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How to light Laundromat?

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Simona Analte
How to light Laundromat?
on Feb 22, 2012 at 2:02:16 am


Young student soon to shoot a short film which takes place mostly at a laundromat, at night
Not too sure how to create an; unsettling, tense, cold, bare, dark - mood for this picture.
The space is big and has one large window.

One of my concerns is that flickering green hue that the florescent bulbs produce.

Wondering perhaps if it's a good idea to leave the florescent-tubes as they are( with the green-hue ), apply a "greenish" make-up on the subject's face and then in Post, take-away all the Green ( - ) out. Ive been told that that would "normalize" and balance out the colors.
Wondering if anyone could tell me if that is true and is good approach...?

Also thinking to minimize some of the bulbs being turned "on" the ceiling (or have just one light flicker), to create that tension, anxiety in the atmosphere.

Any suggestions would be helpful and highly appreciated!

Thank you


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to light Laundromat?
on Feb 22, 2012 at 4:21:40 pm

Bring in a mostly-burned-out tube that will flicker. Real LD's have a gizmo that creates flicker to taste, but those are costly for use with flos. A semi-bad tube is random.

Bring a stepladder so you can twist a couple of the tubes a little bit to turn them off individually, and trade in the flickering tube just where it will work best.

Use color grading in post to add a green or blue tint overall, and to crush the blacks and mids. There are plug-ins that do it very well in just one step, if coloring is not your thing.

Bring in a shop light from the hardware store that fits the same size tubes as the laundromat, add the tubes you removed from the ceiling, and use it for key and/or fill. Bring extra stands and white and black foamboard to flag the shots and control your existing light.

Your biggest problem in the laundromat is not lighting: it's getting clean SOUND. Worry much more about this. People forgive iffy lighting for a good story, but will instantly turn off any video, good or not, that has crappy sound. There will be lots of fan and machine noise to overcome, plus reverberance and wild extraneous noise. Pack lav mics as well as very directional booms.

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