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Phil Rhodes

Suggestions for a night exterior

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Hello folks.

 

I may well have to light this at night for next to no money.

 

post-29-0-30911700-1502820873_thumb.jpg

 

The action is that a young woman is trying to help someone she believes is trapped inside. She approaches the house. No lights are on inside, but we can assume some external accent lighting might be running. She can't get in; checks around, peering through the windows, then forces the front door and goes inside.

 

It's a near-future sci fi, near enough that houses like that would reasonably exist, and I would like to do something to make it look that way. Perhaps we can do something props-wise about a cool blue glowing panel by the door which acts as a doorbell, message system, or something. We could cheat in some illuminated bollards, or even assume some just-out-of-shot street lighting.

 

I would rather avoid an orange sodium streetlit look; there's one just out of shot to the right, but not much else. Moonlight would be nice, so, obviously, an 18K on a cherrypicker, except... no. We should have access to several 240V/13A power outlets, each capable of about 3KW. Largest instrument is therefore a 2.5K HMI.

 

This instinctively sounds grossly insufficient, although Arri's data suggests that an M18 will develop more than 250lx at 20m with a beam diameter of over 23m. At ISO 400 and 25fps with a 180-degree shutter, that's almost a 2.8, though one would rather be at f/4 for sanity and reliable optical performance. It will cover a 16m area at nearly 500lx, which should be 2.8 and a half or thereabouts.

 

I have a few ideas but I'd be very grateful for any thoughts.

 

Phil

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You can do several things on this but you need to do two things:

 

1) Block the scene.

2) Take a photo at night.

 

If I weren't able to put a cherry picker with a 16x16 ultrabounce on it and bounce a 2.5K off it I would go from the ground and keep the light lateral.

 

You could use a 2.5K with Peacock blue (for example, or keep it white) through a 4x4 frame (or 2) and then through a 12x12 frame from as far as you can get for the ambience.

 

Then, if you have the money you could use a couple of Selects through 4x4 frames for the close-ups.

 

Also, those little roads.. you could put a 2K with Bastard Amber / Sodium Vapor on each road far back just to create some colour contrast.

 

Have a lovely day! ;)

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What comes to me is night darkness with a cyan illumination and small white-yellow practical sources scattered throughout, maybe dropped back into the bokeh of the lens.

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Actually, you could use something very effective to create "points of light" in the background which is putting single photoflood bulbs on c-stands scattered in the background with different colours :)

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I suggest having a couple of skypanels on boom arms. They output plenty light on next to nothing power. You can easily soften them. Dial in exactly the color you'd like. I love them.

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skypanels

 

That crackling sound would be hell freezing over, I believe.

 

But seriously - thanks, and I'll look into it. I may be able to rustle up a couple of 8x8s, which would be half the area of the 16x16!

 

But really, a 2.5K into a 16x16, over that sort of area?

 

P

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This was lit with a single M18 through a 12x12 Light grid. Red Dragon @800 ISO. I can't remember the stop, but we were shooting with Super Baltars, so it was probably f2.8. The frame and lamp were only a few feet out of shot, so there was a 12x12 double net T-boned to slow down the light on the right side of the house. I'll probably take it down further in color-timing.

 

Region11.jpg

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This was lit with a single M18 through a 12x12 Light grid. Red Dragon @800 ISO. I can't remember the stop, but we were shooting with Super Baltars, so it was probably f2.8

 

Region11.jpg

 

 

There you go!

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If you're not replicating street lamps or moonlight, you don't have to light the house from top to bottom if you don't think that's possible. It's a large house, but if you have to, you can light some of the roof, a little of the middle and a little of the bottom and I'll (as the viewer) know the size and scope of the house from that alone. As long as it's all dim enough, I won't care where the light is coming from, because I won't notice it's lit... which would be the objective. It would help to light the houses on the right and left in a similar way, but none of this requires big lamps as long as you have fast lenses, because I assume you want it to be dark overall.

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On a side note, since replacing skies is so easy now, have any of you tried shooting traditional day for night, then replacing the sky with stars and the moon? I'm curious if that would work or look too weird.

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Probably. I'm just curious if anyone here has tried it in like a desert scene or something.

 

 

We did that on "Broken Hugs" from Almodovar in one shot in Lanzarote which I don't remember if it is in the movie or not, I saw it on the grading suite and it looked great!

 

It was a shot of a car driving through the mountains in Lanzarote.

 

Have a good day.

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Not sure if budget or power is more the concern. But you could look into aadyntechs punch plus, better output than a 2.5k and only runs at 5 amps. Could potentially double them up into a 12x12 or space them out.

They have become my favorite for budget exterior stuff.

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Look at the photometrics - it's weaker than a 1200 SE PAR, let alone a 2,5K.

"Brighter than a 2,500 watt HMI", they say. Maybe, brighter than a 2,5 softlight made in '70s.

 

Phil, you should take a look at genny rental prices if you haven't. At least here, it's cheaper to rent a 1,5-ton truck (which you'll need anyway) with an onboard 36kW genny and a couple 6Ks than a package of high-output LEDs like S120 Skypanels.

 

I'll second Miguel's sugesstion to fire a couple PARs into an Ultrabounce high above. You can try lighting houses in background with a direct flooded fresnel broken up with a branchaloris, will help create more contrast on BG. Be sure to have some kind of glowing highlights in BG (lit window, streetlight, anything) or some higly specular things giving highlight - with nothing overexposed in frame, it won't look as dark.

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Look at the photometrics - it's weaker than a 1200 SE PAR, let alone a 2,5K.

"Brighter than a 2,500 watt HMI", they say. Maybe, brighter than a 2,5 softlight made in '70s.

 

 

I have and I use them frequently. Based on Arri's App, its pretty spot on to a 2.5k bulb in an M40, within a 1/5 of a stop. Compared to any cheaper fixture, its usually brighter.

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Tried the app...

Arri 2,5 fresnel at full flood - 6000 lux @ 4,5 meters

"Punch Plust" with a 55 deg diffuser - 1830 lux @ 4,5 meters

And that's a fresnel which's the least efficient of them all. In a narrow-beam application (like firing into a mirror) this LED is more than 20x weaker than a PAR with a safety glass (no lens) and 2-5x dimmer than a lensed par.

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Tried the app...

Arri 2,5 fresnel at full flood - 6000 lux @ 4,5 meters

"Punch Plust" with a 55 deg diffuser - 1830 lux @ 4,5 meters

And that's a fresnel which's the least efficient of them all. In a narrow-beam application (like firing into a mirror) this LED is more than 20x weaker than a PAR with a safety glass (no lens) and 2-5x dimmer than a lensed par.

 

 

You're comparing apples to oranges.

For 1, an M40 puts out 2800 FC at a 38 degree beam at 10ft. Thats the widest the app shows.

The Punch Plus's normal beam is 19 degrees with no "lens". The lens are just plastic diffusion panels, they're terrible, they easily eat 1-2 stops of light. If you're pushing this through a silk or bouncing it there is no reason to use them.

An M40 puts out 7000 FC at 18 degree at 10 ft, Punch plus puts out 6000 FC

 

And thats basically the best par fixture in production.

You can not like LEDs, thats cool. Don't go putting out false info though.

Edited by Josh S Wilkinson

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I was going to say (hopefully a bit more sympathetically) the same thing. It's incredibly easy to be hoodwinked by LED output claims. They are often absolutely outrageous.

 

That LED is a bit less than 600 watts' worth. LED and HMI have broadly similar luminous efficacy (very recent, high quality LEDs may be fractionally better, but not enough to make a worthwhile difference in this comparison.) It is not plausible that a 600-watt LED has the same output as a 2.5KW HMI.

 

P

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Did anyone read the first line in Phil's post? "....no money." Well, at least Miguel did.

Just throwing it out there, while more power hungry, HMIs will be cheaper to rent than Skypanels.

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You're comparing apples to oranges.

For 1, an M40 puts out 2800 FC at a 38 degree beam at 10ft. Thats the widest the app shows.

The Punch Plus's normal beam is 19 degrees with no "lens". The lens are just plastic diffusion panels, they're terrible, they easily eat 1-2 stops of light. If you're pushing this through a silk or bouncing it there is no reason to use them.

An M40 puts out 7000 FC at 18 degree at 10 ft, Punch plus puts out 6000 FC

 

And thats basically the best par fixture in production.

You can not like LEDs, thats cool. Don't go putting out false info though.

Could you please point out exactly where have I given false info?

I am comparing hard lights of similar beam angle. How is this apples to oranges, I don't know.

And if you to be techically strict, M-series is an open-face, and like any open-face is efficient over a rather limited range of beam angles. If you need a long throw with a narrow beam (for hitting a mirror or bounce card), a regular PAR will serve you much better. There's no "best" fixture.

 

And I don't like HMIs either, although I own some. Fragile globes filled with mercury constantly changing their CCT and green-magenta bias just suck. I like tungsten and carbon arcs though :)

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And, by the way...

There IS a reason to have a wider spread when lighting through silks or diff. With a 19 deg angle you won't cover a moderately large frame (say a 12x) from a reasonable distance. That's why we put Super Flood lenses on PAR punching though silks.

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I was going to say (hopefully a bit more sympathetically) the same thing. It's incredibly easy to be hoodwinked by LED output claims. They are often absolutely outrageous.

 

That LED is a bit less than 600 watts' worth. LED and HMI have broadly similar luminous efficacy (very recent, high quality LEDs may be fractionally better, but not enough to make a worthwhile difference in this comparison.) It is not plausible that a 600-watt LED has the same output as a 2.5KW HMI.

 

P

 

That was true maybe 3 years ago, not so much now. I have used them side by side with a Joker 1600, the output is very similar across the lens range.

I haven't used it personally next to anything bigger than that, but its suited me well for similar night exterior work

 

The fact that you can plug 2 into a wall/putt putt was the main reason for my suggestion. Rents the same as a 1600/2500 as well, at least here.

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An M18 bounced into a 12x12 or 8x8 Ultrabounce should be comfortably sufficient for this if you've got at least an ISO 800 camera and a T/2.8 lens.

I'd also suggest you consider adding a couple of small tungsten lights (one round the back of the house playing onto the driveway, and another out the front, perhaps playing on the small hedge and the tree (to give you a little more visual separation).

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