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Old October 30th, 2003, 06:27 AM   #1
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What Is The Best Way To Light a Cyclorama?

I need to use a white cyclorama for two fantasy sequences in a short film. This will be a homemade cyclorama from rolls of white paper.

But what is the best way to light it? Do you need a cyc light? if so, how many for a cyclorama 8-10 feet wide? What book/article covers using them? And in NY area, where is the best/cheapest place to rent them?

If you can light a cyclorama without them, how? I have reflectors, 3 1000w DPs, 1 650w Omni, 1 650w Arri frensel, and 3 24"x24" 500w softboxes (1 can be 750w) (JTL kit).


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Old October 30th, 2003, 11:25 AM   #2
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I have never done this for video, but for stage use we use instruments that are generally refered to as "far cycs". Essentially they are floodlights with a textured aluminum reflector that provides a wide even field of light. The reflectors are designed to spread the light as evenly as possible over the full length of the cyc even though the unit is positioned at the top (or bottom, or maybe both :-).

Here are some units from altman for example. Of course the multi-cell units are used when you need to blend several colors. Maybe something like their EC-1 would work for your simple application?

I'm sure others will have better suggestions as they relate to video lighting. On a budget I imagine you could concoct something simple since you're not lighting a very big area. Like the generic home depot halogen floodlights. But you would probably need to remove the wire guards to avoid shadows, and you might want to add some sort of diffusion gel to get a more even field. I have even lit small cycs by pulling the lens out of a fresnel and adding a cut of diffusion gel.
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Old November 3rd, 2003, 12:47 PM   #3
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I was going to say get some cyc lights, but that has already been mentioned. But seriously consider renting some. Or some broads. We have a whole bunch of them we use for various purposes, but they work great for our backdrop lighting.

For the low low budget, do some test with Lowel Tota lights.

If eveness is what you are looking for, I used to light a chromakey cyc wall with Kinoflo lights. Worked excellent. Since your surface is white and it sounds like you might be trying to do an infinity set ala Matrix, and others, then something like the kinos or cyc lights will work best. Something that won't throw a hard spot on any one area of the cyc and light overlap won't look too goofy.

for what it's worth...
Stephen Schleicher
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Old November 3rd, 2003, 05:29 PM   #4
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Lots of lights

I would look at Kino, Caselights, or Lightbanks.. and lots of them.

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Old November 3rd, 2003, 08:12 PM   #5
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If it isn't too large and you have the space, you might thing about trying to backlight the material. Doesn't need near the # of liights.

I hide the hot spot from the light by placing either a part of the set or a character in front of it.

Works for chromakey work too.
Mike Rehmus
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Old November 9th, 2003, 11:35 AM   #6
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I used the three softboxes, 2 with 500w and 1 with 750w, and the 1000w DP. Tried some different diffusions on the DP (I have the Bogen 12x12 package) but ended up bare and wide. Lit the subjects with the Arri fresnel.

And it worked. There were 2-3 f-stops difference.


I ran into a scheduling problem (I was sick all week) and ended up using a very finely textured white wallpaper for the back of the cyclorama (what you can get at Home Depot at 10 pm). Kits and Expendibles didn't carry the paper and The Set Shop was on the other side of town.
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