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Old March 2nd, 2010, 09:00 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Part of that is my bad phrasing--the shadow is from the collar, not on the collar. And it's not just about the shadow, as Jim A. clarified, it's about the quality and direction of the light. Although I disagree that uplighting is restricted to horror films. I use low bounces plenty. It's a natural look that simulates when sun bounces off the floor. When it is the only source in play, it looks like a horror film but when mixed with other sources it can look interesting.

So what I was saying is that the predominant right (from the right side, not the left) is the one that is too low and too hard.

Stepping back, flat lighting is not generally what you want if you are trying to invoke a moody, textured or naturalistic feeling. Flat can be stylized if done carefully but usually you don't want to blanket actors and the set with light.
Charles you have been a ton of help, I can't thank you enough for your input and advice. I'm not sure if your familiar with Dexter but this is the mood/tone I'm trying to pull off

Here are images from the show
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/371...an12587560.jpg
http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/5...ter4090450.jpg

Correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like they mostly use natural light to get the "sunset look", which is referred to as the golden hour right?

I think these images give off the same look that the scene does in your short film.

And now I do understand what you mean about the collar causing the shadow that could be fixed with a reflector and/or moving the light right?
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 09:36 PM   #62
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Hi Lee:

I don't watch the show, but if the location seen in that first shot is used regularly in the show, that would likely be a set on a soundstage with all artificial light (which is what it looks like to me).

The second shot may or may not be a set (the view out the windows could easily be a foreground shrub with a translight, or large photographic background, further away) but even if it was shot at a practical location, the key coming from the left wouldn't be the sun, more like a large source like an 18K. We wouldn't risk using actual sunlight because it would change as you are shooting the scene, so we block it out and recreate it.

Natural light is often beautiful, but it is fleeting!

Get yourself some sort of stand that will allow you to place the worklights in the air (I'm sure there's been plenty of threads about this sort of thing here on DVI) and use your umbrella. And try switching off the light coming from the left, or reducing it considerably.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 11:07 PM   #63
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I think both pictures look much too "crisp and controlled" to be natural light. Natural light boucing around in a real room would tend to be more difuse and softer. Windows also look artificially lit as Charles says. Even here in the Arizona desert I never see such crisp natural indoor lighting even when we've just had the windows cleaned. The light in the pictures seems really quite "focused" - which I'm sure it is.

I'd be very surprised if there were any walls on the camera side of the talent because with all the light on the scenes there would be difuse light bouncing off such a wall and softening the shadows. Also wouldn't be any room for the cameras - to me at least it doesn't look like a super wide lens was used (based on the perspective on the table) so the camera would have to be some distance away. Looking at the sink and left edge of the counter in your shot it seems like more of a wide angle shot - due to limited space perhaps? Not sure, but it seems that way.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 07:02 AM   #64
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How about this question first. What do you want the scene to look like? If you want it to look like a kitchen with natural light coming in from a sliding glass door, you're in pretty good shape. Use your base lighting (what you see) as your plan and increase the light output to supplement your camera's needs. If, however, you want to change the lighting to make it look like something else, then decide what you want the scene to look like and apply lighting to get what you are looking for.
Basically, don't open a light case or go buy anything until you plan out what you want the scene to look like. Patience makes good creative.
Lee, this post was placed at the very beginning of the thread. Oh I recognize it now, I did it.
Humor aside, lighting is the most important aspect of any shot, video or still. It can make a crappy camera look good or an expensive camera look bad. You are fortunate to have so many experienced people add to your post. The one thing that experience has taught many of us is that viewer is very (the viewer of your finished project) accustomed to natural lighting. Natural doesn't mean not using lights, it means creating a lighting scheme that portrays the scene in its natural form. During the day the Sun is the one and only key or main light. Everything that reflects the sunlight becomes fill, shadow and subordinate light sources.
At night and inside, light is placed as a utilitarian function. You want to be able to see what you're doing in the kitchen, living room, bedroom etc.
As you now have discovered, when you fight this natural phenomena it can become a nightmare.
Interestingly, it starts with the wrong placement of the first light. Everything that you do or add from that point forward is a mad attempt to add more lights, reflectors, color compensation, etc only to create . . . well you now know.
Simple is good and planning is professional.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:03 AM   #65
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Interestingly, it starts with the wrong placement of the first light. Everything that you do or add from that point forward is a mad attempt to add more lights, reflectors, color compensation, etc only to create . . . well you now know.
Gary
Fantastic note Gary. I've never heard it put that succinctly. I'm going to quote you on that one (giving you credit of course)!

Occasionally I will find myself in a scrum trying to chase down an errant patch of light or a mysterious shadow, and eventually I remember to just switch everything off and turn the lights back on one at a time, in order of magnitude (key light down to accent lights). Sometimes this will also serve as a way to realize that a given light might actually be doing more harm than good, and you just leave it off. As the king says in "Amadeus": "too much spice--too many notes" (it's all the better that it's the principal from Ferris Bueller saying it)!
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:28 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Hi Lee:

I don't watch the show, but if the location seen in that first shot is used regularly in the show, that would likely be a set on a soundstage with all artificial light (which is what it looks like to me).
Yeah I assumed it was on a soundstage, I guess I'm just not too familiar on how to simulate natural sunlight.

The Peppers I've worked with at school we place on C-stands, which i guess is standard set up. I guess there's some DIY version of a C-stand since work lights seem to be standard for students working on a limited budget. Oh, and I ditched the photo umbrellas because I couldnt navigate them enough out of the shot. I bout some tracing paper from B&H photo for diffusion, hoping it'll work better.

The class I'm taking is a 300 level class for "Lighting for Film/Video". I assume my teacher's going to be grading the projects on lighting but I'm not sure to what extent. I guess he assumes that since we're all college Juniors/Seniors we all have some knowledge of basic lighting. Last year I took a "Lighting for Television" class, which we lit the sets for the local Public Access channel.

So all of my knowledge on lighting is for a studio/sound stage set up. I have never lit something on location which is why I'm struggling so much with this scenario I have.

Again I'm amazed at all the professional help I've been getting from this thread and I'm really grateful for it.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:57 AM   #67
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Yeah I assumed it was on a soundstage, I guess I'm just not too familiar on how to simulate natural sunlight.
Large single sources with enough overexposure to feel "hot" (without clipping in the image in a bad way). While it may take multiple units to create the effect pushing in through different windows, one takes pains that they don't overlap which the sun would never do. Since we've all seen sun in the real world, it's usually fairly easy to spot what looks "wrong".

Going back to my same short film that I referenced earlier, at 1:26 you can see a hot sunlight splash that I placed across the doors with a 1200 PAR HMI. I would guess that it was 2-3 stops over key. I flagged it so that it only played on the actor's bodies, not across their faces which would be distracting. Incidentally, the scene appears to be shot in a corridor (with all the books lining the wall) but is actually just a decent sized room. I had the actors make a jog when they exited the doors which makes it feel like there is a wall off the left side of frame. I think it's a pretty good cheat.

Quote:
The Peppers I've worked with at school we place on C-stands, which i guess is standard set up.
Mm, not standard, no. C-stands are used for grip gear and Kino-flos. Peppers usually live on lightweight kit stands or baby stands. C-stands are way overbuilt for such a small lighting unit.

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I bout some tracing paper from B&H photo for diffusion, hoping it'll work better.
Literally tracing paper? Because you could have gotten that from a local art supply store. We do use tracing paper, usually designated as 1000H, but only for things like covering windows, not for use anywhere near lights as it is flammable in that way that paper can be! What you should have gotten for those is Rosco or Lee diffusion--there are many types but if you put a gun to my head and made me choose one, I'd get Lee 250 (half the weight of 216, but you can always double it).

Quote:
The class I'm taking is a 300 level class for "Lighting for Film/Video". I assume my teacher's going to be grading the projects on lighting but I'm not sure to what extent.
Hopefully he won't hammer 3-point lighting into you guys...groan.

The best thing I can tell you about lighting, Lee, is that it has a snowball effect. Once you start experimenting and seeing the results, suddenly everything you watch you start to dissect and question and understand. The next time you light something, you have a whole new set of ideas to explore. And so on and so on. It's one of the aspects of production that is the most exciting, creative and fun. It can certainly be frustrating also, especially at the beginning, but being able to observe good lighting is what its all about. I didn't see any in my brief time at film school, but after I dropped out and started working as a PA, I kept my eyes peeled at what the DP and gaffer were doing at all times and learned a ton.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 10:01 AM   #68
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By the way, if you did in fact end up with tracing paper, you might want to apply it to your window in the kitchen (do it from the outside so you don't have to do a perfect cut-job). You'll need to protect it from direct sun, either by blocking the sun with one of the many methods mentioned in this thread or by shooting at a time of day when the sun doesn't hit the window, but you will have a much cleaner look to the window and it will act as a natural light source that will put an attractive backlight glow on your subject. This will be similar to the kitchen scene in my short film.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 10:13 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post

Mm, not standard, no. C-stands are used for grip gear and Kino-flos. Peppers usually live on lightweight kit stands or baby stands. C-stands are way overbuilt for such a small lighting unit.
I'm thinking either I'm getting my terms mixed up or they call it a c-stand when it's something else.

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post

Literally tracing paper? Because you could have gotten that from a local art supply store.
HP / Hewlett-Packard | Natural Tracing Paper - 24" | C3869A

This is what I ordered, although when I did, I wasnt aware of what the professional name of this material was. I googled diffusion paper and found most sites also referred to it as tracing paper. Since its only $30 I'm not too worried with experimenting with it.

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post

Hopefully he won't hammer 3-point lighting into you guys...groan.
No he doesn't I mostly have 3 point lodged into my brain because of the amount of time I spent setting up the Public Access channel sets
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 10:20 AM   #70
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By the way, if you did in fact end up with tracing paper, you might want to apply it to your window in the kitchen (do it from the outside so you don't have to do a perfect cut-job). You'll need to protect it from direct sun, either by blocking the sun
I dont know if there's a safe way to do this without getting on a ladder etc.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 05:07 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Lee Tamer View Post
I'm not sure if your familiar with Dexter but this is the mood/tone I'm trying to pull off

Here are images from the show
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/371...an12587560.jpg
http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/5...ter4090450.jpg
?
oh that, thats EASY, just remove the roof, tear out the back wall and call the electrition to have them install a Megawatt circuit box in your home with outlets, then start ordering up a few flys and some real 5k lights gobos gels and a computerised lighting board.
and here i thought you had a low budget, heck for less than 2.2 million you could get a real studio lighting going on in your home :-).
i dont suppose you would need to put the roof back when done would you?
and dont forget to call up Rent-a-Landscape for the offical bushes and trees for that natural look. If i had known you had 8, 120K studio HD cameras , i would ask to borrow one :-)
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Old March 4th, 2010, 06:22 AM   #72
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Thanks Charles for your comments. I often wonder why new practitioners feel that lighting has to be massive and complicated. Maybe it's because they see how many lights, power and tools are needed to create feature film. I was trying to reflect when I started (don't ask how many years ago) and I guess I was guilty of it too. With the new equipment and more sensitive ccd's we have a great deal more ability to light naturally. I still stand on the premise that planning is more important than lighting (At least at the start) I assume this applies in feature films also.
Gary
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Old March 4th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #73
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I don't think it so much that the new guys think lighting has to be "massive and complicated" as that they're thinking that the SUBJECT is massive and complicated. And in fact, that's pretty much accurate.

It's easy to dismiss, for example, 3 point lighting as hackneyed. But the underlying principals - A - get the key off-center so enhance a sense of subject depth and so you're not shooting video that looks like a moving drivers license. B-use fill light to bring up the non-key side and C outline the subject to separate it from the background is something everyone HAS GOT to understand or you can't go farther than that.

It's like understanding scales in music. It's a foundational building block.

And while it's hard for a lot of us long-timers to remember - it took a while to move on from simple 3 point to understanding how, as a simple example, the shape of a noses cast shadow might be something we'd want to consider at DURING the setting of those 3 lights.

Once that becomes second nature, you can (and will, if you keep watching and practicing) learn how to "see" the room so that you can get shape definition without using ANY backlight. Or how to balance fixture light with natural light to achieve key and fill.

But the UNDERSTANDING behind all that is that you began by understanding the concepts in 3-point.

It's no different than guys like Monet in art who literally started out drawing cartoons and caricature of political figures prior to moving on to re-defining fine art in the Impressionist era.

Don't try so hard to run until you've learned to balance upright and then walk.

Work on 3 point - then when you're comfortable, for gods sake yes, move on to more naturalistic forms like motivated lighting.

The best thing about lighting is the fact that it's not a closed-end subject for heaven's sake. But rather one that's constantly on-going.

My 2 cents anyway.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 06:40 AM   #74
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I agree and I still use 3 point light frequently. Recently I have been producing homepage website videos which for all intents and purposes is portrait lighting. Many times the client is on camera and we want to make them look as good as possible. Duh. Anyhow, the lighting process hasn't changed (for me) since I shot portrait stills many years ago.
When it comes to multiple subjects or a shots the contain a complicated background, office setting. living room, etc., the lighting has now has to accommodate those needs.
Perhaps what I'm saying is (for beginners) is that there is no lighting template, even with 3 point lighting.
Look at your scene/subject and see what the existing lighting looks like.
Do you like it? If not, how can you make it better or do you need to create a completely different lighting look.
Place the first light and see what it does. Move the light around to get what you consider pleasing then add or build the lighting based on the relationship to the first light placed.
I'm not just saying that the first light should be the Key, it should be the light that sets the image that you want. I also think it's important thing to know when to STOP.
Gary
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Old March 30th, 2010, 02:57 PM   #75
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Where was this moved to?
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