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David Daniel Doherty

Gels or Daylight Balanced Lights

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Hi all, Ive a living room scene to shoot, Red Epic.


As it stands, I have available Arri Tungsten lights - 3 x 800w and 2 x 1200


I use these in a fashion studio daily and I know how to utilize them and control them when shooting people quite well.


Im now concerned because Im mixing these with daylight from a window in the upcoming shoot.


The question I am asking myself is, should I use CTB gels with my Arris, or just hire day light balanced lighting. I guess Id like to use the Arris tungstens, since I know them.


Therefore, then my concern is the efficiency or inefficiency of using gels with them, I have no experience with this. I wonder how much compromise will be introduced to the output and the general disadvantages.


If anyone wants to respond in a positive way, please do, if you have an opinion or idea which option you might choose, in my shoes.


Cheers, David.

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Since full CTB loses nearly 2-stops of output whereas Full CTO on a window loses 2/3-stop, I'd gel the windows as a first option unless there are simply too many of them or your shots have people going in and out of the front door.


You might want to add some daylight units if you can't gel the windows and you have to add blue gels to tungsten lamps, get a few daylight LED's or Kinos, etc. Then you can use the tungsten for harder lighting effects and even leave them a little warm compared to the soft daylight units, for a slash of warm sunset lighting, for example, or warm backlight.

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Cheers, Dave. Option two is resonating most with me.


I’m shooting a musician performing in a hotel suite we’ve rented. His music is very quiet and quite sad. I plan on using long slow camera moves (motor slider and dolly) and zooms.


I’d like to create a somber, semi dramatic look and feel, to match the melancholic sounds.


Warm sunset / edge might also be something to aim for.

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I'm from the stills world where photographers love to light the subject with tungsten but use daylight instruments for the background and set the camera white balance to tungsten.

The result is that the background and some of the shadows go a lonesome shade of blue while your subject, lit with the Arris, will be is rendered naturally. It's a beautiful effect with still cameras, but I would definitely test to see how the color science would work with a Red. You can vary the effect by adding 1/8 or 1/4 CTB to the tungsten lights to narrow the difference between the two sources.

Obviously, the main issue is that it would be a pain to grade out if the client decided he or she didn't like the look.

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