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Old April 30th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Dublin, Ireland
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Lighting a hospital ward

I'm shooting a film next week that has a scene in a hospital ward.

The director wants a fairly soft look for the actors.

I was thinking of using the fluorescent ceiling lights that are already there to light the background and lighting the actors with a kino flo.
We're shooting for black and white so I really want the actors to pop out against the background.

There will be a lot of close ups and mid shots of an injured woman and a few longer shots of a doctor talking with a police officer.

I have access to a 4 bank kino flo, a few redheads, 2 x 2k blondes and a 2-3 mizers.

I'm relatively inexperienced with lighting so any advice would be appreciated.
Richard Lacey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1st, 2010, 01:47 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 1,540
Don't actually know, but...

First, I have absolutely zilch experience with shooting B & W on video (quite a lot on stills), but to get this going here's my advice :-) and hopefully somebody with experience will join in.

Test it out. Normally commercial/industrial fluorescents are bad news for filming because they are so unpredictable in their colour temperature and colour rendition (which might in a funny way still be problem) and also because when tubes are replaced they can be very inconsistent from one lumiere to the next giving patches with different outputs. It's also difficult to mix these with other sources, even "proper" fluorescents designed for video. It might work OK but you have to test it.

Some other thoughts and links that might help - sorry if you don't need them, no disrespect intended.

How are you actually going to do the B & W? Will capture in colour and do it in post? How are you monitoring the shoot? Is it worth considering filming with filters if you are capturing in B&W? What colours will you be filming - clothes, backgrounds, props etc?

Some of these threads are quite old and things have moved on a bit, but might be worth a look.

Shooting in black and white - Digital Compact Cameras
Colin McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 1st, 2010, 10:55 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,807
While flos can be a small problem with color shooting (I say "small" because anyone who has shot on film knows that that medium is far more sensitive to the mired shift, represented here by the green spikes that standard fluorescent are known for), I wouldn't be concerned when it comes to black and white shooting. Dial down the chroma on your monitor and away you go.

A standard hospital ward is a fairly bright place. If the walls are white or light colored, the actors will indeed stand out against the walls, i.e. there will be plenty of separation. But if by having them "pop" what you mean is that you want them to be punchier or brighter than the walls, you will need to regulate the spill from the fluorescents closest to the walls. This is best achieved by getting up to the ceiling and turning off the ceiling flos manually (twist the tubes, being carefully that they don't fall out). If you are nervous about doing that, you can cover the offending banks with opaque material like duvetyne or visqueen (plastic sheeting). This would assume you would never shoot low or wide enough to see the ceiling though. This is all assuming that you are going for a night look, where the light makes sense to be somewhat subdued.

Another approach is to simply light the foreground hotter than the surrounding area and then expose for the foreground.

Shooting for black and white requires attention to individual tones, since you are not able to use the actual colors to create separation. Two very different colors may photograph as the same tone, so the relative luminance is what counts (as well as how the camera responds to a given color). In post it's good to examine each of the color channels and create a custom mix that delivers the best look rather than simply stripping the chroma off the image--you can achieve more contrast and often less noise this way.
Charles Papert
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