Advice?: Lighting/camera settings for black/white skin 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 October 29th, 2003, 02:13 PM   #1
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
Advice?: Lighting/camera settings for black/white skin

Hi,

I'm looking for advice on lighting/camera settings for shooting white and black skin - in the same and separate scenes.

I have two actresses who will be playing opposite each other,

* one is very dark skinned - as dark if not darker than Grace Jones
* the other is a very fair skinned blonde - think Darryl Hannah even more fair

Notes:
- We're using several MiniDV cameras - Optura Pis and GL-2s.
- The scenes are supposed to take place at night and in dimly/oddly lit surroundings. So day for night shooting techniques would also be useful.
- I'll also be adding in CGI effects using After Effects and AlamDV

Thanks in advance for any advice.
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 29th, 2003, 02:50 PM   #2
Warden
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,267
Can you warm the light? That is the easiest, but least night like. Or are you going after neutral or cool (for the night look)?
__________________
Jeff Donald
Carpe Diem




Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Where to Buy? From the best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Jeff Donald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 29th, 2003, 03:22 PM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
Currently, we're imagining the lighting to be like film noir, but with color. Hard lights with strong contrasting shadows, but we're still in the pre-production stage, so that may change.

The story is an adventure - think Indiana Jones style, but it's set in a more magical world, so the warm lighting might work, when we do day for night.

Does the warm lighting help with shooting black/white skin? My two actresses will be playing equally balanced/opposing characters/forces so I want to make sure the lighting captures that - kinda like a Yin Yang thang :-)
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 29th, 2003, 08:29 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 112
My quick answer would be to use spotlights on each actress, and control the intensity of each with barndoors. This is a real tough problem that is talked about in Jackman's book. The angle of each light is very important (to minimize the shine problem).

A few years back, Jim Jarmusch did a film where he had a similar problem. Forrest Whitaker was the black actor. The lighting was imperfect, and Forrest looked blacked-out. So don't feel bad if you mess up. The dp and lighting guy on this film did so, but the film survived on its other merits, i.e., the story.
Marc Young is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 29th, 2003, 09:03 PM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
I wouldn't use barn doors to control the light, I'd use Scrims and even ND filters. Probably have to use lights with Fresnel lens to keep control of the light.

In Day for Night, you may only have to add light to the darker skin to make it come out OK.

Your choice of cameras makes it more difficult than it has to be. Have you though of renting a high-end pro camera for the difficult scenes? They have more powerful digital signal processing and do better in these difficult scenes.

To control shadows, I'd think about using a silk over the top to diffuse the sunlight and get rid of shadows.

Hope you have a makeup artist on the crew. That person can make a great deal of difference to the success of the lighting vis-a-vis the shiny spots.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 30th, 2003, 03:31 AM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
Thanks for the replies that gave us some stuff to start experimenting with.

We're probably going to do a combination of all the stuff you guys brought up and we're going to rent a higher end camera to see what that will give us, and duh, I forgot about the makeup artist! I called her in so now she's eating pizza and helping us brainstorm :-)
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 30th, 2003, 10:55 AM   #7
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
Posts: 1,261
dark skin looks fabulous when you bounce light ( 4x4 foam core). the skin picks up the sheen from the white card ... but then bounce light is difficult to shape ... you may have to have a few speacial lights on darker person ? try a 100-200w pepper type light with 216/opal diffusion on it near camera ( similar to eye light ) and adjust bar doors so it is only on darker person ... try to keep bounce board ( 12"x12" , 20"x20" whatever size that will not be seen by camera and fits location - wall , floor- anywhere to put the sheen on skin ) near person ...
Don Donatello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 30th, 2003, 12:17 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Northridge Ca
Posts: 734
The very best thing you could do, would be to schedule a day to shoot tests. This is what film people do all the time. You have received a number of possible solutions, but you will never know what works to your liking until you actually shoot some footage. And the last place you want to start experimenting is on the actualy shoot.

BTW, if you want to see a film which features some absolutely gorgeous looking Black skins, check out "The Mighty Quinn" from about ten years ago. It was Denzel Washington's first starring role.

Wayne Orr, SOC
Wayne Orr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 30th, 2003, 04:09 PM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
Actually my "crew" is testing/playing with all the ideas you gave us right now.

I'm just making sure there's enough food for everybody. There's no official "shooting" schedule until we work out all the pre-production kinks.

And I think we're all watching "The Mighty Quinn" tonight :-p
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 3rd, 2003, 09:27 AM   #10
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
As others mentioned, using fresnels to control the light on each person is a key, as well as a higher end camera with better latitude (you might see if you can rent something like a DSR500).

As far as shooting day for night, there are some basics that work with video as well as with film...
-Leave your daylight filter off, or you can white balance to about 4200 or so if that's too blue for your tastes.
-Shoot everything with stong back or side lighting.
-Expose for the highlights (or underexpose by about 3 stops, depending on the camera you're using).
-Make sure there's no sunlight hitting something way in the background. For example, if you're shooting in an alley with good backlight, your scene might look very believable, but if the building down the alley and across the street has sunlight on it, you illusion will vanish.
-Avoid the sky.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2003, 10:43 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 220
Online Tutorial

Michael,

There is an online tutorial you might be interested in.
Go to :

http://www.film-and-video.com/index2.htm#Hellgate%20Pictures%20Homepage.html

Click on "instruction" in the left hand pane, then select "Some thoughts on lighting darker complexions", down toward the bottom of the main pane.
Brandt Wilson 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 01:06 PM.


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