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Photon Management
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Old November 5th, 2009, 11:50 AM   #1
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2001 A space Odyssey

I think its in the sequence of TMA, where there is a room full with people. A presentation of some sort is been given.
I'm interested in the lighting of that room?

Has anyone noticed the walls are the lights. I'd be interested to learn how it was achieved.

If any one has any thoughts or ideas, i'd be interested to learn what the knowledge you have. I've tried searching on the internet and books but nothing has come up.

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Old November 6th, 2009, 01:39 AM   #2
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Not that difficult to do. Make walls out of translucent perspex or similar and put diffused light sources behind them. I've seen scrims used as walls to achieve a wonderous lighting effect. Very large sources are delicious. If you get a chance see Fados by Carlos Saura .
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Old November 6th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #3
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One difference in the 1960s being that they needed to use larger lights, but the basic principles remain.

Of course, with those high wattage lights heat is a problem, which I seem to recall caused problems with the post star gate scenes with the illuminated floor.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:03 AM   #4
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The issue with the scene in question is obviously they didn't have a lot of places to hide fixtures in that room other than behind the translucent panels for those wide shots showing the whole room and all the people. What this means is that you may need quite a bit of light behind there if that's the only lighting you can use. If you can get more creative though and place fixtures elsewhere, it becomes a bit more manageable.

I did a back lit piece for a set once using 1/8" white translucent acrylic and fluorescent lighting behind it as I really favor that kind of back-lit look. I also recall I had to spray it with a dulling spray because it tended to have unwanted reflections on it. Nothing fancy for back-lighting behind the panels, just home depot grade type flo 4 foot shop light fixtures, that's all you need for something like this with today's cameras. Then you just need to control whatever foreground lighting you have to keep it from spilling on the panels and spoiling or overpowering their effect.

For larger areas like shown in the scene you referenced, you'd need to use a thicker grade of acrylic like 1/4" for stability, but the idea is the same. If you want to use those panels to actually light the people and you can't have any other lighting then the fixtures would need to be more powerful or many more tubes than I used.

If you want to get away with less lighting behind the panels, then hide some fixtures elsewhere and control where they spill--keeping them completely off the backdrop. In other words, you'll just need to make sure that your foreground lighting on the subjects doesn't overpower the fluorescents coming through the acrylic.

Overall, this situation is little different from the situation of an interview where light is coming in from windows behind a person. Your choices are to lower the light outside (using ND on the windows as a "dimmer") or overpower it with higher wattage fixtures within the room.

Hopefully that makes sense.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #5
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WOW! Thats great, thanks for the information. I'm going to do a couple of tests with some four foot flo's next weekend. :D

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