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Old July 19th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #1
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Lighting tips for lighting office location

Hi everyone,

So, I'm in a bit of a tough spot. I have to light this lobby to make it look like a typical office. By typical office, I mean the tone has to look something similar to offices you see with flourescent lighting

I have a bunch of tungsten lights, but all they do is make the location look more...um..."romantic". I'm trying to make it look like a typical office (ex. the last picture).

Our budget is, like, zero. So we're looking for the cheapest methods. So far, we are thinking of just buying flourscents to shine on the spots we want to film. Would that work?

Thanks in advance for your help,
Kareem
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Old July 19th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Its a shame you have to "uglify" the lighting to match a typical office but I understand.

Think about how the light works in a typical office environment. You typically have four bank fluorescents firing downward, sometimes with some fill from windows and sometimes not. The proper way to light this would be to buy enough cheap fluorescent fixtures to light up the area that will be seen on camera and fill them with either color corrected Kino tubes or use the color temp changing sleeves (essentially gel tubes that fit over and color correct cheap, ugly non-video fluoro T-8 tubes. The idea is to get the same ugly quality of light present in a typical office environment but to reduce the amount of green cast that non-color corrected tubes have although with video, you can cheat the white balance and or correct that cast in post, just shoot a chip chart.

Your real challenge will be how to mount these lights and determining how many of the fixtures you will need. How large of a field of view does your widest shot need? Obviously you won't be able to see the ceiling or you will see your improvised office lights hanging down from the ceiling. How big is the scene? Walk and talk or a two shot in a cubicle? You have to give us a clue about how big of an area you need to light up.

You can do this pretty cheaply as long as you don't need to light up a large area. If it is just a cubicle or reception area, You could do it with as few as four fixtures and I think you buy these fixtures for garages for like $8.00 ea. at Lowes. You won't be able to achieve this exact look very easily with regular video lights, you need larger sources from directly overhead and buying some cheapo ones and rigging them above the scene is probably the easiest and cheapest way to do so unless you have a five ton grip and lighting truck at your disposal.

Dan
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Old July 19th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #3
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Or you could simply use the white ceiling as a "fixture" and bounce hard lights off of it. Office light tends to mean strong top light, as well as daylight ambient from the windows. If you can't do fluo fixtures on the ceiling, then bounce hard (color corrected) sources off the ceiling for your top light and use diffused sources for your ambient.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #4
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I'd be quite content using my redheads, all with diffuser and bouncing off the white ceiling. If it looks bright white and as shadow free as you can manage, it will look pretty good. I will get hot, though.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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Thank you for all your help. I have been researching your advice, and am going to my local film store tomorrow to pick up supplies.

I can purchase florescents, but I can't hang any of them in the office. The good news is, the script changed, and all I really have to light is two small areas in the office (pictured below).

Dan: You mentioned gels. Could I get a specific kind to color correct my tungstens?

Additionally, I have one scene in an elevator lobby that also uses flourescent lighting, and is giving me that "green" tint. Can I just color correct that location using a chip chart when I white balance?

Perrone: Thank you for helping me yet again. How would I color correct my tungsten lights if I wanted to bounce them off the ceiling?

Thank you for your help.

Paul: What are redheads?
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Old July 20th, 2009, 11:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kareem Dimashkie View Post
Thank you for all your help. I have been researching your advice, and am going to my local film store tomorrow to pick up supplies.

Additionally, I have one scene in an elevator lobby that also uses flourescent lighting, and is giving me that "green" tint. Can I just color correct that location using a chip chart when I white balance?

Perrone: Thank you for helping me yet again. How would I color correct my tungsten lights if I wanted to bounce them off the ceiling?
You have to choose a predominant light. Either your provided lights will be the overall brightest thing in the room (in which case you color balance your camera for them and gel any other source), or you let dayylight/ambient light be the primary source and you gel your tungstens to match. Until you know make this choice, AND you know what color temps you'll be working with, it's impossible to know which gel you will need.

To change your Tungsten sources to daylight, you will use some strength of CTB (Color Temperature Blue) gel. Full CTB will take your 3200K lights to 5600K. But you will lose two stops of light doing this. A half CTB gel will take your tungstens to 4300K, and you will lose 1 stop of light doing that.

To combat the green from the fluorescents, I'd honestly recommend you change out the tubes in them temporarily if you can. If you cannot do that, you'll have to gel them somehow with a minus-green gel. That will correct the problem to a great degree.

The devil here is mixed lighting. When you shoot, you'd REALLY like to get all your lighting sources color matched, and then you can start playing around with practical lighting in the scene for effect. But when you have mismatched lighting everywhere, it just looks a mess.
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