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Photon Management
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Old March 25th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #1
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How to achieve THIS look?

I'm making KIND OF a video for a band. In fact it's like a 7 minutes promo with 3 minutes of interviews and one song half shot in a studio and half shot in a gig (this gig part is done).

The studio part I want to look like this pearl jam video.

The studio where we'll probably shoot is this

OK, we're comparing a beautiful vintage-look studio with a medium-size square room with white walls, but I'm pretty sure I can simulate something near to that.

My idea is a basic 500w-1000w light on the ceiling covered with blackwrap to make a spot over 2 members of the band's head, as backlight. For the other members I'll use smaller lamps that I'll put over the amps.

My questions are:

1- How to light the drum kit? Backlight coming from the ceiling or a very spot light coming from the other side of the room?

2- In the pearl jam video, there's beautiful soft light coming from the ground, to compensate the hardness of the spot light from the ceiling. What is the best way to achieve this? We don't have chinese balls here, so it's not an option.

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Old March 26th, 2007, 03:34 AM   #2
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It looks like it's lit from behind with a bunch of fresnels and/or spots. I can't see any diffused lighting other than a bit bouncing back in off the walls and floor.

For me, the camera work leaves a bit to be desired. Who can tell if they set out with the intention of shooting so many low angles and so much 'wobblescope'? It looks vaguely amateurish to me, but of course they may have been the intention.

Your studio is a little tight for space, but you can always shoot the drummer properly back-lit as a cut-away. Biggest problem I see is the white walls, can you paint them a darker tone?

Good luck with it,

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Old April 4th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #3
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Thanks A LOT, Liam.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #4
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Looking it over you can tell a lot from the shadows on the lead vocalist face. There is obviously a hard source (fresnel or such) off to his right and behind him (see the hard shadows on his face from his hair on his right side of his face. There is some soft light hitting him from the other side, maybe just bounced from some reflective surface (foamcore, umbrella or a soft box) but the color looks a bit different on that source. It's that soft source on his left that keeps his face from falling off into darkness.

You can see this soft source at work on the reverse shot over the shoulder of the guitar player. It could just be the room ambient bounce at that point. There is a really quick shot of the drummer and you can see what looks like a three light setup behind and to his right that is probably hitting him as well as the lead vocalist (responsible for his hard side/back light).

There is a single spot hitting the lead vocalist at what looks like a 45 degree overhead and behind him.

All the lights are probably easy enough to figure out if you look at the shadows. Are they hard shadows, soft shadows, light or very deep shadows, what angle are they coming from, color, etc.

You could probably draw a map of their lighting from just watching the video.

Sean McHenry
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Old April 7th, 2007, 03:05 PM   #5
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well in my opinion i think you have some stuff working for you, the tight space you are going to film in can be beneficial; smaller space = less lights for and therefor less problems with shadows. It looks like you have a nice speed rail set up in the top of the picture, you can set up individual keys from there if you rig up a speed rail going across the room. One in back and one in the front, for the rim/hair light and one for the keys. Like sean said, there seems to be a strong rimlight for the lead singer then a strong key with some diffused light from the front for fill for the wide shots. A nice way to get soft even light ive figured out is bouncing off walls, if you got a be-tweenie or somethin of that sort and bounced it off the walls that might give you some nice fill.

Do you have an idea for how you want to pain the scene, like what color lights you want?

What kind of equipment do you have access to? what does your budget look like?

I might recommend painting the walls some other color than white because it will make your picture look very flat. Depending on the type of music they sing you can do a lot to compliment the band with set design.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 02:55 PM   #6
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"1- How to light the drum kit? Backlight coming from the ceiling or a very spot light coming from the other side of the room?"

I think both - the drummer has a very strong backlight from behind/above, but the drumkit also shows a shadow on the front side that indicates there's a light on the opposite side of the room.

In my opinion the Pearl Jam video aims for a very amateurish look. The location, the camera, the lighting, everything seemingly wants to say "look, we are just a simple garage band next doors who had our friend shoot us with his mini dv cam"

I think you can pretty much achieve this look with a little trial and error using a bunch of open face lamps - but you need to have dark walls. Once your walls and ceiling are very dark you can start adding stuff like the carpet in the Pearl Jam video, which I think might be the source of a lot of the bounced soft light (or maybe the only source???)
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