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two spots in eyes

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Craig Alan
two spots in eyes
on Mar 27, 2008 at 5:22:06 pm

Using two 650-watt frenels with chimera soft banks. Shooting 2-shot to 1 shot close up. Talking heads. Light-grey muslin. Talent is too close to cloth so need to angle lights down from a slightly too high position, in order to have shadows not show on the cloth. I also need to keep the fill and key pretty straight on talent. Once I move past say 20 degrees the shadows show to the left or right of the talent. No room for back light.

After experimenting with height, angle, intensity, position, the shot looks pretty well lit. Nothing dramatic. Not looking for too much modeling- just a good soft newsy talking head(s).

Problem: two lights are showing in talent’s eyes rather than one.

I can adjust the fill’s position to eliminate this but then other problems crop up like shadows on the muslin or the image’s overall quality.

Any suggestions?


OSX 10.4.11; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; G5 dual 2.5 gig; FCP 4.5, 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000/pd170;Canon xl2; Pana consumer cams; write professionally for a variety of media;teach video production in L.A.


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Leo Ticheli
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 27, 2008 at 10:07:25 pm

You have two catch lights in the eyes because you're using, in effect, two key lights.

Eyes are convex mirrors, naturally they will reflect any light source.

You can use one much larger area key source and rely on the wrap to fill the dark side.

You can change locations and put the lights where they should be to create the image you want, rather than where they must be because of the physical limitations of the space.

Or...

You can learn to love it the way it is.

Or... You can do the right thing and declare the location unacceptable for the shot you're trying to accomplish. "No," is a pretty powerful word and can be your best friend.

One more thing I simply must ask; you teach video production in LA?

Best regards,

Leo



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Craig Alan
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 28, 2008 at 7:15:14 am

Thanks Leo,

Yeah the space just isn't big enough or high enough and there are tripping hazards as well.

I teach production at a high school. My professional background was as a writer.

In a school environment you can either say yes and figure out how to make it work or you can quit.

The space in question is the classroom. Would love to have a bigger room. Have no intention of shooting another day with snake eyes. I explained to the class what the problem was. Showed them how to get one catch in the eyes by moving the fill, but that left us with shadows on the muslin.

If I could just get the talent another 6 feet or so away from the muslin curtain that would do the trick. I know because before I added a teleprompter, we had another few feet and with some experimenting we could get the shadows falling behind the talent off camera with the fill in a good location. No snake eyes.

Maybe there’s a way to control the shadows falling on the curtain when I move the fill light where it should be. Maybe use flags or light the curtain. Black muslin can help here but I don’t like that look for talking heads except for some dramatic scenes or interviews.

What I’ve learned with the constant compromise of the school environment: Play first with the sound. Good subject, good sound, people will live with even ugly video. To transform ugly into decent, decent into beautiful, beautiful into revealing, play with the light. It's one thing to find good light and capture it. It's another thing to try to create it with a lighting kit.

Craig


OSX 10.4.11; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; G5 dual 2.5 gig; FCP 4.5, 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000/pd170;Canon xl2; Pana consumer cams; write professionally for a variety of media;teach video production in L.A.


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john sharaf
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 27, 2008 at 10:50:09 pm

Craig,

It's great that you notice the two spots in the eyes and recognize it as a problem. I often call this effect "snake eyes" and it's a direct result of "FBI" style lighting, namely one light left and one light right.

The solution, as Leo alludes to, is to remove one of the key lights and make it a fill light. This is often accomplished by using one of the lights bounced into a white card and positioning it in such a way that it does not reflect in the eye, sometimes by creating a "butterfly effect" with the key light high and the fill light low.

Hope this helps!

JS





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Craig Alan
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 28, 2008 at 7:23:43 am

Thanks John,

I actually thought lowering the fill might help because I noticed that the snake eyes would be more pronounced or even disappear depending on how the talent positioned their heads, where they were looking. But my crew--the audio tech, and teleprompter operator is on the fill side and get in the way of a lower fill light. Maybe I can bring the key on that side and put the fill on the other. I also have a reflector kit I can bring out and play with. We’ll give it a try.

Craig


OSX 10.4.11; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; G5 dual 2.5 gig; FCP 4.5, 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000/pd170;Canon xl2; Pana consumer cams; write professionally for a variety of media;teach video production in L.A.


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john sharaf
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 28, 2008 at 4:51:08 pm

Craig,

I notice you teach at a high school in LA. I also live there, so if you're interested, maybe I could come by and give you and your students a few lighting pointers. Please feel free to contact me off list.

JS



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Dennis Size
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 29, 2008 at 3:51:46 am

That's a very kind and generous offer John. Kudos to you!
DS



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Bob Cole
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 29, 2008 at 10:35:42 pm

[Dennis Size] "That's a very kind and generous offer John. Kudos to you!"

Can I come? Just kidding, but if I didn't live on the East Coast I wouldn't be....

I often see two catchlights in the eyes too, and as long as one is much more pronounced than the other, I like it. I think it looks livelier, often. Depending on heavy brows, etc.

What is the "butterfly" effect, John?

Bob C

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john sharaf
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 30, 2008 at 2:16:22 am

Bob,

Butterfly refers to the two wings on a butterfly; one being the key light (usually higher - above the eyes) and the other the fill light (below the eyes). the result is one larger catch light in the eye and the shadow from the key is neutralized by the fill light, so no area of the face is in the dark. This is distinguished from "FBI" lighting where there's two lights left and right, as you might light a document on a copy stand. This is kind of like what the original posting in this thread described.

JS



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Craig Alan
Re: two spots in eyes
on Mar 29, 2008 at 6:24:19 am

That would be great John! Thank you. I'll be in touch.

OSX 10.4.11; Quicksilver Dual 1 gig; G5 dual 2.5 gig; FCP 4.5, 3.0.4; Sony camcorder vx2000/pd170;Canon xl2; Pana consumer cams; write professionally for a variety of media;teach video production in L.A.


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