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Soft light on talent for night interior.


Haydn Michael John West
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Hello,

 

Would any of you be able to suggest how to get some soft, flattering light on the face of the talent in an establishing shot of a room at night while avoiding spill. The lighting is motivated lamps but most areas will be allowed to fall away to near darkness. I've attached a low-resolution image of how I would like the room to look. Also when it comes to the close-up would any of you advise using a small booklight? Many thanks in advance for any responses.

 

Best regards,

 

Haydn

post-67823-0-65610300-1440453482_thumb.jpg

Edited by Haydn Michael John West
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Great question Haydn, I am following this thread as I too would like to hear some answers. Lets say the actor was sat down on the arm chair or at the table. If you wanted to enhance the soft/flattering light on their face, and you didn't want any spill, maybe a small light like a Dedo 150w just off frame, with some diffusion might do the trick?

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Hey Bill, the talent will be on the chair to the left and static. I thought about using a small Dedo too Bradley and if it looks good then its a nice fix. Now I'm thinking about putting a chimera above and flagging to the shape I want it. That seems to be the only way to get REALLY soft light cutting in unless others can suggest another way.

Edited by Haydn Michael John West
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  • Sustaining Member

If you don't see the ceiling and have enough room you could always rig a china ball above the table and wrapped in black paper or black fabric so you don't let the light go to the walls.

 

If you want to soften it even more, you could always put a frame with diffusion below the china ball, providing you have enough room left of course.

 

As for the left - hand side, it looks like it is a small light, maybe it is a dedolight inbetween the hard and the soft edges as the shadow is hard but not as strong as it should be and there is a circle around the chair and you can see the penumbra.

 

For close - ups you could use a Rifa Lite, fantastic lights, come with a dimmer and with an egg crate, alternatively you can use a 1K / 2K fresnel / Open Face with depron on it.

 

Have a good day!

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Hey Haydon. so the picture you posted actually doesn't really use soft light much. I think often it is a misunderstanding that dim scenes seem softly lit. the practicals are pretty big here too they are doing a lot.

 

this is motivated with the two lamps and the main lamp is mimicked with a hard source from above maybe like 250 on the doors of the light or something but no big soft source's there. there appears to be a second soft source in the room that is lighting the bottom right of frame with that table but its hard to tell in such a low res photo what is going on. There is also the window glow which is doing some stuff.

 

 

the thing about controlling soft light is you need bigger flags or more duv or w/e your going to use. One thing alot of people do is use china balls. the classic situation is a skirted china ball over the middle of a dinner table. but you can use that in any situation. Chimera's are also good but you may need to extend out pieces duvetine or flags somehow to control the light. This usually means rigging to ceilings in wide shots with ceiling spreaders or other tools like this.

 

 

I think a good thing that I have learned is not to be afraid to underexpose. Often times if you look at frames like your reference you'll find the whole thing barley touches 50IRE in scopes. so that means even your hottest parts of the frame may just be at your stop. This of course depends on style your going for, but something to consider.

 

 

for close ups you can do book lights but they hard to control. You might be better again with something like a large china ball, but really anything can work you just need a nice soft source that wraps. Honestly the light from a real lamp can be perfect size sometimes or a real lamp through some like a 4x4 of 216/250.

Edited by Albion Hockney
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This Depron was discussed in another theread recently. It is extruded rather than beaded polystyrene. So it won't fall apart in thin sheets. It would be usefull to know what the light loss is with this material, for a given thickness. If we placed it in front of our meter, what is the light loss? it will probably vary according to the thickness and density. Depron will be a brand name, pretending to be a material, in order to own that little niche in our heads.

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Of course, I think I might even post some photos during the week if I get a light where to put a piece of depron on.

 

Basically you have your lamp, you put two of the barns in the desired position and put a piece of depron inbetween, placing the depron with pegs in each of the two barns.

 

What I usually do is cutting the light from the two sides where the depron is not acting so you don't have unwanted light.

 

Depron will give you a super super soft light with a very tender texture, I don't know how to describe it better.

 

Have a good day.

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If you leave it there for 20 hours I suppose it will, eventually

 

However, I have used it a lot on 2K open face lamps and I have never had a problem.

 

Of course, it is something not a lot of people like but I do.

 

If you give me your address I can send you a small piece by post so you can ask around and see if you find it.

 

Have a good day.

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Bradley,

I've never used extruded poly for diffusion, but I'm sure Miguel can give some guidelines. If Depron is what I think it is then it is quite sensitive to heat, just like beaded poly. My guess is that it will get hot and you will move it futher away. But all this you can try for yourself in 5 minutes.

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I wouldn't worry about soft light in the wide shot. Unless it's a top light (which isn't necessarily that flattering) you'll find it hard to get a large source near the actors without it destroying all the mood of the room. I'd light them with some small softboxes, or just diffusion on the barn doors of the lamp, and then get a more flattering source in there for the close-ups.

 

Should you use a small booklight? There is so much rubbish said about booklights. They are not any softer than any other diffused source. Softness comes from the size of the source relative to the subject. So, a 'small' book light is not going to be magically softer than a bounced lamp or a softbox, or a frame of similar size. Use what you have space and time for.

 

Depron has a nice quality of light, but it's expensive and it's almost impossible to find pieces larger than about 2' x 3'. There are many other ways to achieve the same aim.

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I'd go with something more directional than a China ball, maybe a small chimera with 40 degree eggcrate or so rigged just above the frame. Or a 4x4 Kino Flo with 216 on it. You want something relatively low intensity that falls off before it reaches the back wall. The more directional chimera or Kino combined with the high angle will help with that as well.

 

I agree with Stuart, a book light is going to be counterproductive in a small space like that where you want to avoid spill. I'd just bring in a 4x4 diffusion frame for the close up and maybe lower the unit if you have the time. Combine that with some passive bounce sources like muslin on the floor and a beadboard and you should be good.

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I actually like the way the light is falling on the chair in that image. What about putting a higher wattage practical in that lamp and just re-arranging it a bit to fall more on the talent?

 

It is generally a mistake to try to light your talent with practicals because they invariably blow out. Not only is supplemental lighting required to light your talent, but you must also treat the practicals to make them look realistic. I find that practical lamps never look convincing unless one treats the lampshade as well as boost the bulb wattage. That is because if you stop down to keep the shade from burning out, the output of the practical, on the table it sits on or the wall its on, looks rather anemic. For example, IMO this scene looks underexposed because its stopped down to keep detail in the shade. It would look more realistic if there were more play of light from the top of the lamp on the bookcase behind it and ceiling above it. I find you get a more realistic look if you boost the wattage of the bulb and line the inside of the shade with ND gel. It is a delicate balance to obtain.

 

You can obtain this delicate balance without a monitor, by using the old school method with incident and spot meters and a selection of practical bulbs including PH 211, 212, and 213 bulbs. Years ago Walter Lassaley, BSC, instructed me to balance practical’s such that an incident reading of the direct output one foot away from the bulb is one stop over exposure. I have found that rule of thumb gives a realistic output to the practical - the light emitted downward onto the chair and upward onto the wall or ceiling is realistic. After establishing the practical’s output using an incident meter, you then use a spot meter to determine how dense an ND gel is needed to line the inside of the shade so that the shade does not become too hot.

 

Once the practical is balanced to your exposure, light your talent with a separate instrument that is motivated by the practical and rigged out of shot above - perhaps cheating it a bit to get better modeling. When you push in for the close up, turn off that rigged key and use a soft source from the same general direction (again cheating it a bit to get better modeling) and flagged so it doesn't spill onto the background.

 

Guy Holt, Gaffer

ScreenLight & Grip

Lighting Sales & Rentals in Boston

Edited by Guy Holt
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the thing about controlling soft light is you need bigger flags or more duv or w/e your going to use. One thing alot of people do is use china balls. the classic situation is a skirted china ball over the middle of a dinner table. but you can use that in any situation. Chimera's are also good but you may need to extend out pieces duvetine or flags somehow to control the light. This usually means rigging to ceilings in wide shots with ceiling spreaders or other tools like this.

By the time you done screwing around putting Duvetyn on a paper lantern, you might just as well have put a light with a chimera out on a menace arm

or 2k space light or knocked together a coop light and hung it in place of the ceiling fixture in the room.

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It's hard to know what the rigging options would be for that ceiling -- that would sort of drive how I'd light the room. Worst case scenario is that you can only tape white cards and black skirts up there, in which case I'd use Source-4 Lekos to put ceiling spots that bounce down into areas of the room, and a skirt along the back and sides to shadow the tops of the walls.

 

For lightweight units that can be rigged somehow, there are things like Lowel Rifa's with eggcrates on them, or paper lanterns, or Chimera lanterns or pancake lanterns.

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Hey Guy in Boston. I enjoyed your understanding of the scene. Wish we could afford to ship you over to the UK for three weeks in October. But we can't! Damn! David Mullen I like the Source-4 solution for the softness and there is going to be some serious black skirt action with that but the light quality would be great once rigged.

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