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-   -   Lighting a Kitchen (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/photon-management/472828-lighting-kitchen.html)

Lee Tamer February 13th, 2010 03:44 PM

Lighting a Kitchen
Hey, I'm using my kitchen as a set in an upcoming project and I was wondering what the best set up would be as far as lighting goes.

Here's the room Note: the ceiling isnt blue my camera phone is horrible

The only light sources are the Fluorescent light fixture hanging from the ceiling and the stove lights.

I also own 4 work lights from Home Depot i use for 3 point lighting at times

What would be the best way to balance out the lighting? Any tips?

Bill Davis February 13th, 2010 04:05 PM


You've miss-diagnosed your light sources - your primary illumination is coming from two GIANT exterior windows. Until you control them, you're at the mercy of whatever the sun and clouds do. You can block them, or you can screen them, or you can shoot at night, but until you deal with that, nothing else is going to work because that light will overpower anything under a $10,000 HMI rig that you can bring inside to balance things.

Good luck.

Lee Tamer February 13th, 2010 04:16 PM

Yeah my main problem is the light coming from the sliding glass door and the windows over the sink. I'm a bit worried about using the sliding glass door as the key light because of over exposure. I guess I could use diffusors on the sliding door?

Other than that do I really have no other option?

Dean Sensui February 14th, 2010 02:27 AM

If you're going to see out the windows and doors, then you'll have to put ND filtration over them. You could find some relatively inexpensive neutral-toned tinting and temporarily apply that. You might be able to find what you need at Lowe's, Home Depot or similar.

Figure out what lighting instruments you can work with in the space, then darken the windows and door as needed.

Gary Moses February 14th, 2010 06:13 AM

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 Tamer February 14th, 2010 01:24 PM

I want the light to be visible from the windows but nothing visible from outside the windows. The tone is going to be a 1 hour drama feel like Smallville or Dexter.

Mike Watson February 15th, 2010 01:52 AM


Originally Posted by Gary Moses (Post 1485972)
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.

This is not only funny, but good advice.

The window above the sink and the sliding glass door will be your keylights. You'll need some fill (even your Home Depot worklights) to even things out a little bit. To give the impression that the light is coming from the ceiling, you can bounce those lights off the ceiling.

You may need some CTB gel to match the light to the daylight.

It was suggested above that you invest in $10k worth of HMI lights to battle the daylight, but even then... it would look like the light was coming from somewhere else. Anyone who walks into that room would expect the light to be coming from the ceiling and the windows. Don't make people think about lighting, just make it work.

Brian Drysdale February 15th, 2010 05:21 AM

With daylight the fill tends to come more from the floor and walls rather from ceiling. Although that's often the most handy.

Depending on how bright your daylight is, bounced CTB work lights mightn't do much for you.

Mike Watson February 15th, 2010 03:51 PM

As has been mentioned already, I'd try to knock the windows down with something - be it ND or scrim on the expensive end, or windowscreen on the "Home Depot" end.

Charles Papert February 15th, 2010 06:39 PM

According to the picture, the window receives direct sunlight (don't know whether this is morning or afternoon light). This will be your toughest balancing job as the splashes are probably 5 stops over the ambient, so the simplest thing to do is eliminate them. I would recommend diffusing the window over the sink (many forms of inexpensive diffusion substitutes available for an application like this which doesn't involve proximity to a hot source; do a search). Having diffusion available for the sliding doors will also be good. Depending on which direction you face, it may be advantageous to remove the diffusion for certain shots.

Consider how long it will take to shoot the scene (and be realistic!) Knowing that the sun will move throughout the day, drastically changing the level of ambient light, it might make more sense to schedule when the sun is on the other side of the house which will give you a chance to possibly use your worklights as fill if required.

The best angle will be similar to the one in your first picture, with the actors in half-light. The more you shoot with the window to their backs, the moodier the results; the more you come around with the window behind camera, the flatter the results.

Have a selection of bounce materials available; if you don't have access to a commercial product like the snap-open discs, a large piece of foamcore or beadboard from an art supply or hardware store will do well. For closeups, you can bring these in to fill the shadow side. A passive fill like this will look a lot more natural than direct light.

Knocking the window down with ND or substitute will effectively increase the ambient fill from the sliding doors, which may be a good thing. You can wrap the light from the sliding doors around by using a large white bounce set up perpendicular to the sliding doors, i.e. facing the kitchen. This will pick up the ambient and/or direct sun and bounce into the kitchen as fill. Again, a large piece of foamcore etc. is ideal but in a pinch you could use a white bedsheet draped over an elevated boom stand.

The above will give you a naturalistic look with a good amount of contrast, which is typical of a prime-time drama. Since the window will blow out white, you probably don't want to feature it too much in the frame, directly behind heads etc. If you do need to supplement with more fill light, ganging several of them together through diffusion to create an "invisible" source will be the key--at least a 1/2 CTB correction will help.

This is as close to a "ghetto" workflow I can think of. If I was to shoot this with a decent sized package, I would fly solids outside the window to block the direct sunlight and recreate the desired effect with HMI (6K par or 18K). This would maintain a consistent look throughout the scene. The window would get ND'd as desired to deliver whatever degree of detail I was looking to retain, probably N9. I'd fly a couple of 4x4 Kinos up at the ceiling on the window side to continue the side-lit key, and add a ceiling-bounced 4K or 2500 par in front of the sliding doors to add a little tone to the room (scrimmed down to taste); I'd also explore this as a floor bounce. For closeups I'd work a little bounce as described above, possibly with the addition of a small dimmable fixture like a 1x1 Litepanel with diffusion as an eyelight for fill.

Rob Evans February 16th, 2010 06:51 AM

As a random twist of fate would have it, I need to shoot a cooking promo for a friend soon in a kitchen that's very similar, and actually had a lot of the same questions... good advice guys, thanks!

Lee Tamer February 19th, 2010 12:56 PM

So I did a test lighting today,

I used:
-three 500w work lights from Home Depot/w 3 amber(orange) gels
-the over head fluorescent kitchen light
-the windows over the sink as the key light
-the overhead stove lights
-and one test with a lamp

Here's the final result, tell me what you think
YouTube - Sequence 1.mov

I noticed the gain was a bit high so I'll adjust it later, I also may make some tweaks to the layout before I shoot. I liked the results without the lamp myself

Charles Papert February 19th, 2010 01:07 PM

When you shoot a test like this, it's worth putting a person in there--you'd likely see some noticeably warm/orange skin tones that I'm not sure you'd like. You are mixing ambient daylight with incandescent sources (plus the fluorescent, probably somewhere in the middle) which will give a pretty convoluted effect on skin tones. Not sure why you gelled your work lights orange--those are usually halogens, pretty close to 3200K and thus already substantially warmer than the daylight. If you do have access to CTO (orange) gel, your better bet is to gel the window and then all of your sources will be roughly in the same range.

Lee Tamer February 19th, 2010 01:50 PM

Thanks for the help,

Would it be better off to not gel the work lights and only gel the kitchen sink window?

I currently have one roll of Blue, Orange, and Red gels.

Would it be better to gel the work lights blue and the sink window orange?

Perrone Ford February 20th, 2010 02:47 PM

But the PRIMARY question is this:

Will the camera need to see out of that window? If the answer is yes, then you need some ND Film over the window. Not too expensive and can be reused.

If the answer is no, then just put some black fabric over the window and you should be golden. Even a cheap black bedsheet from Wal-Mart will suffice.

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