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lighting inside of cave

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candle
lighting inside of cave
on Aug 8, 2006 at 5:36:59 am

we just shot a cave scene but had no idea how to light it, so we just basically played around with moving our lights here there and everywhere til we were semi-satisfied with the look through the camera. now that it's too late to ask what other's tips and ideas are, does anyone have any? the only source we were expected to have was the entrance to the cave and the talent's flashlight. is it okay to cheat with more light than you know is actually there? because this is what we ended up doing. i'd love to know more for our next shoot :)

thanks!





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Frank Nolan
Re: lighting inside of cave
on Aug 8, 2006 at 5:16:06 pm

[candle] "is it okay to cheat with more light than you know is actually there?"

NO you can't do that, it wouldn't be right:-) LOL!
Well, seriously do you think when you see a movie shot at night in the woods that the blueish light you see beaming through the trees is actually moonlight? The idea is to give the illusion that the subject is being lit from the source light, i.e. the entrance to the cave.
If you want to see some very well lit cave scenes go and see a movie called "The Descent".


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candle
Re: lighting inside of cave
on Aug 8, 2006 at 7:20:28 pm

thanx. i know that it's easier to work with entrance light source, but what about when it's "supposed" to be completely dark, with no light source available, yet you know you have to see your actors! :)



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Frank Otto
Re: lighting inside of cave
on Aug 8, 2006 at 10:26:43 pm

You have choices. Are you trying to do "scale" - the hugeness (or smallness) of the cave. Light what the story call for. If you need the huge cave shot you can use multiple battery powered lights to wash wall elements. If you are trying to convey tight and confined areas, use lumalite sticks planted just under a ledge. With new LED technology the beam and throw of those type of lamps is remarkable and a full lighing set up can be done with a knapsack full of LED flashlights, AA bateries and gaff tape.

Lanternlight, matchlight, candlelight - each gives a different look and texture...use "miners' lamps" or "caver's lamps" to key faces or objects...a head mounted lamp, placed on the ground or on a rock could wash a two shot...or become a backlight if placed properly.

Or you could go the Motel Six route, shoot the whole thing in black and use a voiceover explaining that it's dark in a cave...

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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candle
Re: lighting inside of cave
on Aug 9, 2006 at 12:47:52 am

great help! thanks a lot. i can't wait to try it again!



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Bill Paris
Re: lighting inside of cave
on Aug 14, 2006 at 6:25:36 pm

I would add one more thing...... try not to light the cave backgrounds from the front, since it will flatten out your scene. I've shot inside many caves over the years and the best looking lighting always comes from placing lights around corners and behind rocks and lighting towards the camera to accentuate the contour of the cave. One way I've done this is with a couple of human light stands rigged with battery belts and sunguns. Light your backgrounds using this team and light your forground using many of the suggestions from the other posts. Good luck and happy spelunking! (sp)

Bill Paris
Director of Photography
Crew Hawaii Television



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