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Photon Management
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Old August 9th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #16
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ 85260
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[QUOTE=Don Donatello;724652]"I'd spend the first hour of the FIRST class - AND the first half hour of every class after that reinforcing the fundamental concepts of the physics of wave phenomena"

huh , i'm confused ... i've yet to somebody on a set use any mathmatical inverse law equations to choose a light ...
now i have seen theater lighting persons use them ...


I'm not talking about doing calculations. I'm talking about the fundamentals of light falloff over distance. Double the distance, one quarter the light - tripple the distance one NINTH the light, etc.

Just demonstrate for them the very basic concepts of the propagation of energy waves. Something every person who lights well does intuitively - whether they realize it or not.

Beginners don't easily "get" that moving a softbox a foot or two back can have EXACTLY the same effect on the intensity as putting in a full stop scrim. (Heck, I've WATCHED guys spend 15 minutes disassembling and scrimming lights in a HUGE warehouse set with all the space in the world - because they didn't UNDERSTAND the effect of just moving the thing a couple of feet back.)

You don't need to run any numbers to understand that. You just need a teacher to undersand how things work in a practical sense and point them out in a way that's memorable.

During my lectures I always enjoyed the "a-ah!" moments like when I setup a very focused, barn door'd or grid controlled light on the wall - got them to agreed it was VERY focused and controlled, then turned it OFF to make the room pitch dark- let their eyes adjust - then turned it ON and asked them to read the notes on their desks. Pretty easy to understand demo of SPILL.

And a simple way to introduce a discussion of the difference it would make if the walls were less reflective (dark), or more reflective (light.)

I'm not sure how effective it is to just show them a variety of types of lights if you haven't first taught them how to LOOK at the shadows, the spill, the quality and temperature of the light and how they can easily affect those things by understanding some basic physics and geometry prinicpals of how waves work. And Gino is right, understanding how to model three dimentional shape on a 2 dimentional plane with light is largely what elevates lighting from boring to brilliant.

Nothing fancy or mathematical, just grade school or at best high school stuff like inverse square, angle of incedence, etc.

PLUS, I know you're not doing sound, but it's a disservice to them if you're already showing them waves in a way they can SEE, and not take a few moments to tie that to sound waves.

Live rooms, dead rooms, just like bright and dark rooms. Sound reflections, just like light reflections.

Nice chance to talk about mic patterns.

Oh and as to the "shotgun" discussion?

Ask the class how many of them would be comfortable using a REAL Purdy or other fine shotgun, but one that shoots in a hypercardiod pattern!

You know, with a big assed lobe at 180 degrees...

That kinda drives home the point.

Just some random thoughts from some years on the road teaching production basics in seminars.

For what it's worth.
Bill Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 10th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Muncie Indiana
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I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who added value. I think this course it going to become quite an asset to this school.

I've included a lot of your tips in my syllabus and when I'm said and done I'll let you all know how things worked out.

Email me for projects in Ohio or Indiana.
Lighting > Everything.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 09:42 AM   #18
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Location: Tampa-Orlando, FL
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Another important factor to be considered when calculating subject/light distance is when using a soft box like a Photoflex or Chimera. Thereís an optimum distance depending on the size of the box that will give you the best wrap-around effect necessary to creates soft or undefined shadow lines; as you increase that distance you diminish that wrap-around effect and the shadows line will become more defined and therefore less soft. Iím sure that somewhere there a formula based on the size of the light.
NinoMedia Productions - EFPLighting.com Advanced Lighting and Gripping Workshops
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