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Old November 30th, 2006, 12:07 PM   #1
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Light Source for NYC Subway Shoot

Hey Guys-

I've got to shoot a short scene in a NYC subway station with my XL2 and I'm definitely going to need some additional light. Any ideas on a good portable light source that I could use for the shoot (and that hopefully won't break the bank)? The station I'm using already has pretty adequate harsh fluorescent lighting, so i really just need some extra intensity on my subject.

Thanks...
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Old November 30th, 2006, 01:22 PM   #2
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you could get a hand held sun gun (hunting flash light...~$30) or a black and decker snake light (~$20)
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Old November 30th, 2006, 11:22 PM   #3
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I did a Froogle search for “Sun Gun” and I couldn’t find anything less than about $150. Is that a certain brand that you’re referring to in the $30 range??
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Old December 1st, 2006, 07:44 AM   #4
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http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...id=03476255000

If you bounce it off a card or through a diffuser/bed sheet, it'll get rid of the "Flash light look"
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Old December 1st, 2006, 10:44 AM   #5
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Hope you're not planning guerrilla style shoot with a light in the NY Subway, it might attract some attention from the authorities. Low key is usually the best way if you haven't got permission.

You'll need to gel your fill light to match the lights at the station, otherwise it'll stand out from the subway station's lighting.
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Old December 5th, 2006, 07:53 PM   #6
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Yeah, unless you've got permits, don't use lights. Using reflectors might be better, but still, there are lots of surveillance cameras everywhere and there's usually lots of cops, esp at some of the busier/larger stations.

You can get a Bescor battery and a 50W Smith Victor sungun for about $150-200 total, then get some gels to match the lovely plus green light and you are in the ballpark.

But as I said, if you don't have permits, I'd be REALLY careful to keep a low profile and KISS.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 06:14 PM   #7
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It is not legal to shoot in the NY City subway system unless the Port Authority has given you permission etc. Can take many days and they still might say no. The Subway museum is often used by productions for this reason. Be prepared to be stopped if they see you setting up a scene in the subway. Since 911 the rules are even stricter. Even shooting with small handy cams is discouraged.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 11:01 PM   #8
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I know this is getting off-topic, but for the record this is the current law:

"21 NYCRR 1050.9c applies to the NYCT and MaBSTOA; 21 NYCRR 1040.4f of the same document applies to SIRT. In each case the language is the same:

Restricted areas and activities. Photography, filming, or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors, or tripods may not be used. Members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance to the provisions of these rules."

I don't foresee a problem in the very early morning (very late night) at my usually deserted subway station.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #9
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Daniel:

The MTA controls New York City Transit (NYCT, i.e. most New York subways), as well as Metro North and the Long Island Railroad. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates the PATH trains between Manhattan and New Jersey, and the Port Authority bus station. The systems connect, but are not the same.

Bridges and tunnels are likewise split up between the MTA and the Port Authority.

(Oh, and the Staten Island Ferry? That is operated by the City of New York.)

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Old December 16th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #10
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I've shot several times in the NYC Subway without lights and the results have been excellent. Just choose your station wisely. It's going to look much better to use the natural light. Gritty look? Well, that's the New York Subway. Pick a station with better lighting (they vary). When shooting in these kinds of situations I've brought the frame-rate down for more exposure. The blur of the train and movement can be an aesthetic asset, depending on the piece. Consider your limitations an aesthetic opportunity.

You will find that the cost of the insurance required for a permit to work with any kind of gear in the NYC Subway is prohibitive and the MTA will restrict what you shoot and where you shoot.

Better to work guerilla-style and have the actors stand under or close to light sources. Just don't block traffic. Don't do complex organized stuff. Loose and low-profile is key. Don't take any equipment with you except for the camera. Wireless mics on the actors. More important than lighting in this situation. The moment you put any equipment down or a tripod down, you will call attention to yourself and you will be having a conversation you don't want to have with an MTA police officer. I've run into some nice ones, bot some are not so nice (I hear). Pre-911 I even got away shooting hand-held with a 35mm camera in the NYC Subway, a transit cop walked by looked at me, I looked at him and smiled, and he continued on his way, and I continued to shoot, but these days you might find things are a little less flexible.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 04:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tames
[...] Better to work guerilla-style [...]
That said, I should add: shooting in the NYC Subway can be dangerous. Be extra careful about safety. Try to shoot at a time when there's not a lot of passenger traffic if your script allows.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #12
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Rush hour might be better since you kind of blend in with the crowd. You might consider holding your camera under your armpit as it would look less conspicuous as opposed to shoulder mounting it or holding it up at eye level while taping.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #13
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Yes, keep it low key and be very careful. Location scouts will be a huge aid. Take your light meter with you and get some readings at different stations.

To do it officially, you will need a permit, but you will be charged a crazy amount to get said permit. Not to mention, I believe many insurance policies become null and void as soon as you come within a certain distance of the tracks. 25' maybe? In order to get insurance that will allow you to shoot close enough, you're going to be paying a lot more.

Assuming this is pretty low budget, I'd keep it simple and just try and sneak the shots you need.
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