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Old February 21st, 2006, 07:45 PM   #1
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Lighting Suggestion

Just thought I'd see what you guys would do:

I'm filming a scene in a square room in which the camera is going to completely circle the subject (a family at a diningroom table) on a round track. Since I'm not able to use lights on stands, I am mounting a 4' Kino Flo on each wall, near the ceiling.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to do this?

Thanks in advance!
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:39 PM   #2
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If they're in a dining room, wouldn't the light likely come from overhead, like a light on the ceiling above the center of the table? Could you ceiling-rig something?

there's bogen auto-poles that are meant to be be spread between two opposing walls, and have stuff hung from them. Never used 'em. So I could be talking out of my butt.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:43 PM   #3
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You could hang a china ball (inexpensive and lightweight, from Pier One or the like) in the center of the table just above the frame. Make a skirt system around it out of duvatene or similar dense black fabric to keep it from bouncing off the ceiling or contaminating the walls, unless you like the added fill. Very easy, and a very common way to do it even on the biggest of films.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 05:37 AM   #4
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I agree with Charles. I'd rather rig one china ball as opposed to 4 kino's. As John points out, something ceiling mounted would provide a justified light source. A bogen pole could easily hold the weight depending on the room size. Just don't tighten the bogen to much. I've seen those suckers crack walls. :)
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 05:53 AM   #5
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Ditto on Charles suggestion. I've done this a number of times. I was shooting a demo for a table top game company. All the players were in a circle around the gameboard. Hung a LARGE china lantern overhead, so I could move freely around the circle. I also put two small fresnels, up on some book shelves, out of the line of site, that put a tiny bit of rim and hair light on the "Dungeon Master" and another two players... gave it a bit of punch and set him off a bit.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 06:42 AM   #6
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One more for the china ball. Cheap, easy and great light. Keep a fire extinguisher handy if you are using paper ones.

Mike
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:05 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I love the idea of a skirted china ball. However, the reason I wanted to use Kinos is because we're going to have daylight pouring in through large windows. I wanted to use the Kinos to raise the overall level of light in the room to match what's coming in through those windows.

The room is like 20'x20'... do they make spreaders that long?
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 12:57 PM   #8
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Are you going to ND the windows? Otherwise, you may have difficulty matching the amount of sunlight with kino's. Your other options are to get some silk, or even some floppies to block out the sun and bring down the amount of light coming in. Drapes on the windows could work as well. However, as I said, if you gel the windows you can pretty much get away with anything in the room.

As for the bogen, I think 20' is too big. The largest poles I know of extend about 12'.

Last edited by Kris Belchevski; February 22nd, 2006 at 02:23 PM.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:26 PM   #9
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Hard to really give specific advice without better knowledge of the room and its' structure. Seems like there are a number of options.

ND gel the windows, to lower their intensity. Your'e still dealing with 'daylight' color temps in the 5k range however. Additionally, if you are counting on utilizing the sunlight, over the course of a long shooting day, the level will probably change as the angle of the sun alters.

You COULD CTO the window, changing the daylight to tungsten, then match with the china ball. You could ND and CTO the windows, reducing the intensity and changing the temperature both.

When I shot my gamers at a living room table, I covered the daylight windows with duvateen to black them out. It was supposed to be night anyway so it wasn't an issue. That might be possible??? I also suspended the china ball from the light fixture that was on the ceiling anyway. It was never in the shot. I just gaf-taped the cord along the ceiling and down a corner so it was out of the shot. China balls really are light-weight.


So a number of options available. Choices might be dictated by your budget and gear on hand. Do you HAVE the kino flos already? Do you need to buy gels? Whats the cost of gelling windows and using tungsten you have on hand versus renting kinos or HMI to blast though the windows.... Like I said, lots of choices.

Good luck!
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Old February 25th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #10
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If he gels or blacks out the windows, wouldn't it it show up as the camera circles the table?
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Old February 25th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #11
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Again, without knowing the layout or the 'time setting' for the scene.

If it's supposed to be nightime, then blacked out windows will just look like night.

If you gell with ND, CTO, and cover the windows completely with gel sheets (can be pretty expensive) then everything seen through the window will look 'normal'... because it's balanced and exposed for whats in the room.

But really, you shouldn't be shooting the light sources (even if they are windows) because they'll probably blow out compared to the rest of the room. The gell and blackout solution is for controlling the lighting WITHIN the room.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 05:11 PM   #12
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If you want to gel daytime windows and be able to see what is outside the windows, you need to use ND 1.2 gel (4 f-stops) to get the light level manageable unless you are using very powerful lights. Video has much less lattitude than film, so a bright daytime scene (with sky showing) will blow out indoor lighting unless using ND 1.2. If your outside does not include sky, you can probably get away with ND .9 (3 f-stops). The gels look REALLY dark to your eyes, but it is like magic once you look at it through the camera.

One thing to keep in mind when gelling windows is the reflections on the gel. Unless you apply the gel directly to the glass by cutting to fit and using a squeegee and soapy water to slide them in place, you will have "wrinkled" reflections. A polarizer will not work to eliminate the reflections because gel has a weird rainbow effect with a polarizer.

You may be able to get rolls of combined ND and CTO gel. This way, you can use tungsten with CTO/ND covered windows.

A roll of gel is a lot cheaper than using 20,000 watts of light. The reduction in heat will also be a huge benefit from using extra hot lights to balance to your windows. If you really want to be efficient, ND gel and daylight-balanced fluorescent light does a grea job matching up a scene.
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