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How to light a scene?

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Marco Falcone
How to light a scene?
on Oct 7, 2011 at 11:29:50 pm

Hey guys, I'm new to the forum. I'm also new to lighting; the only time I've used lighting was for green screening.

I was wondering, how would you light a scene (Given you have lights)? I'll give you some examples that are relevant to me,

1. A wide shot of a hallway, would I need to light that? How would I do it?
2. Do I need to light exterior shots? If so, from what distance should I place the lights?
3. When shooting in a forest, would you need lights? Or would a reflector do?

In what circumstances would you need to light a scene? Is there some sort of rule?

Thanks!


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 9, 2011 at 1:35:05 am

A lot depends on what you are trying to achieve in terms of a "look". A hallway is usually going to need lighting, unless you're going for a dark, ugly look with "pools" of light. Exteriors in pro movies often use supplemental light on top of daylight, but then again, depending ont he look you're going for, the mood you are trying to achieve, it may be as simple as some reflector boards.

I have been watching old episodes of the original "Hawaii Five-O" for fun. MAN, they used a lot of reflectors for the remote exteriors, and with the winds, they were very often wobbly, and hard to keep on target.

If you want better advice, you need to fully describe the scenes you want to shoot in terms of the space, the action, the location, the emotion, and most of all the budget you have.


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Marco Falcone
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 9, 2011 at 11:48:05 am

Well, it's for a school promotion video. We have like 5 studio lights, with umbrella's. We DON'T have a reflector though. For the beginning of the promotion, we are going to shoot scenes of the school hallways, which are lit by panels of lights above. How would I light this? Where would I put the lights? Bare in mind that some of the hallways are pretty massive.

I'm an artistic bastard.


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 10, 2011 at 2:19:18 am

If you have cardboard, glue, and aluminum foil, you have reflectors. Or white foamcore board will also work.

You still have not described your existing lights or the shot in enough detail for people to be much help with suggestions. Is this shot static, or moving down the hall? Does the camera move, or just the actor(s)?
What parts of the hallway are important to see and what parts are not? What is the script saying, what is the actor doing? What is the mood you are trying to convey, any unspoken message we are to get from just seeing the shot? What brand and model number of lights are these? What is their power, in watts? What is the distance to be covered? Are there windows in the hallway or other sources of light, and what kind are these? How much electricity do you have available? How much help in terms of grips/crew? Do you have the hallway to yourself, or must you share it in daytime with regular people walking thru it?

Details, man, DETAILS.


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Robin Probyn
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 10, 2011 at 10:09:04 am

Short answer.. yes massive area,s you have no hope to light.. go with whats available .. no choice.. ok to mix color balances..(but have a decent monitor)

Get the school to buy a reflector.. very cheap.. use it or small lights for the close ups .. avoid night shoots :)



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Marco Falcone
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 10, 2011 at 12:54:20 pm

Oh my god, I don't know, they are studio lights! I was just asking in general. Here are answers to your another questions,

1. The shot will be trucked slowly to the right
2. NOTHING in in the hall. We are just shooting the hall.
3. The important part is capturing the intensity and power of the hallway (We'll be shooting at a low angle)
4. I am trying to convey a powerful, massive mood, if you get what I'm saying.
5. Each hallways is about 15m in length, if I was guessing, there is one hallway though that might be close to 50m
6. Unlimited amount of electricity
7. Most of the hallways have natural light, but barely. They are lit by panels of lights above them.
8. There will be no one in the shot.

I'm an artistic bastard.


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Dennis Size
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 12, 2011 at 3:41:01 am

Use the actual ceiling trouffers lighting the hallway. Under-expose and "dig" the blacks when you shoot.
DS



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Craig Alan
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 15, 2011 at 5:33:08 pm

[Marco Falcone] "Oh my god, I don't know, they are studio lights! I was just asking in general.

Find out. Write it down. Google them. Set them up. Learn what they do. Aim them at a reflector and see what they do. Be careful. Use sandbags and don’t touch them until they cool down. Wear gloves.

Hook your camcorder up to a monitor and put it in the hallway and take a look at the shot. Add some lighting if needed and experiment. If you are then stuck on how to create the effect you want -- add dramatic shadows, add more light, make the space look bigger, more ominous, more massive, whatever, then post back with a sample shot and what you would like it to be.

If there was only one way to light a scene and it didn't matter what lights were used, then all the pros on this forum would be training for new careers, this forum would no longer serve any purpose, producers would not need lighting designers, the gaffer would set up an all purpose studio light and that would be that.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Marco Falcone
Re: How to light a scene?
on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:06:38 pm

Thanks for the advice! I will definitely try that next time I'm filming!

Cheers, and thanks to everyone for your responses.


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