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matt irving

Re-create UFO-style beams of light

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I thought I might reach out to folks a whole lot more knowledgable than myself in regard to a particular lighting challenge I have. And one that isn't strictly to do with film.

 

I am studying for a Masters in Fine Art Photography and am working on a project that looks at the people who believe in the extra-ordinary and have extra-terrestrial stories to tell. People whose beliefs lie at the fringe of society. In the town where I live, there is a curious story of alien abduction (and subsequent quick release) of a pensioner who had gone night fishing and encountered a UFO beside a canal. I would like to recreate elements of the story photographically and to start, I was thinking how I could create a UFO-beam-of-light-type scene of when the man first encountered the UFO. I will be photographing this, not filming it.

 

Where I live means a lot of fog this time of year and I can really use this to my creative advantage. There is a fine art photographer called Lucas Zimmermann's who uses long exposure, fog and traffic lights to create eerie yet mesmerising images (see attached jpgs). Is there portable, battery powered lighting systems that could give the same kind of light as a traffic light? I need to be able to position the lights also.

 

I also attach a photograph of the canal and where the man allegedly saw the UFO.

 

Thought I would reach out to see what idea folk might have.

 

Regards,

 

Matt

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I'd probably buy a bunch of powerful LED flashlights and tape/tie them together in a bundle... they'd be daylight-blue though, it would be easy to green them up for cyan but harder to gel them red. You'd want something like a C-stand to hold them up.

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I'd probably buy a bunch of powerful LED flashlights and tape/tie them together in a bundle... they'd be daylight-blue though, it would be easy to green them up for cyan but harder to gel them red. You'd want something like a C-stand to hold them up.

 

Not a bad idea and red wouldn't matter too much. Blue would be preferable and a bunch of 'em should cast enough light. I can always tinker with the colour in Photoshop. Thank you for your reply.

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Is the goal to create it strictly on location with lights?

 

Why not tastefully photoshop them?

 

 

Photoshop is kind of the last resort. Not against using it but would like to see how much I can get done in the camera. Ultimately it might be worth just getting the atmospherics right on location and then applying the extra lighting in Photoshop.

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Or shoot on film and do some cool in-camera double exposure optical fx with lights/cellophane/colours.

This is an area I have yet to explore. Might be worth experimenting with digital first before committing to film. But I do like the double exposure idea.

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You would need to add haze to your location to see a beam of light, so if this is an exterior, you're talking about some large foggers. If this is just for stills, you might be better off creating the beams in an all-black room that has been evenly hazed and then applying them in post to the location.

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You would need to add haze to your location to see a beam of light, so if this is an exterior, you're talking about some large foggers. If this is just for stills, you might be better off creating the beams in an all-black room that has been evenly hazed and then applying them in post to the location.

 

The nights are getting cold and foggy here in the UK and the exterior shots (stills) will be by a canal, so hoping to get something there. However, I do have access to studios and could 'haze out' a room to get good (and that perfect extra-terrestrial blue) beams. The more I think about this the more I am leaning to adding the light beams in post to the location.

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I know there were some dyi experiments on YouTube about attaching LED lights to a drone. If it's open area you might give it a try although probably not entirely legal. But if it's just 15 meters height it should be fine. Even dji mavic can lift around pound payload.

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I have to say those are some very striking photos - makes it clear just how focused traffic signals are, so they're maximally visible from the right direction.

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I have to say those are some very striking photos - makes it clear just how focused traffic signals are, so they're maximally visible from the right direction.

 

probably the reason the project got the green light .. I wonder what stop he was using.. nice amberance ..

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