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bird's eye of dinner scene

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I am shooting a music video with a Red Scarlet on Saturday that involves overhead shots of a 4'x8' table with 8 people enjoying a gluttonous meal.


Lighting kit comprises of one 4x4 Kino (tungsten), 3 650W and 2 300W Arri fresnels. Shooting in a 20 x 30 foot studio with table in the center. Want the table well lit with pretty immediate fall off so that the table is the 'island' and the edges of room fall off into darkness. I was planning to key with the Kino on a boom over the table and use the fresnels as rim lights for the dinner guests. Only problem is that we want to get some bird's eye over head shots of the whole table and inserts of the food and select actions in close-up from above. The kino would very likely be in the shot, especially for the overhead wide of the table. What to do?


There is no budget for a jib (no budget for much of anything really), so was thinking of shooting from a ladder. Any advice on how to light? or a no-budget solution for getting bird's eye compositions? Is it possible to match the Kino 'look' using the fresnels for the overhead bird's eye shots, and then switching it out for the Kino when the camera is back on the floor?

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Are there any practicals in the shot from above? Do they have a closed top? If so... replace the practicals with high wattage lamps and have them help you out.

Or China balls with same lamps on booms or poles next to the camera. Will you be using snappy cuts? Then your could simply light each shot if you have the time... the travel distance on the close-ups would probably be short enough to accommodate room for the Chinas.

Lower the fresnels a bit so they still only rim the side of arms etc.

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Don't forget that the Keno 4x4s can be removed from the fixture, and the bulbs and "guts" are light enough to be tapped up on the ceiling with gaff tape. Otherwise, follow Torben's advice, china balls are great lights that I almost always have on set.

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