Jump to content

Black Light/UV Digital Cinematography


Recommended Posts


I am shooting a film that requires black light/UV bulbs and fluorescent/glow in the dark paint on various pieces of fabric to create a "glowing monster" effect. I have had trouble finding answers to my questions on how to pull off this type of effect and what materials I will need to make it happen. I will be shooting with a Canon 7D, and I have access to all different types of lights such as Kino-Flos, Diva Kits, Platinum Pepper Kits, 9 Fey Kit and etc. I would just really appreciate some advice on what bulbs I can use, what paint I can use, what lights I should rent, and some advice on camera settings.

This project is my final for a Film Directing class and I really want to film these various scenes with black light paint on a costume to make the "monsters" glow in the dark, add to the spookiness of the scene and to try out new avenues of Cinematography! So please help me because I would really like to pull this off!! Any advice on what I need and how to do this effect would really help me out!!

I've attached an example that shows the basic look that I'm going for. Thank you! :)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Well, there are paints, makeups, and fabric that fluoresce especially well under UV/black light. Google should reveal popular brands. Rosco makes some scenic paint in a variety of colors. I suspect better (more expensive) makeup and paint will fluoresce more brightly, and have better coverage.




Alot of white fabric will fluoresce too (think about wearing a white shirt into a haunted house or head shop), but you'll want to test each item. Special black light makeup and paint will appear much brighter, and will offer the kind of colors you have in your example image. Hate to say it, but your effect will probably rely more on production design and makeup than a creative lighting setup--in most cases, you'll want your UV light to cover the subject in a pretty flat manner.


I believe you can buy (preferably rent) UV tubes for most Kinos. Otherwise, there are LED fixtures you can rent (DJ and concert rental places will probably have better selection than a general production rental house). I'm afraid I don't have enough experience to recommend a lighting package item by item--I'd recommend tests with your makeup and fixtures to make sure you can get the exposure you need. Quality fixtures that are marketed to DJ's should have the output you need, and I've found the rental costs tend to be much lower. You may have to adapt these fixtures to work with standard film gear.


Use other sources carefully--the fluorescent paints will not be able to overpower direct light from most traditional sources, and will probably make your monster look pretty ridiculous if too much ambient light washes out the black light.


If you're short on money or time for tests, I suggest making up some swatches of paint and material, and bringing a still camera to the DJ rental place--ask to try out the fixtures, and take photos with settings approximately matching your shooting conditions.


The movie "The Game" has some great scenes that mix traditional light with UV, it may give you an idea of what you can get away with.


Hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...