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Old July 8th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #1
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EXT. to INT. motion shot

I'm shooting a motion sequence where I follow a person from outdoors (day) to an indoor parking garage. I have a Z1 and am pretty sure the dim fluorescents of the garage will not be enough to keep my subject properly lit. I am thinking I need some sort of mounted light, but I don't want a spotlight effect -- something that sort of trails off as it gets wider would be nice. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 05:21 PM   #2
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My first thought was have someone follow the talent with a china ball on a boom. Then as you enter the garage the light level changes to the level of the china ball naturally.
It will look like you are walking into a darkened area, however the talent stays lit.

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Old July 8th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #3
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You could use Kinoflos with either daylight or mix of daylight or tungsten tubes if you want a warmer effect. However, they won't provide the same light levels as a sunny day, so an aperture pull might be required. You can rig them so that they look like practicals.

The best lights to use in daylight are HMIs. You can bounce them or use diffusion for a softer effect. However, they're not cheap to rent.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 06:49 PM   #4
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I did an indoor shot where there were lots of french-door windows. I used a mirror to bounce sunlight inside to a big white bedsheet. Although I wouldn't use a floppy reflector ever again due to wind effects, the mirror worked perfectly. I rented a 42" mirror from the local rental house for about $30 including the stand. If you are shooting for several days, you could buy a mirror from the home store. The advantage of renting is the convenience of a stand. You must re-position the mirror frequently due to the movement of the sun and the stand with pivoting yoke is very helpful. The mirror/reflector combination worked just fine for a shot with about 8 hula dancers that were backlit by the windows that had an ocean view. The area lit was probably 10'x20'. The only problem I had was the immense ocean view and spotty clouds caused conditions at the location to be sometimes darker than the ocean a mile away. Assuming your location is a city parking garage without lots of local clouds, this technique should work as long as you don't go too far into the parking garage. The mirror actually seemed to focus the light a bit, so you should be able to go maybe 50' into the space. The bad thing about parking garages is the backlight, but all the openings give you a place to send sun beams in from outside.

The other alternative would be a couple of daylight kino banks or an HMI. It costs $175/day to rent a 1.2K HMI that can be powered off a typical outlet. Lights stronger than that will need a generator. If you want to match daylight with tungsten, you would need to gel it with CTB and that would kill so much of your light that you would need several thousand watts of tungsten to get a decent effect. I would try the mirrors first since they are cheaper and a single 42" mirror is equivalent to something crazy like 20K of tungsten.

The best result for about $250 would be a mirror and a 1.2K HMI both shining onto a big white reflector. A big soft daylight-balanced source would give you exactly what you want. The HMI would give you a bit more control than a mirror and wouldn't be effected by clouds. The good thing about clouds is that they tend to cause reduction in backlight at the same time your mirror loses it's power.

BTW, I also like Bill's idea. It would give a darker feel, but should keep the talent lit. It might be hard to move by some cars as the reflection on the glass might get weird, but I would give it a try if I had the time and resources.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 12:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for all of your advice, but I don't know that any of it will work for the sequence I am shooting. (However, I like the China Ball suggestion for another one of my shots). But, let me be more specific about this one... Below is an example of the scene I need to shoot.

EXT. - CONVENIENCE STORE - DAY
Sitting, Dustin finishes off his water, tossing the empty bottle in to the nearby garbage can. He stands up on his rollerblades and takes off down the street.

EXT. - CITY STREET - DAY - CONTINUOUS
FOLLOW CAM: Dustin approaches a parking garage, makes his way up the sloped entrance, and starts inside.

EXT. - PARKING GARAGE - DAY - CONTINUOUS
FOLLOW CAM: Dustin, hopping about, zig zagging, makes his way one-hundred feet across the basement of the garage to the other side.


Now, I don't need to make the inside of the garage as bright as the outside, but I definitely don't want to have to turn the gain up on my camera, and since the Z1 is not great in low light, I feel I will need some extra help. I am thinking I will need something the camera can house and power itself due to the distance (and possibly the speed) we will be traveling. Moreover, the talent will be moving from side to side as he makes his way across the garage floor and it will be hard enough to mimick this smoothly with the cam, let alone an external light. I think I need a mounted light(?), but I want to avoid the "flashlight" effect. It needs to be softer and less distinct.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 12:40 PM   #6
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Given the size of the garage, I'd say a china ball on a boom tracking with the subject would be the way to go. You can gel the china ball to match colour temperature of the garage interior. I've used this when shooting with a Steadicam.

A wipe across a dark foreground object would hide stop changes and you could cut on this as if it's one continuous shot

The alternative is to have a number of soft lights that will carry the lighting across the garage, plus lighting the background.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #7
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So why does the whole thing have to be a continuous shot? I would keep the first shot until he enters the garage, Cut to a close up as he goes in, and cut back to a second continous shot after he is in. That would hide any lighting changes and make your set up vastly easier. What would be lost to the action by doing it that way?
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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:52 PM   #8
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I agree with the above posts. Edit appropriately and use a soft light like a china ball and track with the talent. Keep the light near the camera to minimize shadows. An alternative could be a camera-mounted softbox, but that would be cumbersome for a fast-moving camera unless you are on a dolly.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 05:38 PM   #9
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And even a camera mounted softbox will probably still look pretty "spotlighty" unless you are in very tight which will be hard because of the motion involved.
The other problem with on-board lights (ignoring the unflattering, flat light) is that they are small lights with very short working distances.

I like the idea of getting creative with how you shoot it. Some tight shots of wheels cutting, hopping, etc. intercut with short segments of the actor would let you avoid the whole moving light nightmare.

Just out of interest, how do you plan to move the camera for this shot?
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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Keyser
Just out of interest, how do you plan to move the camera for this shot?
I'll be on skates too. That's why I'm worried about having a boom-mounted light. I will need to be (and keep the camera) synchronized with the skater as he goes back and forth, meaning the lighting movement would need to be sync'd with me so as not to cast unflattering shadows in the shot. This will be pretty difficult to do.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 06:58 AM   #11
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In that case I'd rig lights around the garage, hiding them behind pillars etc. It's a dynamic action shot, so having the subject moving through numerous pools/shafts of light is all part of the action. You could have lights bouncing into a row of poly boards as fill on the camera side of the garage. I don't think you'll be able to do it with one light. Unfortunately, without seeing the location and knowing your budget it's difficult to suggest anything else.

Also, I'm not sure how you'd be able to do an accurate stop pull if you're also skating, but i suppose you could find a sweet spot to momentarily hit the auto iris.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
Also, I'm not sure how you'd be able to do an accurate stop pull if you're also skating, but i suppose you could find a sweet spot to momentarily hit the auto iris.
Well, I am getting my Z1 today and will fiddle around with it a little. I am hoping that I can set the gain (0dB) and shutter speed (60fps) to manual and leave the iris on automatic.
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