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Old March 4th, 2015, 10:35 AM   #1
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need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

The basics of the shoot are that it's 3 dancers in front of large bright windows, and i am tasked with getting enough light on them to get the skyline background window exposure within range, with strong preference against throwing shadows aka diffuse. Some of the shots are fairly wide, i'm estimating i can get the lights/silks maybe within 15ft of the talent.

So what i've worked up within the smaller budget are 2 joker 800's with 4x4 silks. figuring i can play with the distances to find the balance.

But my rental shop buddy just threw me a bone: he can do the same rate for a pair of arri 1.2K HMI's. From what i've read around, the joker isn't that far off the 1.2 (depending on how it's used of course)

So the input i'm looking for: have i planned enough light? go for the 1.2's? bounce instead of silk? I obsess over these things and some other brains would be of great help!
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Old March 4th, 2015, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Do you have the option of gelling down the windows? ND.60 will get you a couple of stops closer to the interior light level.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

unfortunately no, i wasn't kidding about the 'large' windows, it's practically wall to wall floor to ceiling of 1x1 squares of glass on a 3rd floor.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Hey Darren,
Bigger light is better in this case and you are probably not going to have enough light for even a mildly overcast day to bounce. The sun is a very big source. 15 feet is a relatively long throw for to match the sun. Are these 1.2 pars? You might be able to use one direct and then bounce or use more diffusion on the second one.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 07:33 PM   #5
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Exactly how large are these windows? I would make every effort to try to knock down the light coming through the windows. You can get 12' wide mosquito netting from these folks. https://www.mosquitocurtains.com/sto...o-netting.html
a 30'x12' piece of the black netting would run you about $165 which is a a bargain compared to ND gels for the same coverage.

I just got an 8x10 piece of the "no See Um and it is good for about 4-6 stops. It would be best if you could hang it outside but that might be tough on the 3rd story without a cherry picker.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 07:42 PM   #6
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Couple of things. First, you hit those dancers with a lot of light and big silks and you will be dealing with HUGE reflections from those lights in the windows. You might get away with it depending on the 'angle of incidence' but don't count on it. The netting is a good idea if you can swing it- but wind and enough hang points to keep it smooth will be a challenge.

The other thought is to try and shoot as the sun goes down - or as it is coming up - depending on which direction N-E-S -W the building room orientation is. That doesn't give you much time - but ...

Also, dancers LOVE side light. You could miss the windows and hit them from the sides keeping the light cut off the windows.
Front fill ? Yes, but reflections = ugh ... unless you can hit the dancers from a fairly steep angle high angle using lekos to avoid reflections.
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Last edited by Jacques Mersereau; March 4th, 2015 at 08:07 PM. Reason: more info
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Old March 5th, 2015, 11:45 AM   #7
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

It takes a while to do, but if the glass is in small squares, 1 x 1, then have you thought about using car window film? With water and a squeegy it's simple to cut to size with a craft knife and apply to the windows, and it's cheaper than ND - which is tricky to attach to windows. Some of this car film is pretty dark, and will simplify everything. 1.2K discharge fixtures also kick out LOTS of heat - much simpler with softer sources and dimming the windows.
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Old March 5th, 2015, 11:51 AM   #8
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Thanks for chiming in guys.

some more details i neglected that answers some questions for you:

the mosquito netting is interesting, but cannot be done outside, and would likely show up on camera inside, and for the price of the size i would need, i could get a third hmi. setup time is also not very grand, 2-2.5 hours, so playing with those windows in any way just isn't ideal.

this is an all day shoot, can't plan around the sun. as for reflections, i'll be placing the lights at 45degrees to the talent and adjusting as needed, as well as having pretty high ceilings to play with and not shooting perpendicular to the windows, so i'm wary of but not overly concerned about reflections.

On the bright side (get it) my rental buddy upgraded me to 2x 1.2 pars for barely much more in cost, which is a nice bump and i feel more confident i can get what i need out of it. i have plenty of space to play with the balance, and if shooting through silks at full spot at 10feet still doesn't get the exposure, i'll give the client the option of proper exposure with talent shadows, or somewhat blown windows.

and heat wise, it's a very large space, with industrial HVAC to kick on during breaks.

cheers
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Old March 6th, 2015, 03:22 AM   #9
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

A few more pieces of information are important to consider here, chiefly, what camera? Are you shooting log? The better the dynamic range of the camera, the more you can get away with less firepower on your set.

What is the compass orientation of the windows? Will the view seen through the windows receive direct frontal sun during the shoot day? Are you concerned about continuity within the piece, as you will see a major difference between that view in shade vs sun?

Outside of that--it is extremely unlikely that even 1200 pars will be enough to balance against direct sun with the setup you describe. Absolutely not as bounces, and still underwhelming through all but the thinnest diffusion (by the way, don't use silks for this purpose--they are old school and inefficient in terms of their softening quality vs transmission characteristics. 216 or full gridcloth will be similarly soft and deliver more light). Without knowing the specifics above, I wouldn't want to tackle this setup with less than two M40's or 6K pars for the direct version through diffusion, or M90's/12K pars for the bounce version, if the goal was to keep the exterior within 2 stops of the interior.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 08:26 AM   #10
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Thanks for chiming in Charles!

We're shooting with C100s and GH4s, of course the GH4 doesn't have log(despite many rumors that VLog is in existence), but it has some nice control for what is is, but still not the best DR out there. I can delegate the weaker cameras to the angles which will have fewer windows in them and perhaps nudge them into a position with little to no windows. On one side there is 1 bare wall to work with and might go for a higher up angle with the other.

I did inform the client that direct sunlight may likely bleed in the corner in the afternoon, it's a north/westish situation and the sun sets pretty southwest this time of year (Been catching some great cityscape sunsets with that info!)

diffusion wise, was using the term silk somewhat generally. and that's another issue i've been racking my brain over. Can't order every option from the rental shop, so i'm trying to narrow down 2 or 3 options. Do you think full grid cloth wouldn't cut too much light? i was eyeing half grid and china silk

and power wise, unfortunately i'm getting as much as the client's budget allows. i'm trying to see if i can get an m18, but i was already pushing it going from the 800s to the 1.2 fresnels to the pars. The client loves shooting against windows, so there's no swaying from it. It's not ideal, but some combination of lens/diff/distance can get the exposure albeit with various tradeoffs, i'll likely have to dial in that setup, audition it for the client and explain the tradeoffs with that setup vs backing it off.

Thanks again for the input, every tidbit helps me get this nailed down!

Here's a shot from one of their prior videos, and from what i'm told, they used 4x 4 bank kinos + 2x 2bank kinos. I am not aware if they were expecting to compete with the windows with that.
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need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows-dance.jpg  
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Old March 6th, 2015, 09:05 AM   #11
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

I would recommend that you go to your buddy's rental house and shoot a test with the 1200's against a similar facing window so you can audition the setup (and maybe he has various diffusions skinned for you to try?) That way you can attack this job with the appropriate confidence, be able to show the client what they would be getting in terms of exterior detail.

Half grid will obviously give you more punch than full, but of course it will also be harder. I'm not sure how soft you are looking to go--it's a matter of taste. It's not going to look like a big soft source no matter what you use as long as it is direct light into a 4x4, just varying degrees of "less hard", if you know what I mean. At least shooting into hot windows means that background shadows won't be that much of a tell.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 11:07 AM   #12
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Thanks for making that suggestion, i hadn't considered trying it out since i knew they didn't have a test room, but just asked and he mentioned they do have a fully windowed conference room, which happens to be the perfect test space in this case. Awesome beans.

I'm not looking for super soft, just to take as much edge off as can be done without losing the exposure battle with the background.

I also just came across this nice little tool by lee fitlers: Wide Range of Diffusion Filters in a Range of Densities
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Old March 6th, 2015, 11:21 AM   #13
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Let us know how you make out. It's probably going to be tough to get the head back as far as you would need to in a conference room vs what you will be doing with the dancers, so maybe simulate your widest setup in the parking lot to figure out how far the heads have to be (really, the diffusion frames since they will be closest to the shot) and try to recreate that when you do your test. They don't have a rolltop loading door at the rental house??
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Old March 6th, 2015, 02:48 PM   #14
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Thanks again, i will indeed report back. they do have a load in area, but i'll see if they mind me hanging around there.

cheers
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Old March 6th, 2015, 04:56 PM   #15
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Re: need lighting input! HMI's & bright windows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
...it is extremely unlikely that even 1200 pars will be enough to balance against direct sun with the setup you describe. Absolutely not as bounces, and still underwhelming through all but the thinnest diffusion ... Without knowing the specifics above, I wouldn't want to tackle this setup with less than two M40's or 6K pars for the direct version through diffusion, or M90's/12K pars for the bounce version, if the goal was to keep the exterior within 2 stops of the interior.
Listen to Mr. Papert. He's a gifted cinematographer who can light the heck out of almost any challenge. If he's sayin' that 1.2K HMIs aren't enough, they aren't enough. But you don't have to believe him, and you certainly don't have to believe me. Test before you commit, it's the only way to know what will really work for you and your individual situation. Just understand that there's zero upside to showing up to the gig with insufficient lighting. As long as you understand that, you can act to prevent it.
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