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Old February 20th, 2009, 02:28 AM   #1
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Tell me how I should light this room?

Hi there,

I can shoot in this coffee shop, and am thinking of using the back room, but the existing lighting isn't great.

Can I adjust the lighting, put some diffuser on there and make it work? Or what minimal lights do I need and how to position?

I'd assume the key light isn't going to be straight on the subject.

What we are shooting are people talking, possibly kissing, so shadows is not our friend here.

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Old February 20th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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Light that's bounced off a ceiling such as you appear to have can look as though it's natural light indoor light without casting shadows; fill and/or key with broad, soft sources that don't overpower the ambient light but add to it (softboxes, umbreallas, lights bounced off foamcore) can give you good levels and ratios without calling attention to themselves. If you need directional light for some more dramatic effect, that's another story, of course. You might think about subtle gels (warm, cool, whatever) to differentiate foreground and background or to provide a directional backlight that looks as if it is naturally sourced (as if coming in a window or something)....HTH /Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team
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Old February 20th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #3
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Old February 20th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
fill and/or key with broad, soft sources that don't overpower the ambient light but add to it (softboxes, umbreallas, lights bounced off foamcore) can give you good levels and ratios without calling attention to themselves.
Just be aware that every reflector or fixture can become a problem if you have reflective surfaces such as eye glasses in the frame. The more items (active or passive) that you use to control light, the more probability of having something big and white show up in a reflection.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:23 PM   #5
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Chinese lantern?
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Old February 20th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #6
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Richard: I was thinking chinese lantern too, either on a c-stand with boom or a polecat. And then maybe some small fresnels to create a "pool of light" for the characters to sit in. Lit from say 30 degrees above?
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Old February 20th, 2009, 10:04 PM   #7
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You have the benefit of a dozen or more ceiling spots that are fully adjustable which should be a great help. Right now they are pointing every which way, but if you are allowed to change them (and I would recommend taking some notes or still pictures so you can reset them back after you shoot), you can use a few of them as edge lights on your subjects and others to pick out various tables or pictures on the wall as needed. It's actually quite a gift to have this available to you; a pre-hung lighting grid!

I would not recommend sitting your subjects against a wall as that will be flat and uninteresting, try to get them in the middle of the room so you have depth in as many directions as you are shooting. As you progress through coverage you can cheat them this way and that to make the room appear bigger and maximize your depth.

You could certainly use a china ball, but they do tend to blow all over a room this size. Depending on how wide your widest shot will be, you might do just as well with a Chimera or similar soft source on a stand that will allow for easier control and repositioning.

By the way, you mentioned that "shadows are not your friend" for a talking or kissing scene--very often this sort of thing works best with a low-key lighting scheme in which much of the face is in shadow (which doesn't mean unlit, just not lit to full exposure).
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Old February 21st, 2009, 12:50 AM   #8
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If it's a drama (kissing), I'd be wanting a lot of shadows. I'd use only a few low power fresnels.

Question, how does one go about getting permission to shoot at Starbucks? You shooting on the low-low?
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