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Gabe Phillips

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Hi, I'm making a short film next year, and one of the scenes features two people walking the streets of a city, much like this ( see video below ) i was wondering if anyone could tell me what is the best way to light the actors to get that city night feel? or do i need any other lights at all, will the ambient light of the city do? keeping in mind my rig will consist of a glide cam, and a Canon c100 mk 2. so not much room for big lighting rigs moving with the camera, also its quite low budget film.


any thoughts?





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Sounds like you'll need a fast lens and mostly available light.


You can try augmenting that with a handheld battery-powered light that you dim up and down now and then, it could even be bounced into white card that someone else is walking with, to further soften the light.

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I was thinking of using a collapsible reflector to boost the light on the subjects faces while walking, using the natural ambient light around them. But this might give an un natural up lit effect.


Couldn't you have you tallest crew member balance it on his/her shoulder? Those things are very light.

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Just using a reflector alone would tend to under light the actors since most of your sources are high, and with streetlamp lighting tending to be flat but dim, I think it would only work now and then, like the add a little fill as someone is just passing a streetlamp. Plus it may just make everything even flatter.


If you have a LED to point into a bounce card, at least you can pan it off and on the card to get some effect of passing lights. You could also make a soft box attachment to something like a 1x1 LitePanel, but it probably won't be as soft as walking a 2' 4-bank Kino with heavy diffusion on the doors, or bouncing into a 4x4 card.

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My Gaffer used to always take a china hat work light (can get at any hardware store) and diff it up really heavy with a way dimmed down 250w bulb for some walk and talk kinda stuff to work as a fill under sodium vapor looking lights as the color temp matched the warmth of the sodiums pretty well. For most of the stuff we were using our own lights with a Gel combo that was less green then sodium vapor but it wasnt that far off and yea it did the trick.


If the source is just for a very minimal fill so they dont go completey into darkness I dont think it needs to be super soft as you will barley notice it......but if you want it to play more and really fill them in that is a different story ....I would think like david said it will be easy for anything that really fills them in to just make the face pretty flat.

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