How to dramatically light a Hospital Operating theatre at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 29th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Gatwick, UK
Posts: 185
How to dramatically light a Hospital Operating theatre

Any good cinematographers out there?

We frequently see hospital operating theatres in television dramas, movies, etc. And I will be needing to shoot this shortly.

It's a drama, so I would like to go for the dramatic effect. Harsh shadows, minimal lighting. Setups will be surgeons exchanges and a POV from the patient also.

I was thinking maybe a lowel pro light from up above, maybe with a snoot or blackwrap around it... plus a softbox where the patient's body is to light their faces... Is this right?

Any guidance would be appreciated!
Kris Koster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2010, 01:19 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
Fresnel spots are more controllable than the open faced Lowel. The bright operating lights used in operating theatres are interesting and would the motivation for your lighting effect, however, the room itself is usually lit by fluorescents. It's really a matter of deciding how stylised you want to be.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 5th, 2010, 12:27 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Monument, CO
Posts: 109
Yeah operating rooms are always bathed in light for obvious reasons. I would be loath to allow someone to operate on me in the dark! That being said, perhaps you can just limit the strong lighting to the operating table and perhaps a small perimeter around it leaving darker shadows the further you move away from the table. Members of the operating team would seem to appear and disappear as the move towards and away from the table. The only issue with that is you wouldn't have any backlight, just darkness behind the talent. I guess it depends on how surreal you want to be. If this is a straight up drama then this might not work. I do agree on using a spot though, if you need to have minimal backlight then perhaps a low wattage softbox or a bounce off a wall from an overhead source. Lots of possibilities there depending upon the layout of the operating room. Are there observation windows above or is this just a standard closed room?
Steve Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 5th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
The trick is to start with real practical lights - so the proper lights above and manoeuvrable will need to be in the shot anyway - so they will illuminate the subject on the table - and the contrast between them and the rest of the lighting is the trick. So you'll have the subject lit, so then you need the 'surgeons' to be lit - so I'd go with fresnels, high and steep if you want mood, lower if facial detail is more important. The exact number depends on the staging of the scene - where the actors will actually be. If you're crafty, with perhaps a little scrim and maybe some colour, the bottom half of each beam can be dimmed and become back light, giving a nice edge to each person.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 7th, 2010, 04:31 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Gatwick, UK
Posts: 185
Many thanks for all these suggestions.

I've now shot the piece incorporating your suggestions and can put a link here when I'm through editing it.

In the end, I went for a lowel pro light with black wrap around it spotting down onto the theatre table, and since my camera position was only one side and top of table, I used a 500w soft box to light the talent from below table (almost floor) height. This achieved the dramatic look I was after.

Thank you again.
Kris Koster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 19th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Gatwick, UK
Posts: 185
In case anyone else finds this thread and was interested, this is the final work:

YouTube - Philips Cinema - Parallel Lines - Dead Awake, by Kris Koster

I used a completely black room, dressed it like an op theatre. Placed one lowel pro light from the ceiling down on the patient, with black wrap around it to focus a spot.

I used the Lowel Rifa 55 to the side (end) of the bed to light the surgeons faces. I had to block out a lot of the light coming from the soft box by draping a towel over half of it. This was more than enough light for me.

Shot with the 5D mark II on ISO 1250 (which is lower noise than ISO 100 !!)
Kris Koster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 27th, 2010, 06:25 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Kelowna, BC [Canada, Eh!]
Posts: 257
I'd bounce light of the ceiling for the ambient light and fresnals from the ceiling downward for the operating lights. Basically diffused light for ambient and high angle spots for operating lights.

Maybe gel them up a bit depending on the look (color) you are going for.
Denny Lajeunesse 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 > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:13 PM.


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