Lighting for a Bar Scene and Motel scene 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 June 30th, 2006, 11:34 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
Lighting for a Bar Scene and Motel scene

I am about to shoot two scenes from a short I wrote.

One is a man and a woman in a bar late at night. She is the bartender, he is a patron. I want a warm cozy feel to it, a bit dark around the edges and the people and bar to stand out.

The other is just the main character, sitting in a dark hotel room alone. This scene is very emotional and dark. I want severe dark areas and lots of shadows.

One of my biggest weaknesses is lighting effectively. Any hints or tips that can help me? Below is my equipment list I have now, and I have a small budget. Any help would be great.

Equipment:

Canon GL2
Fluid head tripod
Headphones
Shotgun mic
2 - Shop lights with dual 500W bulbs each
1 - Bescor VS-65 AC/DC On-Camera Light with Twin Vertical Barndoors
1 - Pack of various colored Gels

Oh and the use of a bar :)
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 30th, 2006, 11:42 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
Forgot to add, I also have a UV, ND, and Soft FX3 filter for the Canon GL2. I was thinking of using the Soft FX filter for the bar scene to give it a warmer cozy feel.
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 30th, 2006, 04:22 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Posts: 1,200
Steve,

I took part in a lighting workshop a few years back, and we were challenged to recreate lit scenes from magazine photos. It was a great exercise.

The three basic lights are Key, Fill and Back lights. The key light would be the main light source, the fill reduces contrast and shadows on the dark side, and the back light separates the subject from the background

Half of lighting is creating it, and the other half is blocking it. If you keep the bar scene tight, you might be able to get by with top lighting the subjects with your work lights (with diffusion gels to soften them), and then having some kind of 'bounce' (white cardboard), hidden on the bar counter to kick the light back under chins etc. to reduce contrast. Maybe a light on over a pool table in the background for a little depth in the scene. Beware though, because it may be flourescent bulbs which read kind of green, versus the yellow of tungsten (a yellow gel may help). You could position one of those Budweiser neon signs in soft focus in the background to separate your subjects from the back wall.

The great thing about video tape is that it is cheap and you get virtually instant feedback, compared to the old days of waiting for expensive film to come back from processing only to find it looks like crap. That's why everyone used to run around with light meters.

I would think you wouldn't want to use your on camera light as it really isn't meant for set lighting, more for run and gun when light is needed.

For the dark room, you may be able to use one diffused or dimmed work light coming through a window. Remember though, you always need to bounce (fill) some light to the darkside to reduce contrast and shadows.

Read some of Cole McDonald posts (YAFIA underground I think), he has some great low/no budget lighting tricks.

Have fun, and experiment.

Ken
__________________
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
Ken Diewert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2nd, 2006, 01:15 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
I think the key to this sort of lighting will be control. It can be difficult to control worklights since they don't have barndoors, but you could get some black wrap affordably. If you haven't used it, it is blackened aluminum foil. You can wrap it around your lights and use it to control the spill. If you don't control the light, each light will light half your room in a 180 degree arc radiating from each lamp. The shadows will all point back to your work light and give it's location away. Of course, you will get fairly uniform light all over the room which is the exact the opposite of your intentions. You may need to use one light one each stand at a time unless you can control and aim the light effectively.

Once you get control of your light, I would try something like this. Light your talent mostly from the side and behind. To make it seem dark, don't light the area of the actor's faces that points directly at the camera. In other words, only use rim lights. You will probably have enough reflected spill light to give a bit of light to that area of their face anyway. If a person's face is mostly dark and there are dark areas in the background, it will seem very dark. Don't forget that you must have areas lit in both the foreground and background to supply contrast and detail. Use controlled light cast at acute angles to make partial pools of light. Imagine curtains in the background. Put a pool of light on them cast from the side. It will only light the side of the folds on the curtain facing the light. Therefore, you will get a bunch of alternating dark and light vertical stripes in your image. It is the contrast between dark and light that makes the image seem dark. Very even lighting makes the scene look bright, even if it is not overexposed.

You may want to replace the bulbs in the practical lights (table lamps, etc.) with low-wattage elements so they don't cast bright light all over the room. In the hotel room, a single 40W bulb in a table lamp will make the lamp and night table be lit without doing much to your talent and the background. Practicals (existing mundane lights) give a good excuse for areas to be lit by your studio lights. The good thing is that you then can control the light while the audience just assumes it is from an existing light somewhere just off screen. You could add some fabric inside the lamp to keep it from throwing too much light back onto your background. Remember, you want a lot of dark areas in your background. If necessary, prepare a lamp/shade in advance with half of it shaded with extra fabric. Test all of this in your home before wasting the time of the whole crew on the set. If you can do it at home, it will only be twice as hard on the set! :)

DO NOT try to control the light of 500W lights with fabric or paper. You will end up on the news and be listed in completely undesirable columns of government statistics.

Oh, the warm and cozy feeling can be almost the same lighting with a bit more fill and some color correction to lower (amber/red) frequencies.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 2nd, 2006, 06:26 AM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
Wow, thanks guys, great tips.

One thing I was thinking of for the hotel room scene was to leave the door of the hotel open, and put one of the larger lights outside the door, then make the room itself fairly dark so that the light cast in the door has a specific shape that falls onto the main character sitting on the bed.

This may or may not work, but as you said experimentation is the key.
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2006, 06:18 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
The light outside the door could work if they let you put a light in the hall. Just remember that if you don't light some areas in the room that nobody will know it is a hotel room. It will just be a dark room. A few things that make it look like a hotel should be in the pathway of the light. If you think you need too much light to get this effect to retain your "dark" feel, you can use negative fill in areas you want to stay dark. All this means is that you put up black cards or fabric to absorb light that might otherwise bounce off a light-colored object and fill the shadows you might want to stay dark.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2006, 11:55 AM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
Thanks Marcus.

One of the things I was thinking of was using the bathroom light behind him as a backlight. Then add some colored low watt lamps or chinese lanterns on one side of him to add a slight bit of color and fill.

Since I would only light him from one side, I am hoping this causes heavy shadows on one side of his face.

Let me know if I am onto the right idea.

I have a rough sketch of how I would do the lighting if anyone would be so kind as to critique it, then I can email it to them.

Steve
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2006, 12:47 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
I have posted a pic of my possible light set up. The black blob on the be dis the subject.

Let me know if you see issues with this set up.

http://img508.imageshack.us/my.php?i...gscheme8vy.png
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2006, 07:30 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
I wouldn't use a chinese lantern since it will spill perfecly evenly over the entire room. The subject would be brighter since it would be closer, but the whole room would get some of that spill. You did not show the camera position, but I think with all those lights that you may already have a problem with too much lumination bringing up the shadows. It is hard to say not knowing the camera location. You may just want to use the TV as your backlight. You could suppliment it with a light gelled with CTB. Perhaps you could replace the bathroom lights with weaker bulbs or unscrew a couple of them if they are too bright. Bathrooms tend to be light colored so you may get a lot of reflected light filling your room. If that is not a problem, the shot may look good. Considering all the possible light spill problems, I would definitely bring some black card or fabric in case it is necessary to negative fill the talent on the shadow side.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 3rd, 2006, 08:15 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Posts: 1,675
If you are careful with your primary lightsource, you can bump up the key so that you can drop your exposure pushing the dark areas darker by adding light to the light areas.
__________________
Web Youtube Facebook
Cole McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 4th, 2006, 01:20 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
Check this out and give me some feedback. I threw the music in for emotional effect, it wont be used in the final product.

I think I went to dark. Also this is a small horrible resolution just so the file size would be small enough.

Any lighting advice would be appreciated.


http://www.4shared.com/account/file....H5CsudYYbUNQ7O

(Note: After clicking link, there will be a play or download option at the bottom. The video is called Jules&Sam.wmv)

Steve
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 07:50 PM   #12
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 5
Link doesnt work for me ?
David Fletcher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
Neither does it work for me. It goes to the site's homepage and gives me the option to sign up. After I sign up, it opens a folder for me to upload files. If I come back here and click the link, it just opens my 4shared folder on their site.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2006, 05:29 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 32
http://www.4shared.com/file/2350565/.../julessam.html

This is the correct one. It worked for Cole, should work for you guys too. Sorry for the bad link.

Just scroll to the bottom and hit play.

Steve
Steve Maisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 7th, 2006, 06:51 AM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
The people are lit as you described, but there is no background. Since there is no background, the people look too small in a big field of black. Also, the black seemed more like charcoal grey. What are the color values of your black? It doesn't seem like video noise, just that the black is more like grey.
Marcus Marchesseault 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 02:27 PM.


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