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Old May 16th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #1
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Question: Tricky Lighting Situation/Mixing Sources

I have a tricky lighting situation:

Florescent lights overhead and a wall of windows on one side of an area/location where I will be shooting (that cannot be blacked out). The overhead florescent lights cannot be turned off either.

The challenge: I have two sources of (unwanted) light to deal with, but need to light the area (dramatically) for two actors who will be playing a scene across a counter from one another. (think Airline/Airport gate area)

When I can control the unwanted light, or eliminate it, I normally use standard Arri hard lights (fresnels, open face, soft, 1k, 650, 150, etc) and standard methods.

What special considerations do I need to take into account when mixing all of these sources? Or should I?

Any suggestions?

Thanks --
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Old May 16th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #2
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bounce light off a white board or silver reflector to keep the temp the same as the over head lights. Gel the lights you have to match the overhead lighting (bring gels...1/4 green will be your friend with flourescents). Shoot test in the location with standins to make sure you can get the lights to match. Use color to paint if you can't change it :)
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:52 AM   #3
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I think Cole meant to say to use minusgreen gel on the fluorescents.

The big problem you have is probably the windows that could cause a strong backlit situation. Your tungsten lights are the wrong color to fight a solar backlight. You would need to use Full CTB (blue) gel to correct your tungsten to the correct color. CTB really knocks down the amount of light coming from a tungsten fixture, so your kit might be too weak for this and/or turning it all on might blow the breakers.

You might consider renting a 1.2K HMI light or a couple of big daylight-balanced kinoflos.

Are the windows tinted and, if they are, are they colored in any way. Sometimes, offices use an amber/brown colored tint which would effect the color temperature of your incoming light.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #4
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Nope, I meant plus greens for the fixtures he brings to match the existing lights.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #5
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Cole, Marcus –

Thanks for the great suggestions.

If it helps, here are a couple of picture of the location (crappy pics, I didn’t take them). The second shot shows the counter (side view, far end of the room) behind the woman (look for the two tall standing plants). The other pic is a head on shot of the location. One actor will be behind the counter, the other in front. Also notice the windows which will be behind the 'customer' standing at the counter.

If I use a 1K Arri fresnel(s) with CTB and diffusion, how far will that knock the light down -- and do think it would be effective? Or should I go with CTB and bounce off of a white board?

I agree, I think the biggest problem might be the windows and the amount of light coming in..

Any other suggestions based on the pics? Any specific set up ideas as to lighting two actors as mentioned above?

Thanks again for all of the input.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #6
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This is all subjective, of course, but I'd be more concerned about the overhead florescents at least in the area right around the action. Even if you can't turn all of them off, can you twist out the tubes in the area where you are working? Or maybe tape showcard over them? Then you can work with the windows to light your scene. From the pictures, it looks like you can frame your shots such that the windows just peek into the frame and provide a motivation for your lighting.
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Old May 17th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #7
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Raph --

Good idea about unscrewing the florescents -- I was thinking about that myself, but don't know if the building authority would take kindly to that. Taping card stock over them is a great idea also...

Anyone else?
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #8
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Why not?

Hi James:

I shoot in situations like this all of the time when I do industrials. Here is what my strategy would be.

1. You must tame the daylight. You can do this by shooting at a time when the sun is not directly hitting those windows AND OR you can set up some duvetine on a couple of C-stands near the windows, just out of frame. You don't need to kill all of the daylight coming in, you just need to shade the area your actors are in as well as a bit behind them. When you said you cannot black out the windows, I assumed you meant you can't ND them or place black showcard over them, but I assume you can build a small "light block" with duve and a couple of C-stands for just the time you are shooting?

Other options would be to rent HMIs or cheaper and easier, daylight balanced Kinos. You can fight the light or you can go with it. It's easier to adapt your lighting to what's outside that window but if it's blasting through the window, depending on the angle of the sun, you must tame it anyway, one way or another.

2. As far as the fluoros, good suggestions already here. Once again, if you manually white balance, if you cannot block or kill all of the overheads in your area, a little green fluoro bleed won't kill you and if you use a medium Chimera or something larger like that size as your key source, you can probably further block the amount of light from the overheads that actually makes it into your scene.

I shot a composer on a scoring stage over at Fox this week. While I lit my setup with Tungsten, the BG looked very warm due to the mixed temp lighting all over the stage (tons of soldium and some lower color temp halogens). So I purposely cooled down the color temp on the composer by using the white balance through 1/2 CTO trick. I obviously didn't have the video lights, grip and crew to re-light the entire stage so I just made sure that my subject was differentiated from the BG by manipulating color. It turned out quite nice, the client loved it.

Enjoy!

Dan
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Old May 17th, 2007, 11:39 PM   #9
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Dan --

Thanks for the great input. I had hoped not to have to drage in a bunch of duv, but it is a very good idea and as you mentioned, I don't need to cover the entire bank of windows, just in the area of the actors.

Perhaps I'll try that combined with 1/2 CTB on the tungsten’s...

Any tips on instruments (tungsten), types, wattage, positions, etc? I have a pretty good working knowledge and practices, just curious to know what others might do.

Again, two actors -- across the counter from one another.

Thanks
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Old May 29th, 2007, 01:06 AM   #10
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You really have multiple options and your choices should be directed by the tone of the scene not the fixtures. For example you can balance to tungsten or use a 3200 preset and use the arris and some ctb for the key and allow the sun or the fluos to fill and create a cold artificial feeling. To make it warmer replace the fluo tubes with 5000 or 5500 degree 92 cri tubes from home depot (or the like) and use a half blue on your arris for warmth and balance to 5600. It's kind of funny how nobody asked what the scene was before telling you how to light it, that should be the first part of the question when asking for this sort of advice. Good Luck, Charles.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #11
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Any chance of shooting the scene at night, when you can remove the ambient daylight from the equation entirely? Even if the scene needs to play as day, you can recreate the sense of daylight by avoiding the windows and building your source from that side of the frame.
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