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Micah Van Hove

Lighting a large Movie Theater with a few small fixtures

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Posted (edited)

Hey all,


Trying to front-light an audience from a stage shooting 400iso at f/2.8 with 5-6 ~1k powered lights (LED and Tungsten). Should I just put up a large diffusion frame and shoot all my lights through?


House lights are dimmable.


Edited by Micah Van Hove

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OK, if its a stage, then a diffusion frame with the lights behind is a good idea, but a large bounce would work too. Youd have more room if you used the diffusion frame with the lights behind on stage especially if youll have people waving flags or panning lights to create some movement and flicker.

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What is the setting of this scene? Is there an audience watching a play from the darkened theater?


If so, perhaps you could place a couple of your 1K tungsten lights on the upper balcony to back light the audience. Then use a large diffusion or even a bounce to suggest the spill coming from the stage that will darkly light your audience faces.


I would be careful with significant soft lighting here as it will also light the white painted walls and possibly destroy the "mood". It may be necessary to recreate the stage lighting spill with a more controllable source than a bounce or soft frame for your wide shots. You can then relight your closeups with soft sources closer to the people in the close up shots.


As a final touch, you can experiment with dimming the house lights and see if that helps or hurts the effect you are after.


Also, if there is a theatrical spot light in the back of the theater, you might want to experiment with that also, possibly adding a little haze to get the effect of the spot light... if that suits the scene of course :)

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