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Old February 16th, 2011, 09:29 AM   #1
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lighting a fake doorway

I was wondering how to achieve this.

I want to set up a scene where there's a light source coming from a doorway without there actually being a doorway on the set. I was thinking of shining something like an ARRI 650 through a plastic curtain or bouncing a tweeny off foamcore and having the light shine through a curtain or something similar

The studio is an all black room. I want to try and have it look like an abandoned warehouse or factory.

Does this make sense? Could i get some input?
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Old February 16th, 2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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I'm not sure you'd get the impression of a door as such, more a light source, which could just as easily be a window. I assume the existence of a doorway has been established before you cut into the scene on the set.

I'd tend to flag the diffusion (big flags) to create the impression of the light coming through a restricted opening. However, I'm not sure a 650 watt light would be powerful enough to go any distance. You also have to consider the rest of the set and how much you want to see.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input, would a 2K light work?

Its a relatively small space im working with, I was thinking of using a Chinese Lantern over head and maybe some bounced tweenys. It doesnt have to be very bright as I want to make it look like an abandoned warehouse.

I dont have to worry about an establishing shot, as its a project for a directing class and the focus is on the actors. I was just planning on framing the wide shot so it appears to be a doorway.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 05:19 PM   #4
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The short hand for a doorway is basically shaft of light across the floor, it's easier to create with a harder light than the very soft light you're suggesting. You can then use directional soft light within the room.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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Brian has the right idea.

I did something like this years ago, sad to say the clip is still on my reel:

DPttt

The second shot shows the gag. This was shot on a shoestring (35mm though!) on a run-down stage. The art director scavenged the walls from their junk pile. What you see in the wide shot is every bit of set there was. It's hard to remember the specifics but I'm sure I "built" the door frame out of flags and then had an additional one rotated so it gave the appearance of a door opening. And I would guess it was at least a 1K fresnel used for the gag itself. In retrospect I wonder that I didn't have an additional unit that would lift the atmosphere within the room, as Brian suggested--that is somewhat missing in the effect--but I wanted to preserve the delicate color balance for the ambient tone that I had created. That was, as I recall, the really clever part; wanting the shadows to go just the right amount of green yet only possessing very saturated green gel to work with. In writing this I remember that I hung a large piece of foamcore over the set and filled it with two side-by-side large fresnels (probably 2K's), one with the green gel and one clean. Then by regulating the output of each via dimmers, I could dial in exactly the level of fill and saturation of green within it. Worked perfectly.

Anyway--this piece had a number of shadow plays like this one as you can see. The door with "warden" stenciled on it was a real door frame.

Lee, going now to the big picture--the part of what you are looking to achieve that I think will be hardest is selling a black box studio as a warehouse or factory without any physical presence within the room that indicates it as such. Naturally those spaces are recognizable for their size. I don't know how large your studio is, but I imagine it's not that. It's going to look somewhat surreal as it is. The only thing I can imagine doing there is hanging a series of overhead fresnels pointing straight down to create a series of pools of light that recede into the distance (to get really clever, make them progressively smaller to achieve a forced perspective). Ideally you'd have a stack of cardboard boxes somewhere in the frame, the cheapest way to sell "warehouse". Getting really clever again--make another stack of smaller boxes in the background! A stylized gag that could help sell the space would be to get a large fan (at least a standard box fan, preferably bigger and with more massive blades) and shoot a fresnel through it to make a reasonably sharp gobo--put the fan on a dimmer so you can get it to rotate slowly. This is best played against a wall, which you don't have, so the floor will have to do.

Re-reading what you are looking to do, I wouldn't visually connect a doorway lighting gag with a factory or warehouse. Doesn't really make sense to me. And this being a school project and about the actors as you say...hmm. I'd probably go with the boxes in the background, maybe the fan gag playing across the boxes, but keep things in pools of light--don't light up the walls to give away the space. Skirt that china ball, flag those bounces. Keep it dark. Add some light echo to the actor's voices on the soundtrack, along with some dripping sound effects to taste!
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Old February 27th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #6
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Re: lighting a fake doorway

Thankyou for the input Charles,

I think I'm going to scrap the doorway idea. The project is focused on acting and not so much cinematography as it is for my directing class. I think I'm just going to do a simple lighting set up with some 650s, 2ks, and maybe some fresnels. If i were doing this for any other class, I would find a building for an establishing shot so I could make the doorway more convincing.

thanks for all the advice
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