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Ice Rink Lighting

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Jason Jenkins
Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 19, 2011 at 10:50:00 pm

I'll be shooting a TV ad for an ice rink in a couple of weeks. I went in to the rink this morning with my camera to check out the existing lighting and shoot a few quick tests. The lights are way overhead and appear to be fluorescent and about 4500k. A bit of daylight coming from windows at one end. I've only looked at my test footage on the camera LCD at this point, but there doesn't seem to be any flicker. There is definitely plenty of light, although I plan on supplementing with an HMI as a rimlight and perhaps a 5600k china ball as a soft key. My plan is to white balance for the 4500k and let the rim and key appear warmer as a result. Does this sound like a good plan? Anything I'm missing? Thanks!

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Todd Terry
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 19, 2011 at 11:56:17 pm

Ice rink huh... wow, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more difficult venue to light. Good job!

I'm guessing that unless you have a couple of truckloads of lighting instruments, you'll just have to go with available light for the most part.

You'll never be able to light the whole space (without the aforementioned couple truckloads), but if the goal is to isolate, say, a couple of skaters, the HMIs are a good idea. I'd take two, minimum. I'd put one behind, as a backlight as you suggested. I'd put another one to the side, at about a 90° angle to the talent as a side light. Probably the more powerful the instruments the better, since they will likely be pretty far away... I'd suggest 1200w's as an absolute minimum... 4k's would probably be better. Anything bigger than that and you'll likely run into problems with the house power (and as it is, they're still going to have to run off of different circuits). I'd either use PAR heads with the narrowest lens, or more ideally fresnel heads focused in as far as they will go. You could put a crew member on each instrument and have them follow the action, basically like follow spots.


[Jason Jenkins] "My plan is to white balance for the 4500k and let the rim and key appear warmer as a result."

If I'm reading it all right, I think you have that backwards... if you balance a at 4500k but use 5600 instruments, as you suggest... your key and backlights will actually be cooler, not warmer. I'd balance more at about 5600, or maybe a little lower (maybe 5000?) to split the difference. I wouldn't make a firm decision about that in advance, but rather tweak it on location and just dial in whatever exact temperature looks best.

I'm not sure what you want to do with the China ball, unless you have some on-camera talent in the foreground or something like that where you can put the instrument close to the talent. Otherwise the China ball isn't going to do much, since they have almost no throw.

T2

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



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 20, 2011 at 4:09:01 am

[Todd Terry] "You'll never be able to light the whole space (without the aforementioned couple truckloads), but if the goal is to isolate, say, a couple of skaters, the HMIs are a good idea."

Thanks, Todd. Yeah, I should have mentioned that, yes, I will be focusing on one or two skaters at a time. As I mentioned, the existing light is plenty bright and the white surface of the ice tends to reflect and diffuse the overheads. So I don't need to add to the ambient level, I just want to add some accent lighting; y'know, a little shape & style. The skaters, except in one case, will be moving very slowly and so won't be covering much ground. I was hoping that, by setting it as close as possible, I could get away with using my 575 watt HMI Fresnel as a backlight. Do you really think I need a 1200w or more? Rentals are an hour's drive each way (grumble, grumble). I am going for subtle, as opposed to an 'in the spotlight' look.

My thought for the china ball was that it could be 'flown' on the end of a pole to add a little glow to the faces and some life to the eyes. But maybe it doesn't have enough throw... I have yet to use one.


[Todd Terry] "If I'm reading it all right, I think you have that backwards... if you balance a at 4500k but use 5600 instruments, as you suggest... your key and backlights will actually be cooler, not warmer."

Ha! You've got me confused on the color temps now...

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Robin Probyn
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 20, 2011 at 6:37:49 am

Just a thought.. does the rink have any spot,super trouper.. that someone could operate to follow the skaters..? a different look but as you dont have the two trucks of lights .. could look better than just very flat house lights.. even with a 1.2 K HMI.. banging in..



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 20, 2011 at 5:32:14 pm

[Robin Probyn] "Just a thought.. does the rink have any spot,super trouper.. that someone could operate to follow the skaters..?"

There is actually a second rink in the same building that has two follow spots. Not sure about the availability of that rink at this point, though.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Bill Davis
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 24, 2011 at 6:31:02 am

Dude,

Carbon arc follow spots ROCK for this kind of thing.

Positioned correctly, a pair of these will do a great job of key and fill depending on the geometry of where the skater(s) are positioned in the rink moment by moment.

Follow spots are what you're used to seeing from every "Ice Capade" type show ever produced. And they allow you to dim the house lights and keep everything focused on the performers rather than the background of the arena.

You'll need a couple of qualified operators, but I'd go for that if I could.

YMMV, good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Todd Terry
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 21, 2011 at 12:16:33 am

[Jason Jenkins] " Do you really think I need a 1200w or more?"

Well, I dunno. Maybe not more, especially if the instruments are a pain in the rear to get, you might be able to pull it off with what you have on hand. That was just my first guess as to what I would use, and I was imagining a big hockey-sized rink where you had to put your instruments, say, back where the spectators' stands are. If you can put the instruments on the ice, closer to the talent, you can get away with less. In that case I'd probably use a 1200w for the backlight, and maybe the 575 for a key/side light. Your backlight is probably going to be the most important instrument.


[Jason Jenkins] "My thought for the china ball was that it could be 'flown' on the end of a pole to add a little glow to the faces and some life to the eyes."

Well, I'm just thinking of what a China ball is usually used for... very soft diffused omnidirectional light. In this case, I'd think you'd have no need for the light to be omnidirectional... it just needs to hit your talent, not go everywhere. Ergo the China ball is "wasting" a lot of the instrument's firepower by shooting the light off everywhere. I'd think a more directional fixture, even if it's just a flo head of some kind in a softbox, might work better.

[Jason Jenkins] "Ha! You've got me confused on the color temps now..."

Well, I'm telling you what you already know, but.... the lower the temperature, the warmer the light. And the higher the temperature, the cooler the light. You said you'd balance at 4500K so your backlight would look warmer. But you said your backlight would be an HMI, which we would assume that is 5600K. Thus, you are balanced for pure white being 4500K, but your backlight is 1100° higher... and therefore 1100° cooler. In that scenario, your backlight would appear a tad blueish, not yellowish.

T2

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



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 21, 2011 at 8:23:58 pm

[Todd Terry] "Well, I dunno. Maybe not more, especially if the instruments are a pain in the rear to get, you might be able to pull it off with what you have on hand. That was just my first guess as to what I would use, and I was imagining a big hockey-sized rink where you had to put your instruments, say, back where the spectators' stands are. If you can put the instruments on the ice, closer to the talent, you can get away with less. In that case I'd probably use a 1200w for the backlight, and maybe the 575 for a key/side light. Your backlight is probably going to be the most important instrument."

I'm thinking I'm probably going to rent an AF100 for this shoot, so I might as well pick up a 1200w HMI while I'm there.

[Todd Terry] "Well, I'm telling you what you already know, but.... the lower the temperature, the warmer the light. And the higher the temperature, the cooler the light."

Your are right –my brain was in Fahrenheit/culinary mode... or something; y'know, the higher the temp of the oven, the warmer it is :) For cryin' out loud, for someone who named his son Kelvin –I'm pathetic!

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 21, 2011 at 10:17:19 pm

The higher power light is a safer bet IMO because you lose so much energy to the square-cube law if the light is any distance away.

I would suggest you also bring a couple of "warming cards" to use as white balance targets - they might help get you in the "zone" so that the cc needed in post will be minimal.

The ice will give a lot of low-angle bounce fill. Maybe too much for some shots? It might not be a bad idea for any standing-still shots to bring a dark plastic tarp, or black cloth or cards to lay down and use to kill off some of the bounced fill, depends on the mood you're going for and other specifics, obviously.


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david braman
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Aug 23, 2011 at 1:46:52 pm

If the house lights are flos, you could find out what type they use, and stick those in a kino and key the talent that way (they can probably give them to you from the supply they keep in stock). You could even put the kino on some cardboard, tie some rope around the stand and have a grip pull it to keep up with your skater(s) if they aren't going too fast or far (oh the joys of a frictionless environment) When shooting closeups, you could put your talent under a 6x6 (or 12x12 if you have one) That would knock out the ugly top light and let you key work some magic.


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Sep 21, 2011 at 1:17:21 am

Thanks for all the input. I ended up renting a 1200w HMI. If I were to do it again, I would probably go with something bigger! Anyway, here is the finished product.

Comcast Community Ice Rink



Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Todd Terry
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Sep 21, 2011 at 2:27:03 pm

Good job considering you only had one lighting instrument and such a killer venue.

There won't be many locations that are as tough to light as that.

T2

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



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Ice Rink Lighting
on Sep 21, 2011 at 2:46:19 pm

[Todd Terry] "Good job considering you only had one lighting instrument and such a killer venue.

There won't be many locations that are as tough to light as that."


Thanks, Todd! I did use my 575w HMI as well. I gelled both HMI's to get them closer to the warm overhead lighting. The client is very happy with it, which makes me happy. It is a major improvement over the previous ad which they have been running for about 5 years.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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