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Old January 3rd, 2005, 01:23 PM   #1
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lighting challenge

i posted a few days ago about a window-french door related problem on an upcoming shoot. now that it has been more or less solved, i can get to the nitty-gritty of lighting this shoot. the challenge is this: the director wants the camera free and hand-held, able to move through the environment at will and, specifically, circle a table where a family is having dinner. he prefers a 'rougher, truer' look, and doesn't want alot of 'unnatural' light. because the camera has to circle, i can't really bring in my prized set of lowell's to light this scene; granted, i can hide a few, but the bulk of the light has to come from recessed overhead fixtures. they take 100W bulbs, so i'm dumping 2700K light all over the scene. my question is, will that 2700K wrestle with my 3200K lowells and disrupt my white balance? will a 1/8 cto over the tungstens match my light better? or will the incandescent bulbs add an appropriate holiday warmth to the scene? i'll have my first opportunity to experiment tonite when i go to build my exterior rig, but i'd love some input from anyone that has some relevant experience with this.

one more quick question: does a frosted light bulb have a significantly different color temperature than a clear one? i've searched both the archives and the internet, and i'm awaiting a response from philips corporate site, so i figured i'd throw it out there...
Christopher Harring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2005, 01:26 PM   #2
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Not sure about your ceiling clearance... but I shot a "round table" once with a china ball overhead (So its coming from the right "direction") and 3200k bulb in it.
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Old January 3rd, 2005, 02:00 PM   #3
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i was thinking of throwing a china lantern up on the ceiling; the room is so big, that it couldn't be the primary light source, but it could probably help amp up the ambient light and soften some of the overhead lighting. i'll give it a shot tonite.

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Old January 3rd, 2005, 02:00 PM   #4
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It will affect the white balance but you can manual white balance the scene in the camera. You would want to do this anyway so it doesn't have a tendency to shift as you are moving around the table. I never use the presets for white balance in the camera, I always shoot a "white card" beforehand and check the planned moves to see if there will be a color shift in different areas so I don't get surprised in post.
Why can't you get some color corrected bulbs to fit in the fixtures of the current 100W lights?
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Old January 3rd, 2005, 05:54 PM   #5
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Here are a few thoughts, Rhett.

First of all, don't be too quick to lose those 2700K bulbs in the ceiling, especially if they are illuminating the background walls. Nothing wrong with having your background warmer than the foreground. Especially in what is already going to be a rather flat lighting scheme.

The china ball is a fine idea, but be aware that used in this kind of scenario they tend to cause a lot of flaring, so you will have to be careful. This is why when pro gaffers do a similar effect using a "chicken coop" over a table, they will hang a "teaser" of black duvetyne around the coop to keep the light isolated on the table. And if that china ball is putting out enough light, it will end up lighting the back walls and now things really get flat. So you might consider hanging a softbox from the ceiling if you have the height, and point it straight down on the table. Put a dimmer in line with it so you can try various levels and see what looks best. Experiment with the height also. You want it to cover the people at the table and then drop off to give you some separation.

Another trick that takes some choreography: have an assistant hand carry a softbox. He or she should be out of camera sight at about a ninety degree angle, either right or left of you. They move with you. If done properly, the soft light will add modeling to the players, but not be obvious as you move around the table. This takes a little practice and a sharp assistant.

You can also stash lights on the floor to light background areas, such as paintings on a wall, but keep them down in intensity from your actors. Also don't forget to light hallways and rooms seen in the background.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old January 3rd, 2005, 06:06 PM   #6
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I would go with the incandescents, they will add that holiday warmth you referred to, and the difference between incandescent and tungsten is pretty slight on camera for the most part. I regularly use 1/4 CTO or CTS on tungsten instruments to create a warmer look anyway.

The quality of light is more of an issue. A china ball is a good idea for a table scene, just make sure to run a skirt around it to control the spill on the walls. One advantage to this approach is that you will minimize the effect of multiple can lights on the actors i.e. double nose shadows etc. If you go this way, I would also recommend having a small eye light (one of your Lowels perhaps) knocked way down and free-floating to help with close-ups as the lantern may have to fly too high to dig into the eyes.
Charles Papert
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