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Old May 1st, 2006, 09:11 AM   #1
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Dirty green/florescent look

Hi to all.

I'm not exactly sure where to put this question because it could as well be both in Photon Management sub-forum and also the editing sub-forum. Anyway, my question is:

How do you achieve that desaturated, slightly mouldy green look in public restrooms? The scene that comes to my mind right now is the opening scene in "8 Mile" where Eminem is looking at the mirror before he vomits.

I'll be doing a short film on 16mm soon and the look of this scene is what I'm after for the opening shot.

- Is it advisable to just shoot with the already available fluorescent tubes found in public restrooms?

- Or should I add a fluorescent filter and adjust accordingly in post?

-Or should I use daylight-balanced lights (without gels) and adjust in post?

Please advise me on the best method to acheive this and also explain (if you can) what would happen for each scenario
I listed above?

Thanks
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Old May 1st, 2006, 01:46 PM   #2
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The look you are describing is the "cool-white" fluorescent look. This can be achieved by shooting with a 3200k balance under cool white tubes (roughly 4200k-4300k, with a heavy green spike), and NOT using any filtration to correct the color.

There are several common variations of this look that use gels to enhance the blue or green.
The "8 Mile" look seemed to be straight-up cool whites, no extra gel. Those scenes weren't heavy on blue (though there was some), but were very heavy on green. You would want to use cool white tubes in your own kino-style fixtures as well if you are going to augment the existing light. Depending on what you are going for, it can also be effective to mix the cool whites with a pure 3200k white refence (or maybe even a complementary color), albeit small, somewhere in frame. Just a thought.

Other variations can be achieved by adding CTB or Plus Green to the cool whites, or by using consumer daylight tubes (usually around 6000K) and adding Plus Green to taste. Also Plus Green to kino tubes.....

Sure, you could probably do this in post, but I wouldn't advise it if you are going to mix color temperatures. If I was doing this, mixing temps or not, I would create the look on-set with gels and then fine-tune the color in post.

Hope this helps,
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Old May 1st, 2006, 06:22 PM   #3
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This is one of those looks that's well worth a test if you can manage it.
Without knowing more about the post process you have planned, I'd be inclined to create it in-camera as well. Tungsten balanced film under cool white tubes is the easiest way to go, but it may or may not get you just the shade green you want. Try it out to be sure.

The suggestion that Matt made about providing a true white reference for the eye somewhere in frame is a good one. Light sneaking in from outside, or a fixture at the right temperature in the scene. It doesn't need to be big, just something to give the viewers a reference.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:31 AM   #4
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Thanks guys for answering.

>>This can be achieved by shooting with a 3200k balance under cool white tubes (roughly 4200k-4300k, with a heavy green spike), and NOT using any filtration to correct the color.<<

So that means with a 3200k film stock, all I have to do is shoot my colour chart and 18% grey under those cool white tubes with the proper exposure and I'll be good to go?

>>but it may or may not get you just the shade green you want.<<

Yea, that's what worrying me right now....I do not want too much of a green shade. I've shot with a bolex 16mm tungsten film under fluorescent without filter and without colour and grey charts and it turned out very very green. But of course that footage did not went through the telecine process since I was just finishing up the short ends. I do not want that.

I suppose it would be possible to "tone down" the greens by adding 3200k lights where neccessary?

Correct me if I'm wrong but another alternative that is possible would be just use 3200k lights with green gels and shoot my colour and grey charts under those?
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:28 AM   #5
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Now wait, are you trying to achieve a green cast look, are are you trying to balance all the lights os you can remove the green?

Balancing all your sources and shooting a color chart will give the timer a reference so that he/she can correct the green. If you want to keep the green, shoot the chart under 3200k pure white and make sure to make a note on the camera report what you want.

Color chart or not, the green can be toned down or removed in timing. This can be done photochemically or digitally in telecine (more control in telecine).

Adding 3200k sources to the green will not necessarily tone down the green. That's not balancing color, that's MIXING color. Mixed kelvin can create problems in the grade because tweaking one color will effect other colors. For example, when you take down the green from the fluorescents, the parts of the shot lit with tungsten will go magenta.

To get an overall balance, you can gel your 3200k units with plus green and light CTB to match the cool whites. You can also gel the cool whites with minus green to to match the 3200 units. The best way would be to re-lamp the fluorescents with true 3200 tubes (kino or similar) so they can mix with your tungsten units and then add your desired amount of green in post.

Balancing color temperatures can be tricky and takes a bit of practice, especially without the benefit of the instant preview you get with video. A color temp meter would be a good investment or rental. Ralph said it and now I'll say it: TEST, TEST, TEST!
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 10:05 AM   #6
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Oops...I think I better make my intent clearer. Sorry for any misunderstandings.

Im NOT balancing all lights to remove the green. I WANT the slight green hue look. lol sorry abt that.

It's just that when you mentioned shooting 3200k film under the fluorescent tubes....I assumed that you meant the charts were to be done that way too. But I've already understood.

Ok then. So safest bet will be (correct me if i'm wrong):
- shoot the charts under 3200k lights without gels,
- then use 3200k lights (with green and 1/4 blue gels) and 3200k single kinos (with green and 1/4 blue gels).
- adjust the green hue as desired during telecine.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 10:37 AM   #7
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That's pretty mutch it. Although if you are using Kino Flo fixtures as well, why not just lamp them with the same tubes that are in the practicals? So, if the practicals have cool whites, go get some cool white lamps to put in your kino flos. That way you don't loose output to the gels and that's also fewer lights you have to worry about gelling.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 10:56 AM   #8
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Thanks for the help.

>>Although if you are using Kino Flo fixtures as well, why not just lamp them with the same tubes that are in the practicals?<<

I'm choosing kino fixtures because (depending on the location) the practical fluorescents most probably are ceiling types which I'm not able to catch in my shots. I definitely will keep some of the ceiling fluorescents turned on (depends on my contrast ratio) but ideally, I want the kinos to line up horizontally above some mirrors instead. And also with kinos....i can route one of them to a dimmer and get someone to "flicker" it randomly. Maybe I can keep that flickering one free of gels so I can have it in shot.

So what do you think?
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulkifli Yusof
Thanks for the help.
And also with kinos....i can route one of them to a dimmer and get someone to "flicker" it randomly. Maybe I can keep that flickering one free of gels so I can have it in shot.
You would need a dimmable ballast for your kino flo, but sure, sounds good.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 01:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Irwin
You would need a dimmable ballast for your kino flo, but sure, sounds good.
I think he's talking about getting that nasty flicker you get when Kinos don't want to dim.

I grew up (er, well, back when I was an AC) with the idea that putting Kino ballasts on dimmer channels was a huge no-no, liable to destroy the ballasts.

When I wanted the flickering flouro look on a vid I did a while back, I called Kino directly and learned that any modern (made within the last 4 years or so) Kino ballast can be put on a dimmer channel and ramped up and down to get that flicker.

So anyway, you can do it, but they don't dim nice, they just flicker badly, and they cut off at about 40%. Also, if you ramp them up and down a lot or on and off a lot using this method, eventually some (maybe 1/6th) of the tubes will stop responding. You have to wait for either the tubes or ballasts to cool before they'll start behaving correctly again.

There's a vid on my reel with 8 channels of flickering Kinos you can watch by following the link. (er crap, I lied, that video got bumped off my site by a new one)
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:10 AM   #11
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>>There's a vid on my reel with 8 channels of flickering Kinos you can watch by following the link. (er crap, I lied, that video got bumped off my site by a new one)<<

LoL. Let me know if and when you get that video back online. I'll definitely check it out. Saw some of the music videos on your website, nice stuff. I've always flirted with the idea of doing music videos but never got around doing it lol. Oh, do you have some non-music video work? I would like to check those out too.
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