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Lighting an open restaurant night scene

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Ali Quintana
Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 7, 2014 at 3:18:48 am

I have to light a night scene, its a dark open air restaurant.

I onlly have 1 oker set. it cinsists out of 4 lights (blue).

My question is, I have some normal lights abailable, warm lights to light up backgrounds etc. How to go about mixing these different Kelvin type of lights?


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Todd Terry
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 7, 2014 at 3:24:57 am

You can certainly mix lighting instruments with different color temperatures... they just won't be the same color.

Sometimes that's ok... in fact, sometimes we'll do it on purpose. In fact, if I wanted a sort of moody outdoor stylized restaurant or bar setting, I'd definitely use different colors of light... I might do a back/side splash of light on talent in something like a blue, or maybe even red (depending on the mood). The same thing can be said for instruments with natively different color temps. I use daylight fixtures a lot (HMIs, LEDs, flos), but I'll often still use tungsten fixtures as backlights, because their warmer look is often desirable.

And of course you can also gel instruments to color correct them to match, although you lose a fair amount of output doing that.

T2

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



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Ali Quintana
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 7, 2014 at 4:57:57 pm

Great to hear.

So basically I could se the HMI to light the actors and their table in the night rest and use warmer lights to light up the backgrounds and create a warm background ambiance.

In post I will collor correct focussing on the faces.

Would love to get some more feedback on what you think of going about this in this way?


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Erik Anschicks
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 7, 2014 at 10:02:48 pm
Last Edited By Erik Anschicks on May 7, 2014 at 10:11:35 pm

Yes, like Todd said you could certainly mix things up color-wise. Often a warmer background is quite a nice and pleasing look, especially in a darker restaurant where the lighting is often warmer to simulate that "candlelit" feel.

First you should determine what color temp the overall restaurant's natural lighting is around (assuming you can't turn them off). That will determine how warm to light the backgrounds yourself or simply add to and match what's there. Be sure to have plenty of CTO and CTB denominations on hand in case the background is too warm for your taste at straight daylight balance. Perhaps try to gel the Jokers lighting the actors with a half CTO then white balance to that while using standard 3200K lighting in the background. I've done this with good success as it still keeps the background warmer than the talent but not too much so that it looks extreme or like a mistake. Unless it's part of the overall style of the production, WILDLY varying color temps can appear low-budget, as in you didn't have enough light or the proper lights to balance things a bit more. Again though, that's a stylistic choice!

I've also had good success with China balls for lighting talent in this scenario, very soft and flattering light that matches well with practical locations and you can rig them anywhere. Just an option!


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Ali Quintana
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 2:16:15 am

Thaks so much for the great tips.

I am filming with the 2.5 K BlackMagicCinema Camera. It performs best at 800 iso but is not a super low light cam.

The rest appears total dark (black) only the abient candles and lights appear in the background. So basically there is no natural light temp. I guess. See the following BMCC frame. I even cranked up the exposure a bit.



Again, anny additional advice would be highly appreciated...


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Erik Anschicks
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 2:49:57 am
Last Edited By Erik Anschicks on May 8, 2014 at 3:05:13 am

Well, there's always a light color temperature, you just need to meter it or white balance. If you don't have a color meter, just put a white card close to the one of the sconces on the pillars and see what color temp your camera tells you. Candlelight and other warm light as you'd find in a place like your picture is generally somewhere in the 2000-2800K of color temp or even lower in some cases (real candlelight can be in the mid to upper 1000's). It's similar to dimming a tungsten unit way down and measure the orange glow.

Since it's outside, I might suggest hanging some practicals in the background as you don't really have walls to work with. Some bare bulbs that are strung together on cords that you can drape in different places would be good for something like this, and that's what a lot of places with rooftop bars/dining areas do anyway. Since the bulbs would be bare, you can use quite low-wattage ones and get some nice warm "bokeh" with multiple out of focus spots of light. Maybe also hang a few colored china balls, rope lights, things of that sort. An environment like this lends itself to practical sources quite well, and you can always use your other lights to punch up shadows or background people where needed. Your tighter shots can look really good with the right dose of multiple options like these and for wide/establishing shots you could fill space with foreground details, like candles in the bottom third of the shot. That's often a good way to not have to take a lot of time to light many elements of a wide shot in darkness.


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Ali Quintana
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 11:49:51 am

As I am getting closer to Sturdays shoot the advice here is really great.

Juat what comes to mind is that eventough I have had good succcess in the past with Chinese balls, in this case I am using Joker HMI lights to light the actors table (foreground) so the Chinese balls yoou are suggesting should be for background right? I mean I should not mix the hmi lights with VChinese ball for the actors table right?


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 12:00:00 pm

HI Ali,

Jumping in late here, but I'd suggest you use your biggest light, probably the Joker to light the background and the china balls to light the people at the tables.

Night is often portrayed as cool, as if lit by moonlight and people will look best in a warmer glow.

JMHO

JS



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Ali Quintana
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 2:17:42 pm

Problem is I hae 4 x 800 watts joker lights and very little other lights, im trying to scrape some together but they will be warm lights...

I have three people sitting at the table... The warm lights I have wont be enough to light them properly I m afraid... It is an open rest in the moonlight though , thats why we thought of the HMI for the people...


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 3:00:17 pm

Ali,

I'd suggest using the four 800's as background and night ambivalence.

China balls with small practicals can be hung both ion the scene and as lighting for the people; that way they'll be both key, fill and backlights by judicious placement and they are very cheap to buy.

JS



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Bob Cole
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 9, 2014 at 2:14:15 am

[john sharaf] "I'd suggest using the four 800's as background and night ambivalence."

John, what do you mean by this statement?

bob c


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john sharaf
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 9, 2014 at 10:22:18 am

Hi Bob,

Presumably the camera will see in every direction in covering the subjects from different angles as they sit around the table in the restaurant. The four Jokers will more than light the distant backgrounds in a full circle if placed judiciously. In areas where the background is not so deep or far you could use the Jokers in Softboxes or bouncing of cards to keep the "blue" daylight consistant.

Hope that explains!

JS



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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 15, 2014 at 5:40:05 pm

What kind of glass are you using?

You're not all that far from a useful scene from what I can see. If the lens you're using isn't very fast, say f4 - then renting something a few stops faster might solve the whole issue.

If you're already at f1.4 or something similar, then yep, adding light is your only option.

For what it's worth.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Bob Cole
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 2:35:38 pm

The vast empty background is a problem; in order to light something, you need something physical you can light. I'd suggest hanging some billlowy fabric around the back edges of the place, or perhaps placing some lights in the background for some bokeh.


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Erik Anschicks
Re: Lighting an open restaurant night scene
on May 8, 2014 at 4:17:24 pm
Last Edited By Erik Anschicks on May 8, 2014 at 4:23:42 pm

Ali-

To directly answer your reply, I meant mainly to use the China Balls in the background as to help fill in the emptiness since there's no walls. I'd use them and other practicals rigged in various places in the shots themselves. BUT, I agree with the others here, you COULD certainly use them as keys around the table as well. A few well-placed china balls for 3 people around a small table can be plenty of light. I don't know how you're planning on covering this scene, but you might not need all 4 800w Jokers for this scenario. You can probably spare some for the background as well to fill in where the practicals don't, as John suggested possibly for a moonlit effect.

Yet another option in the China ball vs. Joker keylighting question...is to do both! If you can get a Chimera or Jem type of "China ball" or "lantern" (not sure exactly how they word it) you can rig the Joker to it and turn it into the source for the china ball and get a beautiful softlight for the table that you can move around and reposition easily. Then fill where necessary. My only caveat here is that I have never done this with the 800w Joker instrument itself, so I am not certain that it will fit one of these types of lanterns, so double check!

Remember, there are no hard rules for this. No one scene HAS to be lit a certain way with certain items and a certain color temperature. It's about deploying your resources the best you can with where you are and deciding what looks right. You may block the scene and decide that the Jokers are best served in the background. Even if that runs contrary to your initial plan, you'll be best served to roll with it.


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