A&P filming at night

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Jcolman, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    43,131
    Likes Received:
    90
    Location:
    east coast
    bioyuki, I got your pm but I'm such an idiot that I can't figure out how to reply to it. Hopefully, you'll see this reply to your question.

    The trick to filming night scenes is really quite simple in theory but difficult to master.
    All you're really trying to do is to immulate the lights that you normally see at night, but make them work for you. Stage your scenes, if you can, in an area that has "practical" lights in the shot. These are the lights that you'd normally see, such as store front, street lights, headlights, even moonlight. Then all you have to do is supplement the light thats already there. For example, when shooting in front of a store at night, use a soft light source, such as a flouresence (sp) fixture mounted on a C-stand or a big broad light as your key light. If you don't have a soft light, you can use a "hard" or spotlight and simply bounce the light off of a big piece of white foamcore. This will give you a big soft light. Make sure that you balance your cameras white balance to whatever source your using for your key light.

    Using hard spots as back or rim lights will really help to "pop" your subjects out from the background. Using a blue color gel on an overhead light will simulate moonlight. The trick here is to always have another white light source to light your subject so that they're not lit totally by the blue "moon" light. Your moon light should be the biggest light you can get your hands on and mounted as high and far away as practical.

    Don't forget to light your background as well as your foreground if at all possible. You will need much bigger and more powerful lights for your background than your foreground. On feature films, it's not unusual to see a truck that has ten or twenty 5k lights on a huge boom used as "moonlight" or backlight to light up a city street.

    You can also use other lights such as small spots to emulate a car's headlights passing through the scene. Even flashlights can be used as a key light if your action calls for it.

    The main thing is to be creative and use what light you have to it's fullest advantage.
    Try not to place a stong key light near the camera at night. This results in a front light that overpowers every other light. You see this example on your nightly newscasts alot whenever the talent is doing a standup outside.

    It will also be helpful if you back your lights away from the subject so you can use a wider f/stop to film. This will help with the exposure of whatever other practical lights are in the shot.

    Finally, make sure your talent doesn't wear dark clothes. Dark is find for daylight, but you'll have a harder time lighting your talent so they don't t blend in with the dark background.

    Hope this helps you.

    Cheers
    Jim
     
  2. bioyuki

    bioyuki Ich habe Angst

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    54,454
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Thanks that helps alot :bigthumb: :bowdown:

    One sequence that we'll be filming takes place in a parking garage with the yellow/orange sodium vapor lighting. I want to keep that yellow/orange effect but I still need more lighting. Should I just use orange gels?
     
  3. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    43,131
    Likes Received:
    90
    Location:
    east coast
    No, Do not use orange gels on your key light. You'll end up with too much orange. You could use them on a back or rim light but I think you'll have better luck not using any gel at all. The sodium vapor lights will always look orange or red and the color will dominate the frame if you're not careful.

    If you want to try and make them look normal or white, you can try the trick of white balancing your camera through a green or blue filter. This will "fool" the camera into thinking the sodium vapor light is white. You would then have to put orange gels on all your lights. The green or blue filter is opposite the color scale of orange or red. This trick doesn't usually give you the best results though. I sometimes will "warm" up a scene by white balancing my camera through a blue filter or "cool" a scene by balancing through an orange filter. EDIT: I don't know what I was thinking with the above statement. White balance your camera throught an orange filter or on a white card lit by the sodium vapor lamps in order to fool your camera into thinking it's seeing "white" light. The trick of "warmimg" or "cooling" a scene by balancing through the opposite color is correct. Sorry for the confusion.

    Whenever I have to film under mercury vapor or sodium vapor lights I usually ignore them or turn them off if I can. I also use HMI lights, which are color balanced for daylight and are quite powerful. This gives me a "blue" light if I chose to balance my camera to 3200 degrees Kelvin, or tungsten light. If I balance my camera to daylight I have a "white" light to work with. I try to frame my shots so the camera doesn't see the mercury vapor lights.

    Some stadium lights, such as the ones used on football or baseball stadiums are balanced for daylight so you don't need to change anything except for putting blue color correction gel on your 3200k lamps.

    cheers
    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2003

Share This Page