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Photon Management
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 11:09 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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That twinkle in her eye...

Hey all! I'm working on a film noir style short right now and have been looking at the first day's results. I like almost everything about the lighting setup except that we failed to get light in our actress' eyes. Here is a frame so you can see what i mean:


I noticed this problem while we were filming and tried to correct it with my trusty Surefire™ flashlight, but alas it was too bright. I was wondering what low-budget ideas you guys have used to get just a little twinkle into somebody's unlit eyes. Any ideas would be appreciated!
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Old March 24th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #2
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Location: London, England
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Take one large lighting assistant, add a piece of board with your choice of scrunched-up silver or gold tin foil stuck on it, add a light source directly to the foil and reflect into female artiste's eyes. Simple.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 05:19 PM   #3
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Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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Yeah, there are a lot of ways to solve this problem. The mysterious slash of light across the eyes is a classic noir look. Now that you know about it, you will be unable to watch film noir without seeing it.
A couple of layers of ND gel over the Surefire will tame it down, or you could go with a mini Maglite instead. It takes very little power to get an eye light if the source is in the right place to reflect in the eyes. Liam's reflector suggestion is another great idea. You could even get by with a small production assistant if your budget is really tight and you can't afford a large lighting assistant :)
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Old March 26th, 2007, 09:42 PM   #4
American Society of Cinematographers
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Yes, any light can be used -- you just have to be able to control the brightness, either with scrims, ND gels, diffusion gel, or putting the light on a dimmer.

I sometimes use an Inky with a snoot, plus scrims or ND, maybe even a dimmer. Or a Dedolight with a blackwrap snoot, or the projector attachment, again with scrims or ND gel to control the brightness.

Or for a softer light, a 2' 2-bank Kinoflo, diffusion over the doors, over or under the lens. Or a mini-Chimera softbank on a Tweenie.

Or a little silver reflector or even a compact mirror (perhaps dulled down) reflecting some other light on the set.

Or a flashlight...

Many, many methods.
David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Thanks for all the ideas guys! I was already aware of the "slash of light" approach, but that wasn't what I was looking for in this shot. The flashlight ideas sound promising, as well as the reflector idea. I appreciate all the input!
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Old March 30th, 2007, 12:36 PM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Florida
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In the Lord of the Rings DVD extras they talk about how they got that sparkle in Galadriel's eyes in the Lothlórien scenes. They hung a panel of white Christmas lights in front of her, producing all of those sparkly little points of magical light in her eyes. Of course the whole story may be much more complicated than that, with digital enhancement and all. I've never tried it myself, but it sounds like a cheap and easy trick.

Good luck on your project!
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