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Old January 7th, 2005, 10:41 AM   #1
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Ugly Lighting

Okay, I have a short coming up, that I'd like some opinions on, if you guys are up to it...

The short takes place in a (recreated) prison visitation room and for the first half (before power goes out) I would like it lit with fluorescents to give skin that horrible ugly texture that we see all around us everyday--"ugly lighting" as I call it. I was also wanting the get that green tint that comes from fluorescents that are improperly white balanced. We're building the set from scratch, including all lighting in the room (don't you just love people with unfinished basements...) Anyway, I've never really tried to capture this effect before, and I didn't know what type of fluorescents to buy, what the white balance should be set to (or should I worry about that coloration in post?)

Anyways, any help you lighting guru's could give would be sweet.

Thanks,
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Old January 8th, 2005, 09:03 AM   #2
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You are looking for fluorescents with a low CRI. It doesnt have to be much below 85 or so before the green is very apparent on camera. I have a compact fluorescent that I would swear was identical to a standard warm white bulb with my naked eye (they are installed next to each other in my basement). But when I point my GL-2 that way the fluorescent is throwing green all over the place. It all depends on how much green you want. Lamps with CRI in the 60s should be really nasty and I have seen them at Home Depot

Here is an idea to know exactly what you are getting. Take your camera to your local home store and point it at some fluorescents on display that are switched on with the camera's white balance set on tungstern (indoor). You'll see plenty of green on some of them and can pick the one that suits you.

Unless I misunderstand what you are asking this is simple to do with cheap lamps and far easier to do with the lights than with gels or in post.

Now if you want some really sick lighting take a look at the incandescent lights they are selling as full spectrum/aquarium lighting. Basically they seem to be warm whites with a blue coating on the glass. Throws disgusting blue/orange light that I think would make my fish puke, let alone my viewers. Not the color you are after, I just have a hard time believing major manufacturers are actually selling this stuff. But probably will come in handy someday for a need similar to yours.
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Old January 8th, 2005, 10:01 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot--I guess I never considered actually taking the camera into Home Depot--I'm always a little worried that I'm gonna get shut down...

I'll give that a try.

Just so I know, what does CRI refer to, and does a place like Home Depot sell lights with the correct CRI or temp for normal lighting?
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Old January 8th, 2005, 10:33 AM   #4
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Well I guess that depends on how big the camera is! I would just take a little palm sized miniDV cam if you have one. My experience is that the Home Depot staff see all kinds of things coming in the door and really dont hassle anyone.

CRI stands for Color Rendering Index and is a measure of how good a lamp does in representing natural light. I believe a typical 3200k tungsten movie light will be 100 and Kino-type fluorescent about 98. I'm not an expert but once you get above 90 it shouldnt be an issue for a video camera if you want good light.

You find the CRI on some fluorescent packaging or tubes but not all.

It's hard to find good lights at the Depot. Halogen sources are fine on the CRI but they tend to be low on the color temperature, some as low as they usual warm white, like 2800-2900K. Others are closer to the 3200k standard. You probably have to research the buld specs online before you buy.

You might find fluorescents with a decent (>85) CRI, but again many have been set to a low color temp to match incandesents and others are all sorts of weird color temps, like 4200, 5000, or 7000, or whatever.

The best luck at Depot I have had is with the little stick lights per Walter Graff:
http://www.film-and-video.com/broadcastvideoexamples-30bucks.html

But I threw out the bulbs for some better ones.

I would just build your set with standard flo fixtures and let your camera pick out some nasty tubes. For good lighting I would look elsewhere than home depot. If I was starting out on a minimal budget I would look at these:

http://www.rostronics.com/products.asp?cat=27
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Old January 8th, 2005, 10:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info...

We have a pretty decent lighting kit already, I guess the question about good flo's was mostly to see if those instances where I know I'll be shooting in someone's office with crappy flo's, if I could just swap out the bulbs (if I knew ahead of time) instead of trying to gel a whole crap load of lights...

Again, thanks for the info...
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