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Old January 21st, 2004, 01:46 PM   #1
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Lighting, shooting a firedance performance

This February I will be shooting a firedance performance.

I feel stuck because such a shoot calls for seemingly contradicting elements:
- fire must be visible => low light or complete darkness
- fast movement which I'd like to capture (and not have it be too blurred) => shutter = at least 30
- I want to see the body of the performer => some lighting

See some images of what I'd like to do at his web site:
http://fyregod.com/fg_images/fg_images.htm

Lights I own:
- 2 lowell omni lights with barn doors

My thoughts so far:
- put orange/red gel on one of the lights and position it behind and to the right of the performer, just above head level.
- position 2nd light low, behind performer, in such a way that the light doesn't hit the camera
- have him move parallel to the camera so I don't have to rely on autofocus
- have him prepare a routine with mimimal movement through space.

setting as I see it right now:
Code:
        L2(blue gel)          



                                      L1(red gel)
<----P---------->



         C(amera)


P=Performer. He'll be moving side to side only to make it easier to maintain focus.
However, I think the photos were made without artificial light and I am afraid my dvx100a won't let me do this without too much gRain(tm).

I need your advice on:
- best camera settings (I will use manual focus/shutter/iris and will do at least one 24p or 30p take)
- lighting suggestions (I have very little experience)

Once I do the shoot I will post a clip and a description of the set up.

Thank you!
-- Andre
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Old January 21st, 2004, 03:35 PM   #2
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Wow, Andre... I'm all ears as to what people have to say. I was about to post a question about a campfire (kids performing) and shooting with Omnis. I have the DVX100, too, but not the new "a". Now I have a question for you...

Re the Omnis, I'd never tried to shoot off the car battery before, but when I did, as opposed to the great light off regular house current, I got a whimpy orange glow and that was it. Didn't matter if the car was on accessory or not. Surely the car battery has more kick that battery packs one straps on. Any feedback?
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Old January 21st, 2004, 03:57 PM   #3
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Omnis+car battery

never tried that. I am thinking of running a long cable from somewhere...
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Old January 21st, 2004, 04:13 PM   #4
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I shot fire dancers in Hawaii a bunch of times and it turned out great (no extra lighting-but shot tight). If you have a good fire, and are shooting with it in between you and the dancer so he is front-lit, it should work okay.

If I understand your chart, I would put the orange light low and to the front, and have your blue/night/background light off to one side and lighting the background for some depth.

The front light might kill some of the cool effect you'll get from the flames. I'd make sure you have a consistant flame height so the light level dosen't change too much.

All of this is pretty subjective, and I would say shoot some tests before you go for a take. Dont be afraid of the shadows- it might look cool.

Good luck,

Jeff Patnaude
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Old January 21st, 2004, 04:15 PM   #5
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Hey Marcia,
the reason your lights were wimpy and orange was because they were seriously low on voltage. You can use a DC converter available for RV's which would give you a couple of AC plugs. Or if audio isn't a concern a small generator works okay too.

Just my two volts..I mean cents,
Jeff
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Old January 21st, 2004, 04:57 PM   #6
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Thanks, Jeff. Will check around for that. BTW, do you have a favorite battery set up? Type/brand? Length of time you can shoot off it?
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Old January 21st, 2004, 10:29 PM   #7
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Use standard car batteries for this.

I can run a 100 watt NRG light or two intermittently for a weekend (an on-time of probably 4 hours per day) without charging although the lights are getting a bit weak at the end. They will run fine for one day with no problems if your turn them off between takes.

For inexpensive 12 volt lamps, go to Home Depot and buy the MR16 Halogen bulbs, type EXN. They are 50 watt, 12 volt lamps with a built-in reflector (kind of a projector bulb). They have a glass cover so you don't have to worry about exploding halogen bulbs, they have a dichroic reflector (lets much of the heat escape to the rear) and they work very nicely.

For sockets, either buy the strip-light lamp fixtures and throw away the transformer or just modify them to accept 12 VDC from a separate source and keep the 120 VAC power capability. Or I suppose you could go to an electronics store and get push-on connectors that would mate with the power pins that project from the rear of the lamp.

Anybody know where to get ceramic sockets for these lamp styles?

Probably somewhere someone makes a clamp that will hold these lamps around their rim and allow one to point them very nicely.

Next question: Anybody know where we could find fresnel lenses in a matching size?
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