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Old February 23rd, 2010, 12:09 PM   #1
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Trying to create the 60's B/W Horror Film Look

Hopefully this is the right thread to ask this but I am going to be filming a scene for an upcoming short film where it needs to look like a scene from an old b/w horror film from the 60's. Such as "Night of the Living Dead" Now I'm not really asking so much about color correction, because that is simple, but more so on lighting set up. I have 3 lights, here is the basic set up that I have...

1 Clamp light :
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA280_.jpg

And work lights:
http://www.luxuryhousingtrends.com/t...p-lighting.jpg

I'm trying to study a scene from NOTLD (YouTube - Night of the Living Dead (Part 9 of 17)) and it seems like the background has a lot of lighting and there seems to be maybe a light on the backside of the actors. So if I were to shoot this scene I would use the work lights to completely light up the background and use the clamp light to add some lighting to the actors. Right... or almost right?

Also any suggestions on types of bulbs to buy for clamp lights?
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Old March 8th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #2
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Wow... 166 views but no input.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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Joel,

I'm not in a position where I can watch the YouTube videos, but since you haven't gotten any responses, I asked director Brad Mays, an experienced filmmaker who has worked on film, his thoughts. Hopefully, it will be sufficient to kick start the discussion with maybe an experienced DP or two chiming in with a more substantive perspective. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Here's his response:

Let's start with the easiest problem first - photo supply stores generally carry pretty broad range of high wattage incandescent bulbs, suitable for clamp on instruments. They go up to 500 watts and, I believe, the 200 watt bulbs are still available as well. 500 watt bulbs get very hot so exercise all the usual caution.

I'm not a big George Romero fan but I will concede that his previous work in Pennsylvania tv commercials gave him a pretty good technical facility when he was shooting NOTLD. Shooting in B&W requires a selective approach. You're trying to create a sense of depth. Trying to cover large background areas with one or two lights works against this purpose. You should try to get a hold of some C-stands and a number of black flags. This way, you'll have greater control over which surfaces are illuminated and which remain in shadow. Light and shadow equals chiaroscuro. You'll want some back light for your foreground subjects as well as a strong direct key light. You're probably going to want to avoid diffusion because few were the sixties films employing diffuse light.

I would recommend shooting some still black and white shots on an experimental basis before you get into filming the scenes with actors. Also, in a high contrast lighting situation, smoke is a highly desirable visual element. Although it's now considered declasse, having your actors smoke will add tremendously to the visual impact, if you're lighting has been designed to enhance the smoke. An open window in the background is great in nighttime set ups where a heavy key light can create shapes on the walls. Again, using flags to shape direct light is probably your best bet in trying to replicate black and white photography from the fifties and sixties.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #4
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Lori,

Thank you for the information! I appreciated it a lot. I guess I should of stated this, and I didn't even really think of it before! But its almost a noir look I'm trying to achieve. To get a more specific inputs, I am shooting a horror scene in which deals with a character in a kitchen in black and white.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 01:45 AM   #5
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Brad said to consider where the light comes from. In a kitchen, you can have a kitchen window with strong lighting outside shining in - a street light or a light over the door or garage door. You'd have over head lighting most likely and we know that's scary. You'd have doorways to a hallway or another room which could be lit up. And then you'd have lights from the appliances.

That's where you'd start thinking about what you're doing.

Have you looked on YouTube to see if there are instructional videos?
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