FORUMS: list search recent posts

DP Lights in Large space with windows

COW Forums : Lighting Design

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Karyn Barnett
DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 8:31:13 am

Hi Lighting Pros,

I am a new contributor to the forum, but I have been helped by many of the posts on here...thanks for taking the time to help us learning filmmakers!

I am working with 3 Lowel DP lights in a dance studio this weekend. The space is quite large and has a thin panel of windows on one side. However, the space is still pretty dark...the dancers have been using work lights and lamps without shades to try and illuminate the area. I have some questions on this set up:

1) If the room is fairly dark and I am using DP lights to illuminate the space, should I roll out some CTO on the windows to balance the Tungsten lighting inside? Is there any other way to effectively blend a little natural light from the windows with the DP set-up?

I could black out the windows entirely and try to light the space solely with the DPs, but it is quite large and I am concerned it will look too staged in my documentary.

2) I am using an HD Camera for the first time on this shoot (Panasonic AGHPX170) and to be honest, its the first time I have worked outside of a studio with lights. Any general info or tips you can offer on making sure my tungsten set-up and HD camera work in tandem to produce a balanced, well-lit look on screen?

3) Are there any places to pick up CTO rolls on short notice? I live in Oakland and literally have two days till the shoot...any suggestions in the Bay?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Karyn


Return to posts index

Scott Sheriff
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:18:32 pm

If I was doing this by myself, I would boost the DP's up to daylight. Gelling that much window would be a lot of work. Get some dichroic glass for your DP's (expensive, but nice) or just use some booster blue gels.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


Return to posts index

Todd Terry
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:52:16 pm

Well, not to be a rain-on-your-parade kinda guy, but it is not going to be super easy.

You already said the space is very large and very dark (the tenants even have to use work lights just to function) and the lighting instruments you have are a fair bit less than one would normally want to light a big space...

As Scott said, you can convert your lighting instruments to daylight either with dichro lenses or with blue gel... but keep in might that comes at a huge price... loss of light. Gelling a tungsten instrument enough to raise the color temperature that much really really cuts the output of the instrument... maybe as much as half or more. You might find that's not enough to shoot with.

I don't have a good impression of exactly how big these windows are, or how much illumination they are providing. If they aren't giving you much, the easiest way might be just to block them completely. If they are giving you a fair bit, then you'd probably want to save them as an illumination source and gel them to correct for color. I would think that in Oakland you can find rolls of gel reasonably readily available from some of the sources there.

On all the downsides... I'll say this all can be a complicated job, you don't really have enough lighting firepower (or the right kinds of instruments), an unfamiliar camera, and you have never done location lighting before. BUT... on the upside, it isn't brain surgery, and sometimes amazing results can happen even when you think they shouldn't. I'd just go in as prepared as possible... if you can't scout (or light) the venue in advance, just be ready for all the possibilities... and go in with material available to both completely block and gel the windows, because you're probably not going to know which will work best until you just try it.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes....

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



Return to posts index


Rick Wise
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 6:39:41 pm

In Oakland, you can go to DTC lighting and Grip. They will have everything you need. (Google them for the phone and address.)

I'm not sure how big those windows are. It sounds like a "thin panel" is pretty small, so either CTO them, or black them.

Your three lights are going to provide precious little quantity of light. You may have to boost gain on the camera. Without seeing the space, I'd suggest you consider bouncing your 3 lights into foamcore or white showcard. If the ceiling is white, you could bounce one or two off the ceiling. But keep one or two to create light that reaches into the dancer's eyes. You can tape white showcard in a curve to bounce light back into the room. Or tape up foamcore (also available at DTC) or hold in place with with a c-stand and a platypus (also available at DTC.)If the windows are on the left, place your lights on the right.

By the way, I find that if you half-blue your tungsten lights the resultant look is pleasant when mixed with daylight. Full blue actually over corrects. Obviously, half blue chews up less light, but still a lot.

Remember, 99% of the time the worst place to place your key light(s) is next to the camera.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index

Scott Sheriff
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 9:52:05 pm

Rick,
"By the way, I find that if you half-blue your tungsten lights the resultant look is pleasant when mixed with daylight. Full blue actually over corrects. Obviously, half blue chews up less light, but still a lot."

I totally agree. Sometimes you can even use tungsten lights uncorrected in a situation like this to warm up the shot with nice results. It pays to experiment.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 11:10:03 pm

Stupid question: can you arrange to shoot this at night; then the windows and the daylight color temp issues are moot?

Of course, the space is now darker too, but you have more choice over where to put the existing lights now.

I would gel the windows rather than the lights because as Todd says, you'll really reduce their useful output, gelling tungsten.

Ideally, I think, you would rent some Joker-Bug HMI's, then use the window lighting as part of a base, and fill in with the HMI's to taste, possibly using a silk or a big reflector.

Do they still have Barbizon lighting/grip stores out that way?


Return to posts index


Karyn Barnett
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 5:46:31 am

Thanks so much Rick! Really helpful! I am relieved after reading your advice. Thanks again..


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 25, 2011 at 11:14:48 pm

An added aside: mixing color temps is not always "fatal"... though we try to avoid it geenrally, lots of times the DP might choose to let the temps clash unopposed for artistic reasons. Then again, it is marvelous, the kinds of color-correction available today: one can go in post now with a few clicks and the right plug-ins, and save the day. It could be that between a "shockless" Auto-tracing white balance in the camera, plus grading in post, the whole thing becomes a non-issue. Of course, you'd rather see it "right" live on set than have to trust it to post, but that's still another option.


Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:46:41 pm

It depends on your goals. If this is a clinical instructional video that has to be lit like an operating room, you don't have enough light. But if you are free to be "creative" (after all, it's dance), perhaps you can turn the mixture of daylight and tungsten, light and dark, to your artistic advantage. Instead of looking at it as "not enough to do the job," just change your goal to "stylize with three lights." (A lot of fully-lit dance stages use lights with all sorts of gels over them, so I wouldn't worry about the windows and their color temperature.)

You could establish a base (slightly underexposed) light level by (1) keeping those windows open, (2) restricting the area in which the dancers perform, and (3) using one DP at flood near the camera. Then use the other two at full spot, crosslighting them, so dancers go in and out of strong light.


Return to posts index


john sharaf
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:07:18 pm

That sounds like the dance of three shadows! If I had the assignment of lighting a dance in a studio like this with 3 DP's I probably would beg off, but because I have a truck full of lights I could still pull it off.

That being said; if forced to do it I'd use two units mounted high and wide back cross keying the action area, such that each lit a different space (so no double shadows) with the shadows that are created falling to the outside of the frame, and I'd take the third unit into a 4x8 foamcore in the middle of the area as fill. The foamcore would be rigged about six feet above the floor horizontally so the camera would not create its own shadow. Gain the camera up as necessary.

In addition to the lights, you'd need some diffussion and clothes pins to put on the back cross keys, appropriate hangers for them, a ladder to get them up and down and two c stands and sandbags to hold the foamcore and onr light stand for the floor light into the foamcore.

Also be careful to split the power of the three 1k's into two circuits, and it might be a good idea to find the fuse box location before you turn anything on.

Cook til done!

JS



Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:26:30 pm

Right. Listen to John! I like his ideas about throwing the shadows off-frame, and using foamcore to make the fill broader. I think I was channeling a dance photo (perhaps from The Family of Man exhibit/book), that used strong crosslight from both sides (and a bit behind, as John suggests) to emphasize the sculptural, muscular qualities of the dancers. But if you're going to see the floor, those shadows in motion are going to be deal-breakers.


Return to posts index

john sharaf
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:55:45 pm

The higher you are able to rig the lights, the shorter the shadow. In a perfect world you'd have a silk roof far enough away from the back wall to control the spill and even lighting above the silk. Then you could "ditch" the backlights low to eliminate any floor shadow but still have nice edges on the dancers.

Many ways to skin a cat.

JS



Return to posts index


Dennis Size
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 5:29:07 am

I REPEAT.....
What the hell are you shooting? AND Why? (What's the point of the shoot?)

Until you establish what the goal is, you can't establish a concept. Until you establish a concept you can't determine the "look", and how you will light the piece.
As several people have said, it's dance, so you can run wild conceptually. You MUST have a clear cut idea of what your look needs to be however, before you can use whatever's at your disposal to make it work.

As regards shadows, I've never been one to think they're bad. In deference to my friend John, whose work I ALWAYS admire, I think mutiple shadows could work for you in this situation. I once had an assignment to do the same exact thing you are doing (although I have no idea what you are supposed to be doing).
My assignment was to "theatrically" light a dance piece. There was no need to analyze feet or faces; nor was there any interview or discussion. I was just artistically lighting the performance.

I colored the overhead lights blue (with gel). I put my 3 uncolored lights (which were fresnels) right on the floor -- evenly spaced along one side of the room -- shooting up at the dancers. There were a few mirrors along the wall I was shooting at so I had 3 more lights (in the mirrors bouncing back at me). Where there were no mirrors I had incredible, huge moving shadows of the dancers climbing the walls and onto the ceiling. The lights shooting back into the cameras from the mirrors were broken up by the constant movement of the dancers through the beams of the lights, which had artistic "stars" flaring the cameras (as I had put 4 pt star filters into the cameras). I did add gain to the camera ...with the iris wide open.
The end result was very "artistic"; and the director was heard to use the word "genius" in describing what I had done.

DS



Return to posts index

Karyn Barnett
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 5:41:06 am

Thanks for the tips. This shoot is for my documentary on a dance crew. There isn't any established artistic concept...yet. That's why I didn't write anything about it. I am really just trying to light the space in a way that will brighten the room and ensure the shot doesn't look like a bad mix of natural and tungsten light on camera. I am going to take down notes of all these great ideas and run with them! It's all about experimenting to learn what works best, right?

Thanks again!


Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:52:52 pm

So many good ideas here. I have to thank and congratulate Karyn for eliciting such interesting solutions from some people whose work I am in awe of. (How can I say that so my 7th grade English teacher would approve? "from some people in awe of whose work I am?" nahh)

The dialog between some of our industry's giants reminds me of why I love this business: you can do great work in so many different ways - there is no one formula. The only thing I can add is some advice from my late, lamented photography mentor, Rodney Boyce: if you are going in a certain esthetic direction, go there all the way. As with Dennis's lens flares, a tiny bit might have looked like a mistake, but allied with his overall vision, it was wondrous.

In your case, alternating between very utilitarian lighting (for rehearsals, dialogs between the dance director and the dancers, warm-ups and drills) and very extreme lighting (to evoke an actual performance) might work well for the storytelling. I don't think the "artistic" lighting solutions here would be good for rehearsals - the lighting has to make sense with the story. If it's a doc that you're working on over a period of weeks, you can experiment. Oh, and add a dolly (or a little red wagon or a wheelchair or something) to your arsenal so you can move the camera back and forth, even go amongst the dancers.

Above all, Karyn: STEAL. I hear there's a pretty good movie about dance up for an Oscar.


Return to posts index


Karyn Barnett
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 5:31:07 am

I really like your idea here and I think I will attempt to be artistic with the tools I have instead of going to great lengths to try and make something happen that might not. This shoot can certainly be artistic and interesting lighting could really add something to the footage I am capturing tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your advice! I think it is so awesome what you guys do for people on these forums. I am a grad student and study whenever I can on my own, but there is nothing like being able to reach out to trained professionals for personalized advice on this. Thank you so much again.


Return to posts index

Karyn Barnett
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 27, 2011 at 5:42:41 am

Thank you so much for your advice. I am breathing a sigh of relief because I feel like going in prepared and trying a few different ideas you all have listed on here will ensure I find the right balance for my video. I really appreciate your help!

Thanks again :)


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: DP Lights in Large space with windows
on Feb 28, 2011 at 5:13:50 pm

We want a complete report after this is over, with pictures!


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]