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Practical Lamps Coloured Shades

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I've notice that in most movies the set designer and DOP seem to choose white shades for practical lamps - presumably to increase exposure and not mess with white balance. So for example, all white lamp shades and then dim down the practical lamp bulbs to create a nice warm tone. Is there any advantage to using a white shade with dimmed bulb to get an orange effect, as opposed to keeping the bulb at full power and using an orange shade (which I guess will give more a colour contrast between diffussed and direct light)? Both would presumably give a warm effect.


What about coloured bulbs/globes in practicals. Effectively to create warm effect we have got 4 options:

1. Dimmed down tungsten

2. Use orange painted bulb

3. Gel inside of lampshade

4. Use colour lampshade


Have you experimented with them and do you think any have certain advantages or disadvantages to creating the warm romantic look.


Has anyone given much thought to the colour of lamp shades and have you had any eureka sublime moments, where you've thought I need to keep that up my sleeve for a romantic shot? Have you had any bad moments where you've thought, i really should not have used a lamp with a red lampshade etc.


The only advice I can give here is make sure the lamp height is big enough to hold higher wattage bulbs - I tried to stick a dimmed 100w in a lamp and the bulb poked out the top so I reverted to a 40w at full blast.


One film that baffles me is Amelie. A blue lamp in a very warm environment - I would have thought the colour spill from the lamp would create a really muddy colour in the immediate environment - or is it one of those post-production tricks where they've rotoscoped the light and changed the colour? Has anybody tried shooting a scene with a blue practical and overall warm feel - it sounds like asking for trouble?


(I shall try and repost the images just in case they dissappear from thirdparty sites, if the images no longer exist on reading this post contact me!)


Atypical White Lampshades:



Red Practical (Nice!!!)



Amelie Blue Light

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Amelie was very heavily color corrected-- and there is a very good change that lamp is post color changed.


as for shade colors-- that is often much more of a production design choice than a DoP choice. while we may have our own little ideas about them-- generally speaking this is something which is based around the design of the room and treated to get exposure out of it-- though not normally lighting the scene proper. For myself, I will tend to go with a off white or very heavy shade, to keep it from blowing out, and then i may use a photoflood bulb in it so that as I dim it down it doesn't get too warm. It all depends on what one is going for (and often in these instances I will fake the lamp light with a silk china ball, or a paper one which may or may not be bleached. I have a few colored china balls I like to play with-- these brownish ones I have-- if you can get output from them, do wonders for skintones).

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