night shooting have been unsuccessful.

1. You have to frame the shot so you don't get any sky in the shot, because then you will see clouds and the sky will be much brighter, and it doesn't look like night at all, just darkened (underexposed)

2. It reminds me of lots of 70's films, since this technique was popular then...

Otherwise, if you do it at dawn, or sunset, and don't get any sky in the shot, then it can look good...
Alex Knappenberger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2003, 12:56 AM   #7
Slash Rules!
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,723
First off, no renting. The biggest problem I had last time I tried this is that though I was able to easily light the group of actors and their immediate surroundings, the background was still totally dark. This particular background happened to be a lake and the houses across the lake from us.

Also, though totas throw the broadest spread, when you gel them, the gel has to be in a frame about six inches in front of the the light. The spill from the sides of the tota causes difficulty, as it's 3200k light, and not the same as whatever's being filtered through the gel. I just don't feel day for night is viable--I've seen the 3200k white balance under sunlight, and it still doesn't look quite right, even if you don't see the sky.

I didn't mean to say we don't have the moon in Texas, I meant to say that here in Houston, and in the areas fairly far outside of Houston, the light pollution overpowers the moonlight.
Josh Bass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2003, 01:50 AM   #8
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Josh:

Working with a limited lighting package like you described will obviously force a limitation on the type of shooting you can successfully pull off for night lighting. A scene that takes place (for instance) outside a house, where the background is mostly shooting back at the house, will be pretty easily manageable; a wide vista such as a lake is going to require a whole different approach. If such things could be shot for night with a small tungsten package, that's how it would be done (rather than 12K balloons, Musco lights and the like).

The best advice I can give is that you light the foreground and SOMETHING in the background to create depth. It may even require finding a location that already has enough existing light in the background to read on camera (a billboard, a playground or field with light poles, a bright parking lot, etc) which you can augment with your package in the foreground.

Barring that: Aaron's idea about the headlights may work for this: if the car is parked so that its lights play on the background, that may be a workeable solution. Or, those legendary cheap Home Depot worklights that I hear about all the time in this forum..I'd use a much stronger blue than 1/4 CTB though. Even a full blue doesn't really look all that "moonlighty". Check out some mid-grade theatrical blues for that, but be aware that you will lose a lot of level with these.

Tthe point is that the background light need not be a film light--whatever it takes to get illumination out there, which will create depth in the picture.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2003, 02:56 AM   #9
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX USA
Posts: 2,882
Josh,

Drive to Austin and film at night using the light from the "Moon Towers" that exist in the old town area (they really exist and were made back at the turn of the century...tall towers with several bright lights in a ring to simulate moonlight).

But since I know that probably is too far a drive, follow the advice already given...and all you have to do to solve the "light spill" problem is use more gels taped together. If that isn't enough to take care of the problem, get some black foil. The two combined oughta do the trick.
__________________
John Locke
SursumFilms.com
John Locke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2003, 08:10 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: New York
Posts: 319
I recommomend these for closeups to fake the moon on the cheap.

http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...ductOID=529712

Headlights with CTB is a brilliant idea, if you can get the car elevated than you win. If you can get a car with HID's, then you really win.
__________________
Director: http://www.mediathreat.com
John Threat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 4th, 2003, 09:59 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 79
Don't gel your lights, balance your camera's white balance

If you are using your smaller lights, you'll want every photon available to illum your scene. Rather than throwing a 1/4 CTB over the light, white balance your camera with a 1/4 CTO gel in front of your lens and keep the lights at tungsten balance. Remove the 1/4 CTO and, voila, you've got bluish light in your frame.

m
__________________
Michael Morlan . cinematographer | local 600 operator
http://michael-morlan.net . http://talltalepictures.com
Michael Morlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 5th, 2003, 12:55 AM   #12
Slash Rules!
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,723
But what if you want other colors of light. . .like a porch light from a house, or the glow from a window?
Josh Bass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 5th, 2003, 01:18 AM   #13
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Austin, TX USA
Posts: 2,882
Josh,

Rent "Bandits" with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. They've got some good examples of the lighting you're looking for (look at the "bar on the beach" scene and the "dance on the beach in the moolight" scene).

With both of these, it looks like they white-balanced for the tungsten lighting, then shot the scenes after the sun had dropped past the horizon. The result is that the outdoor shots are really blue, giving it a moonlit appearance, while the lights and neon in the bar have a lot of warmth.
__________________
John Locke
SursumFilms.com
John Locke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 5th, 2003, 01:57 AM   #14
Slash Rules!
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,723
I've seen bandits. . .don't remember the lighting though. I'll try it next time the issue comes up. Thanks.
Josh Bass 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 12:53 AM.


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