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Alex Sprenger

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  1. I would just visit your local light rental place, most of the time they have tons of scraps lying around and as tiniest bits are enough for a dedo, you should get all you need there for a small donation.
  2. Unfortunately the shoot never happened (agency didnt fancy the idea anymore), but the animals in question were dogs and lamas. Maybe you are right though Richard, maybe she meant LEDs. I can only imagine that HMIs might be problematic as well, with the high frequency buzz.
  3. Well my reaction was of course I would listen to what she says, she works with them everyday and shoots with them very often, so she clearly is the expert on the topic and I would adhere to the topic. Currently it looks like the shoot isnt going to happen anyway, so its not urgent anymore. I am still very much interested in what others have to say on the subject matter anyway.
  4. So it looks like I am gaffing an animal related TVC soon. As it was a straight studio shoot I was planning on using all tungsten units, combined with maybe a few LEDs. During the first meeting the animal trainer told me that animals would prefer working under daylight units, so HMIs. I have never heard that and was wondering whether someone else could chime in? Obviously the heat could be an issue, but we have a rather spacious studio and the lights would always be going through a 12 by 12 full grid anyway, so there would be only a quite pleasant warmth at most. We will be shooting at a T5.6 and at ISO 800.
  5. 1. Not really. In my experience the cheap halogen ones work about as good as the more expensive ones with the exception of bulb life and maybe robustness in terms of resistance to shock. 2. That depends on a wide variety of circumstances. How do you want to use them? As a practical in shot, hanging naked from the ceiling? Inside a lampshade, off screen? In a paper lantern, giving base illumination to a hallway? On what ISO are you shooting and what is the light level you need to achieve that? Generally speaking, as they are fairly inexpensive, I would get a small range of them, from 25w to 200w and then you should be suited for most situations. The lower wattages (25w, 40w, 60w) are the ones I reach for 90% of the time, you should have multiple of those, in frosted and clear. Generally speaking if you put a bulb in a paper lantern (so if you want to diffuse it further), it doesn't matter if you start out with a frosted bulb. Recently for a online commercial video, I used a clear one for the practical in the background first, but it ended up glowing too strongly because of the diffusion we had in camera, so we used a frosted one, which illuminated a lot more evenly and looked more pleasing and not as distracting (see attached photo). At other times I had cases where I swapped from a clear bulb in a practical to a frosted because the shadow line of the lamp shade was too pronounced, in which case I often add another sliver of 251 into the top of the shade to further help cut down on harsh shadow lines. If you are doing the classic single hanging bulb in a closet kind of thing, then you definitely want the hard look of a clear bulb. I would have a set of both close by and just experiment with what looks good. 4. I have never had any problems with halogen bulbs flickering, no matter whether they are dimmed or not. 5. Absolutely. You dont necessarily need to use the hand dimmers typically used for film lights, the cheap ones from Amazon will be fine for the smaller wattages. Be careful though, as these (and the better dimmers as well) start humming or buzzing slightly, especially in the middle of the dimming range. Try to keep dimmers away from set as much as possible, so in other rooms or whatever is far away enough for sound. Also, I often use bigger bulbs dimmed way down, so they read a lot warmer then 3200, which can be a very desirable look. A final word of caution, be careful what bulbs you use with what socket. Most modern lamps have a maximum watt number labeled on them, which tends to be around 60w or 75w. Dont screw a 250w photoflood into the plastic socket of an IKEA practical, you might melt it and cause a fire.
  6. To add to that, because of that and the completely different log curve of film you also shouldnt try to read your contrast ratios off of the video tap. It basically can only be used for monitoring framing.
  7. I am currently in the process of designing a portable wireless DMX setup (all battery powered) for myself and was wondering how other people work with WDMX, as it nowadays is mentioned very often, but people rarely get into the nuts and bolts of it. As many film lighting people, I have no DMX experience whatsoever, so bare with me. My work consists of mostly very small shoots, I am often alone and would just like to spend more time beside the monitor and / or cameraman instead of running around turning knobs on skypanels. My general setup would consist of ADJ WiFly EXR battery DMX transceivers and a few handdimmers with DMX capability, in case I needed to use tungsten. All signals would go to another transceiver hooked up to a small 12 channel DMX board (battery powered as well), built into a small peli case. I have picked these transceivers for their internal battery, build quality and price. Should this system run well enough, I might upgrade to a Lumenradio system, but as this is a bit of an experiment for me and I dont want to spend thousands of dollars for a hand full of transceivers, I will start with a smaller, cheaper setup. I dont have a specific question, I was just wondering whether someone uses a similar setup or has any experience using one. Any tips or heads up for potential problems along the way would be highly appreciated.
  8. You could also just use a floppy on a double gobo arm extension on a c stand right by the toilet bowl, the wall behind the shower should cover it (if you shoot in the direction we are currently looking). If this space would be bigger and less irregular shaped, you could use 2 autopoles and a very thin, light duvetyne. Whatever you do, the general approach in small places that should look as moody as Fincher likes it: every square inch that isnt in frame should be negatived. Concerning the lamps: unless you really want to keep them as practicals, I would suggest not using them and maybe even using the Westcott 1 x 1, as it would be easy to put up there and often bathroom lights are quite small anyway. Ideally, you would use something a bit bigger though, like a Kinoflo 2 x 2 or even a 2 feet fourbank. That way, you could use a grid with it, which always helps reduce spill in these tiny spaces.
  9. If the distance from light to mirror plus the distance from mirror to subject in setup A equals the distance from the light source to subject in setup B, than they should be equally hard. This is the case because the light source would be the same size from the perspective of the subject. The mirror just allows you to back your light further up from your subject than a small room with limited space would do. To increase the sharpness or hardness of a light, generally you will want to decrease its size and use a light with great throw. Usually optically more sophisticated designs work better for this, such as the aforementioned dedos (I also love their 650W version, such a pleasure to use and would also be great for this), lekos (you might want to use their EDLT lenses for this, as they are optically superior to the standard ones) or fresnels. Open face lights dont cut as nicely, because the source is not as clean, as you have both the reflector and the lamp itself which emit light.
  10. It would be very helpful to know which camera and ISO you intend to shoot at? If we are assuming the pretty much industry standard 800 ISO, then for a t5.6 you need around 50 fc (500 lux) - this is exluding the overexposure you might need for the highkey look. For bounced light on house power, those are kind of big numbers. Especially since you mentioned all of this will go through sheers again, effectively acting as a layer of diffusion. Out of instinct, I would assume that you need more light intensity then what you are getting with your planed setup. I would suggest at least M40s for the bounces and they are (according to the manufacturers photometrics) a good bit brighter then the Mole Tener (2000 fc / 30000 lux vs 253 fc / 21400 lux, both at full flood at 10ft/3m distance). I have no experience with the Mole Tener, but my gut tells me that for that kind of setup even M40s would be too dim.
  11. You would have double Full CTOs on the HMIs and at that point, you can just use tungsten, as everyone else here pointed out. What f stop and ISO do you plan on shooting at for the wide shot? Do you only have access to house power or will you have a generator on hand? If its just house power, how many circuits do you have on hand that you can draw from? With 2Ks, you are at one lamp per circuit, so keep that in mind when talking with the locations contact, especially since your store looks way bigger than Bruces house. BTW what I love about his shot is the fact, that you can see fire in the windows downstairs a bit, which interestingly enough doesnt happen in your REAL reference Jayden, but to me makes it a lot more convincing. Would probably be a question of how big the glass front of the store can be and how convincingly it could be lit from inside, otherwise I would just reside to backlighting the smoke on the roof. Also: Im guessing there will be other shots in front of the store, in the parking lot? If so, might I suggest this reference from Jarhead for that: That movie has tons of great night fire scenes, with lots of great silhouettes.
  12. That depends largely on whether you have to match it to something real. If that is the case, you should absolutely shoot the real part it has to match to first and shoot a reference from a position that will match the miniature shot most closely. You should have that reference and the rest of the scene on set when you shoot the real thing, including a DIT that knows what he is doing and a bigger reference monitor to compare it to the rest of the scene and check it out with a quick on set grade. Also, as these effects shots are most of the time one offs or at least cant be done 20 times in a day, I would strongly advise shooting raw and maybe with multiple cameras. In terms of lighting the miniature. Observe the direction, position and character of the light at the time of the shooting of the rest of the scene (take reference pictures and notes) and just try to imitate that as best as possible. If you shoot just the miniature and it doesn't have to match anything, than you can of course do what you want to do. In any case you will probably need a deep t stop to make the miniature shot seem real and to counteract the narrow depth of field you might get from being closer to your fake tree. How big will your tree be at 1:10? Dont underestimate the amount of light you will need for this. Deep t stop + 75 fps equal a lot of light. This might decrease the maximum size of shot that you might be able to light convincingly.
  13. I rarely soften the smaller ones, because it makes more sense to start with a bigger mat for that. Most of the time, I use them with a grid and on two gobo arms extended way over the edge of the frame if I want a little edge on someone or if I want to have small accents somewhere in the set. btw: is anyone else having problems with the build quality of the litemats? The first time I used one I thought someone soldered cheap knock off connections on but it seems those are the ones it comes with. Not really reassuring... Had one fail on me in the field, the rental company told us that was only the third time that mat had been rented.
  14. Hiro Murai shot this with his long time collaborator Larkin Seiple, whos work you can view here, albeit the page hasnt been updated for quite a while : http://www.larkinseiple.com/ They have shot multiple music videos for Childish Gambino / Donald Glover and all of them are definitely worth a watch. This one was shot on 35mm, as stated on Larkins IG page larksss.
  15. Technically this is a gripping question, so maybe someone else would be more qualified to answer this. DONT try to use it with a C-stand arm. The weight and size are too much for them and it wouldnt support it. The cheapest way to do that is a simple goalpost rig, the process is detailed here pretty well: Then just use a Cardellini to mount the light to the pipe. Also: use safety chain, which you pull through the bail of the light and around the pipe, so it has just enough slack for you to adjust the lamphead in the correct direction. I hope there is enough room in the kitchen for that. If you dont have the room for that or the shape of the room doesnt accommodate for a goalpost rig, either a wallbreaker or a menace arm would be the way to go, but neither are one man band setups. Also, if not handled right, both of them and especially the wallbreaker can be dangerous to the people below it and damage the walls you attach it to - if you dont know what you are doing. Will be interesting to know what other people suggest.
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