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Thomas McNamara

Moving Lighting

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Hi everyone!


I want to achieve something like in this video at 00:12 (shots on Rihanna and then Drake).



The lighting seems to be moving as well as some dimming happening at the same time. Does anyone know how this is achieved? Is it a matter of putting some of the lights on a dolly-like system and assigning a light operator to pan/tilt the heads as the lights moves? Or is this just a dimming thing in which they dim down certain units and dim up other units simultaneously?


My project is quite simple. It's a series of commercials in which we do a dead center dolly-in on subjects standing in the middle of a cyc wall studio going from a head to toe wide into an extreme close-up. I'd like my key light setup to move a little like in the link above. Right now, I've ordered my gear as if I'm not doing moving the lights, so it's kind of a bulky setup. But depending on your suggestions, I can change it up and optimize it for motion.



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I think it's a soft top light that is circling them overhead. A low-tech version would be a paper lantern on a boom pole doing the circle around but it wouldn't look as precise and mechanical as this video unless your lamp operator was very robotic and exact. Otherwise I'd say use some sort of suspended circular overhead track & dolly and a soft light pointed down.

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There's probably like 10 ways to do it. What first came to my mind is a lightweight LED head (pointed down) extended on a boom arm and attached to a wheeled light stand... Just make sure the stand is the absolute heaviest thing...

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Thanks for the replies guys!


I can see now that it probably is a big soft overhead source moving around them mechanically on some kind of system. I won't have the grip crew necessary to pull something like this off on this project but I've had an idea that I want to share with you to see if it's valid.


I was thinking about placing a number of fresnel units (with chimeras on all) around my subject, all on dimmers. Picture a half moon setup around my subject. At the beginning of the shot, one of these units would be on, keying the subject. As we dolly in, the key would gradually dim down as the unit next to it dims up, and so forth until we've wrapped completely around.


These would be ground units, raised as high as they can go and pointed down.


Would this accomplish something in the ballpark of the inspo link?

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It would be an interesting effect but in my brain I can't visualize it coming out like the motion in your original music video link.


If it's possible, would need an astounding amount of calibration.

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What David said. Lighting board/dimmer rack, trussing or studio with suitable grid, etc., etc. Do you have the budget to pull this off?

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