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Old April 25th, 2009, 02:31 PM   #1
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Night Music Video

I am starting Pre-Production for a music video soon,
The video will feature a band playing at night in the middle of the forest.
I need to make a lighting plan for the shoot.
Does anyone here know of a music video with a similar night scene I can look at for reference?
I want the video to have very high contrast, "blue steel" look, so Day for Night would not work for me.
From searching this forum I figured I should use 4-6Kw HMI's (up high in the back) to simulate moonlight, plus fresnels with CTB (with chimeras?)for fill, as well as additional fixtures to light the background to add depth.
Any things I am missing?
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Old April 27th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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I shot a band at night up on top of a bus. We backlit them with a couple of HMIs, both 1200s as I recall, and front lit with a single HMI that was diffused way down because we didn't want to lose the heavy backlight. We filled the bus front with a single 575 HMI, also diffused. The 1200s were overkill, but that's what was available; both were diffused with double layers of Lee 205. It sounds like you're on the right track. You've got to put some light on the background areas so they won't turn into black holes, but don't overdo it--a little goes a long way at night.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 02:22 AM   #3
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Thanks.
What do you think of using Kino Flo for fill?
Thought they might match the HMI's better.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #4
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I agree, with the 5500 lamps, that would be better probably than tungsten lights gelled. I've done some exterior night shooting with Lowel Caselight flos with 5500K lamps. Worked great. Last one involved a guy with a flat tire off the side of the road at night. I used two Caselight 2s and one Caselight 4.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:05 PM   #5
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1200's at nite are REALLY small. ok, maybe if its a small shot you can get away with it, but realistically, if you want to light up woods, you at least one condor and a 6K PAR for starters. I'd go with 2 condors and 2 6K's as a starting point. if you are stuck for cash, 4K pars would be ok too. you could get away using small lifts with a range of 30-40ft. you could also maybe try lower heights, and pan them up for a different look if on a budget.

either way night ext needs either 1 or more big lights, or lots of small lights hidden all over the place. lots of power & cable either way.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info Steve!
The area I will be lighting with the HMI's will be kinda small - 600 sq. feet at max.
Do I still need 6K for that?
One thing I really don't want is to over light the scene - the idea is to make
it very high contrast - I need a lot of shadows around - the ambiant lighting
needs to be very low.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #7
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you were talking about lighting up trees at night, weren't you ? I was thinking you wanted this bunch of trees lit up, and had a condor to put the light up.

for that size area, a 2.5K would work pretty well or 2 1200's that you could pan across the area a bit.

that said, lighting is only 50% about placement of the light, the other 50% is in controlling it so it doesn't go where you don't want. having several black 8X8 solids or larger IN FRONT of the band to soak up any bounce will help you get a pure back lit look. also having dark flooring / ground will also help. light colored ground will bounce the light back... maybe just enough to see something, maybe too much. depends on the look

with bounce controlled, a select number of lights could be used to open the foreground / front. make some leco's would work well since you can cut them down to put light exactly where you want it, and they have a harder look.

then again, maybe a couple of 2 bulb kinos for just a little bit of fill.


but going back to the original question, what are you doing with the surroundings ?
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Old May 11th, 2009, 02:13 AM   #8
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The forset needs do give depth to the scene of the band playing, not more.
I was thinking of placing some 650w ARRI's with CTB around to do just that.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arbel Rom View Post
The forset needs do give depth to the scene of the band playing, not more.
I was thinking of placing some 650w ARRI's with CTB around to do just that.
Look, there simply is NO formula for this.

You're not actually shooting "a video" you're shooting a series of individual scenes that will eventually make up a video. And each scene will need it's own approach if you want the end result to have real quality.

Who are the stars? Are the ban members all equal? Do they each get equal time in the video? Is the drummer exceptional. If so, shouldn't you light the drummer scenes to show exactly how exceptional he or she is? Since the drum kit probably has 30 surfaces that contribute to the sounds it's making - someone has to think up a lighting plot that makes his or her use of those 30 surfaces VISIBLE.

Same with the bass player. Are you shooting a band, or band members. Are they musicians, or just wannabee rock stars. If it's the latter, just have all the band members thoroughly wash their hair - rim light the heck out of them, and have them toss their hair around as wildly as possible. (I'm joking, but not really all that much)

This is the point of producing and directing. You have to understand your subject - then find a visual approach that REVEALS the distinctive qualities of the subject to the audience.

If the lead singer is pretty - the lighting should make them prettier. If the lead singer is sinister, the lighting should inspire foreboding in the viewer.

Is the forrest important? Is the song about ecology or ancient rituals or something else that motivates having the video set in a forrest? If so, great. But then the next step in thinking is should the light be naturalistic or contrived. You might want to use anything from a large campfire, to lanterns, to highway flares, to the aforementioned HMI's to get what you want - but for my money you've NOT ONLY got to know WHAT you want - but WHY you want it.

Then the lighting plot becomes easier because every equipment decision becomes not "what do other people use" but rather what do I need in equipment to accomplish what THIS video needs.

Yeah, you can make the ride cymbal shine with a 12K hmi. You can also do that with a flashlight, with a Arri 150 fresnel plugged into a car inverter, or with a campfire and an overhead mirror on C-stand with a gobo arm and grip head.

The key is to know you need the shot - and to make sure you have at least ONE of those out in the woods when you need it.

Good luck.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 12:36 AM   #10
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CTB is 1 2/3 stop light loss, so a 650 becomes about 200w. even a 650 is nothing when doing nite ext. I've done enough of these things to know, you simply need bigger lights and enough power. ... well ok, you could shoot at 12 or 18db of gain, but that is another thing. lets assume you want to stay at 0db, and an ISO of about 320

if you look on arri's website, you can get the photometics of the light at 20, 30, 40ft ( 7,14,28m ) and know what light level you'll get, convert from FC to LUX, and then actual exposure. shooting the camera wide open, you want white highlights on the edges of trees, so that would be 4-6 stops over wide open, or more like a 2K tungsten + CTB = 575HMI.

if you have 10-20 650's maybe you can get something, but that is a lot of work to cable and power. I've done this... even a couple of 575 HMI's would work better, but a couple of 1200's would probably be your best bet. you never have too much light for nite exteriors, you can always cut light, but you can't make up for what isn't there.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 09:08 AM   #11
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Thank you both Bill and Steve for the info!
well Steve, I would love to use more HMI's, but i'm afraid there just
too expensive to rent here in Israel.
From what your saying i'll probably need to use 1K tungsten lights for the background.
Another question - what about the use of fog machine to give extra volume to the lights? (with great care not to over use it)
Do you think it will look good at night?
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 06:55 AM   #12
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Well - Here is the final Music Video:

"White Night" (Layla Lavan) Music Video on Vimeo

The lighting was indeed complicated,
but I like the result.

thanks to all those who helped!
Arbel.
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