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Photon Management
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Old February 20th, 2008, 11:48 PM   #1
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Neon Lights

Do neon lights pose any problems while recording video? Flicker, or other?

The lights would be covered directly, but their glow would be visible. More specifically, the lights are directly behind a company metal logo that glows off the silvery metal background about 5" behind the logo and neon lights.

Anything I need to look out for?
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Old February 20th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #2
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Also as a follow-up, once I shoot some lights on the main subject person in front of the logo, what's the best way to keep from flooding out the logo glow that's about 2 feet behind the subject?
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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:16 AM   #3
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It depends. Most outdoor and older neon's use core and coil transformers. Similar principle to fluorescent lights. If you're shooting at any "legal" framerate, you should have no problem. However, follow the "hmi safe speeds" chart if youre trying to use an off-speed shutter angle.

Newer signs use electronic transformers which should pose no problems at all.

As for the shot, your description is confusing, but it sounds like the neon itself is backlighting a metal logo, and you're trying to keep both the logo and a person lit properly without spilling light on either? As long as you don't shoot your subject light directly back onto the neon, you should be ok. The glow from neon is actually fairly dim, so I would recommend setting up your shot with no light in the foreground. Expose so the neon looks correct, and then slowly add light to your subject (at an angle which does not spill onto your background). When the subject looks good, you've got the two sources balanced. It may take quite a bit of grip work to cut your key light off of the background, depending on the angle you choose. Easiest would be to block the shot such that the logo is at a nice angle in the back, and light the subject from that side of the frame. That way, your light will fall off into space and not onto the wall.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 11:34 PM   #4
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love working with neon because you can dim it. Yup ! neon is dimmable. fire it up at full voltage, then back it down as needed. with dimming flicker is a potential problem, but at full volts and a good transformer, all should be good at HMI safe shutter speeds - ie 23.976 means shutter at 1/60. I've used it whenever budget permits for on set sign lighting rather then flo lights.
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