Lighting gels question(s) at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Photon Management
Shine an ever-loving light on you.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 15th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 505
Lighting gels question(s)

What online suppliers are you guys using to buy large high temp gels (22" and larger)? Also, what blue gels types are you partial to for night scenes?
Thanks
Greg
Greg Quinn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 15th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 342
I buy everything at B&H cause I trust them and they're pretty fast in getting it to me.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

I am guessing here, but you want to fake moonlight - put a 1K outside a window an shine it in, or out in the street at midnight. Anything that you do won't actually look like real moon light, but that's not the point. Matter of personal taste, really, not to mention mood. If it's light and say romantic, try a 1/2 CTB for something darker, a #1 CTB, but be prepared to ramp up the source or open the iris, cause you'll loose 1 1/2 stops with a #1.

Out of curiousity, why do you need large gels for this? You can put a pretty big instrument behind a 12" gel, and a bloody enormous one beind a 22".
Jack Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 15th, 2006, 11:56 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Barker
Out of curiousity, why do you need large gels for this? You can put a pretty big instrument behind a 12" gel, and a bloody enormous one beind a 22".
Jack, thanks for the guidance. I have a bunch of 32" soft boxes, and it seems easier to user a larger gel size.
Greg Quinn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16th, 2006, 01:11 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Posts: 1,538
Big moon?

Softboxes huh?

Granted the moon is very, very big - but it's also very, very, very, VERY far away. And as such it acts more like a point source than a soft box. Moonlight casts a sharpish shadow in the real world.

Then again, it's your set. So if you want blue and soft, go for it. Probably make your actors happier since they'll be all "glowey." (grin)
Bill Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16th, 2006, 04:19 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
Don't forget, Bill, that the moon is perceived as soft. The very low illumination that the moon provides is at the border of our eyes' capabilities. Our eyes open up the iris and this causes a shallower depth of field. Couple the shallow depth of field (most things out of focus) with barely illuminated areas and you get a perceived soft light. The same goes for candlelight. Ask almost anyone and they will say that candles give a soft glow to people's faces. In reality, they are almost a point source.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
The very low illumination that the moon provides is at the border of our eyes' capabilities.
Maybe this is true for you, but certainly not for me. Several months ago I moved to a place out in the woods, and have taken to wandering around late at night. As soon as your eyes get accustomed, it's remarkable how bright the moon is. I have no problem finding my way around little trails deep in the woods without a flashlight. In fact, I can even find my way on moonless nights if I'm familiar with the area. It's quite remarkable how sensitive your eyes are once they become accustomed to the dark.

Now you are quite correct about the moon being a point source though. These photos were taken under moonlight, and aside from the color (which is completely arbitrary, due to the white balance setting) you might think they were taken during the day:

http://forums.njpinebarrens.com/gall....php?album=458

Here are some other photos taken on a hazy night with a nearly full moon. The glow in the sky from the haze made it remarkably bright outside:

http://forums.njpinebarrens.com/gall....php?album=468

I wish our video cameras were fast enough to capture real moonlight like this! These photos were shot with a Nikon 5700 using time exposures around a minute. Since I do theatrical lighting design, the color of moonlight interests me. It's not uncommon to represent it with a deep blue gel on the stage, like R67, R77 or R80. But of course real moonlight is much whiter than this. My unscientific impression is that the color is actually closer to R62. Now with film/video it has more to do with white balance settings though. For example, I set my camera's white balance to tungsten for the photos in that second link above and I think the color conveys the mood perfectly.

Sorry for wandering off-topic a bit here but the color and nature of moonlight is something I've been pondering a lot recently. As far as where to buy gels, of course B&H photo is a great suggestion. You should also be able to find them at any theatrical supply distributor in your area. Check your phonebook or use the member directory at esta.org to find one in your area.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 342
I gotta agree with Bill. I have seen a lot of tungsten-lit night footage and I'll bet none of it using a softbox. Moonlight is very harsh almost noirish. The only time I could see that working is if you were shooting a night interior with artificial moonlight coming through the window, and your source was not big enough for the job. A softbox, or frame with diffusion would increase the source size enough to fill the window/s and on in to the interior without it looking like a spotlight. And psychologically, you kind of expect even moonlight to be softer inside than out same with sunlight.

Greg, I had no idea you were intending to use boxes with your instruments. But either way, gel the lamp, not the softbox. Hell, I even gel from a free samples book, even though I have 12x12 and 20x22 gels and frames.
Jack Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
Boyd, I totally agree with you, once this sentence was added.

"...once they become accustomed to the dark."

Of course, that rarely happens for most people due to light pollution. Most people will witness the moonlight within minutes of being exposed to artificial light. Unless you are outside where there is no artificial light for several minutes, moonlight will seem very dim. Dim light, like the candle example I used, is often perceived as soft. Unless you can get the light up really high, a large softbox or fabric diffuser frame can be used to disguise the fact that your "moon" light is only a few feet away. Making the shadows soft makes it harder to tell they are coming from a bright light nearby.

edit: There seem to be as many references online to "harsh moonlight" as "soft moonlight". I guess it depends on your scene. The harsh moonlight seems to have more references with cold or snow imagery.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Photon Management

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:12 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network