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Night EXT. Petrol Station Shoots

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Hello hive mind,

I am looking for some advice- I have a 4 night shoot set in a petrol station coming up. Shooting on 16mm-  500T /25fps /180. I am aiming to rate it at 320asa with a stop of around T2.8 on the lens. 

My first question is what kind of fixture you would replace the overhead, garish floodlights with- would you aim to replace the bulb itself, if so what with? Another option would be to just turn them off and rig fixtures that mimic overhead light but aren't as green as the LED's. 

A third option I'm considering is just gelling the glass of the overhead fixture, with minus green to get the light to a more neutral colour balance, using my cinemeter 2 app to work out what the compensation would be. I have attached a still taken from the cinemeter app which gives an idea of the colour of the lights (however this hasn't been properly calibrated and I would be interested to hear from people who have used the app how reliable it is?)

Another question is- if I was to leave the lights as they are, what do rushes with an overly green spike look like? What do the skin tones look like?

A separate issue is the reflections I am getting on the car windscreen. I aim to avoid these by using a 12x12 black overhead, and a Pola filter too if need be. I am also looking at removing the windscreen- for shots that are framed 'within' the windscreen if that makes sense.

I will get a test day but its unlikely to be at the location. I have attached reference photos for the things I've mentioned above.

Warm Regards,


overhead fixture.jpg

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Can't help with the lighting, but modern vehicle windscreens are bonded to the body and are only removed for replacement when damaged. I doubt they can be removed intact, so unless you budget for removal and replacement I would forget that option.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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Thanks Mark- good to know.

We do have budget for the removal & replacement of the windscreen, and we have 6 pages set in the car, so just weighing up whether it is worth doing so or not

Edited by Owen Cant
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Re your LED situation - it's very 'murky' so to speak.

From a level of surety you're dealing with an unknown variable (the spectral content of the fixture) any app you use or any meter for that matter will most likely have a different spectral response from your film stock (however, film is apparently slightly more forgiving) so therefore you're dealing with two unknown variables.

I've gelled back bi-colour LED's that have shifted off the planckian as the two 'white' phosphors have the spectral content to allow subtractive colour mixing. The idea of cutting more spectrum from these already (most likely spiky) LED's keeping in mind most older LEDs for architectural use weren't designed with substantial spectral content in mind - is worrying.

On digital, I've had DP's gel back LED torches and I've finished it off in the grade but everything does (in my opinion) look artificial which I imagine is due to the lack of gamut being resolved. I understand film is more forgiving.

So a tl:dr if it was me, I'd replace the bulbs/dummy with fixtures. Even the worser of film orientated LED fixtures have at least an attempt at greater spectral content.

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You might do well to conduct a dry run with your camera and look through the viewfinder eyepiece for any pulsation or strobing from the LED lights. If the overhead lights have their own independent power supply, they may be operating at a different frequency to the mains power. I am assuming you have a film camera with a reflex mirror-shutter viewfinder. As for wasting a car windscreen, would there be any utility in sourcing an identical or very similar model of car from a wrecker and using that for your fixed interior work.

Edited by Robert Hart
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