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Nelson JJ Flores

Light Rotating around An Individual.

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Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone has ever accomplished or done a light rig/gag where a unit would rotate around the talent?

I'm trying to come up with some way of accomplishing it. Does anyone have any tips of how to execute this? Let's say no budget was involved and really barebones. I'll attach a photo of what I'm trying to do. My first though is to create a semi circle around the actor and layout the rough pattern for the path of the light to travel. The only thing that iIm having trouble with is how do I move a light around the subject? It can't be seen in shot, but the composition is a MCU so hiding it won't be too much of a problem. 

I was thinking maybe rigging a light to a skateboard and have someone move with it while also rotating the light at the same time but i feel like thats just to messy. Anyone have a solution a more practical way of doing this?

 

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 10.27.03 AM.png

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If it flies above the top of frame, then it can be a rotating wheel/arm type rig where there is a central point over the actor and an arm of some sort that spins around. I'd use a battery powered LED so you don't have to deal with wrapping power cords.  If below the frame, perhaps a rolling low stand of some sort being pushed around by someone ducking below frame for when the light is behind the actor.

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No budget and really barebones is quite a challenge, but have you thought of doing the opposite? The light rig stays put and the camera, actor, and BG are all on a platform that spins?

It's easier to DIY a spinning platform (aka "lazy susan") than to safely DIY an overhead spinning rig.

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Definitely don't have the gear to do an overhead rig unfortunately or for a whole platform to have the actor rotate along with everything else too. I was thinking about having the lazy susan rig right behind the actors chair and arm out a light but again no budget for c-stands or anything else to rig onto the lazy susan. haha story of our lives. 

I'm thinking the light will be coming from below for convenience. So the stand on wheels is a good idea, we would just have to make sure the light and person doesn't appear. Or maybe a platform with wheels or a smooth surface that can glide. I'm trying to see if a skateboard's wheels are able to loosen and rotate in a way where it can go in a circle.

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I have a small rolling stand you can use/ try. Not sure if it will be as smooth as you want.

 

 

IMG_3209.JPG

Edited by Ed Conley

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I mean, the easiest way to do this is to rent maybe 4 Astera Titan tubes with the wireless box and just program it. Not the cheapest, of course, but the easiest.

The other option, barring that, maybe rig a small battery powered light to the side of a scooter and have a friend ride around in a circle? (they'd have to duck in the back of course)

Rig Light to small RC Car?

instead of making it a circle see if you can do it in a straight line and just pull the light across the the floor from one side to the other?

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Maybe it’s easier to look at the problem from a different direction. What equipment and crew do you have access to currently for your shoot? I mean, if there’s no budget for c-stands how can there be budget for Astera tubes? 

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How long is the shot? And how fast does the light have to move.

If your ceiling is high enough the shot could be accomplished with a length of rope and a small LED light source on the end. Use something light, maybe in a paper lantern - you wan something that won't hurt if it hits you.

Hang the rope above the "talent" swing it round on the rope. You should be able to get a few revolutions before it decays and hits anyone. 

If you need it to move slower you could over crank the camera, same if you need a longer duration, Sure its not that "Hollywood" and the gaffers on the board would say something about safety but I think it would work and if it was a small lamp, in a lantern, its not going to cause any damage if its swings into anything. 

That or with some gaffa tape, bamboo cane and a flash light I could modify a ceiling-fan to achieve the shot

swingball.jpg

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So I found out that he wants the light to move above the character now, not below. What we discussed and kinda figured out was to put a battery powered LED at the end of a light stand, and we will have someone boom the light and rotate around the character.

The shot is basically 18 seconds long, so not to much time will be spent holding the light so it helps. Just have to make sure the light panel isn't spilling everywhere.

I was thinking about spinning a light above the character and shoot at a faster frame rate, but I'm a bit afraid of the rig hitting the actor. Asteras would work if I put them on a chase, but again no money. I'm essentially shooting at a photo studio, and they have like the basic light stands so maybe they'll be durable to hold a panel.

If the light was coming from below, I figured I would attach a rope at the center of a swivel chair and tie a light to the other side, so that way the light can make somewhat of an arc. But anywho, hopefully with this plan we came up with should work out. I'll try and record it if I can and post.  

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

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What is the distance from camera to the farthest light ? (The one directly behind talent). Is it close enough where you could safely menace/boom ? If the menace base is right behind camera, then it won’t have consistent fall off and intensity (weaker and flatter on sides than behind talent) because of varying closeness. Does the fixture have to be directional, or do you care if it’s an Omni/lantern type light? - If its okay to spill it away from talent, then you don’t have to worry about panning the fixture as it swings.

Is the background black? Any set elements? If just the subject, swivel the chair! If table involved, you can build a sturdy platform with 2x4s and plywood, and by having fixed casters the same distance from a center point (talent), it won’t sway when rotating.

Edited by Joseph Tese

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Just the casters might not guarantee a smooth swivel, so they make heavy duty lazy Susan type bearings for the center point (talent) then have swivel casters on the sides to help stabilize and support.

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I did this for the "portrait" shots on a History Channel show last year.  And the setup had to be portable so the solution I came up with (sadly I have no pictures of it) - 

Lazy susan bearing attached to 2 x wood pieces the size of the lazy susan (10" I think - bigger is better).  We bolted a 12" baby nail-on plate to the lower plate facing up and drilled a hole in the upper plate so it passes through.  Then we bolted through the top plate (offset to one side) a 5/8" carriage bolt.  Gobo head and short boom-arm off this to hold the light.  It's important to counterbalance the arm - the lazy susan bearing is meant to work in compression (hence hanging it from the bottom plate) - it won't rotate smoothly if it isn't evenly balanced.  We made a goalpost rig on site to hang this beast and it spun very smoothly.  

If your light is light enough you can baby pin into the base of a cheap video pan/tilt head (manfrotto 501 style) and rig a short boom to the tripod plate BALANCED.  Make sure to safety the hell out of it.  

 

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Hey everyone, so I finally did the shot.

Turns out that what I had in mind completely went out the window. The director was imagining the light movement in a different way that made it simpler. We had the light; instead of rotating around the subject, simply do a 180 degree arc in front of the subject. I'll attach the video. But you'll see how the light moves in the guy's eye reflection.

All I had was just a light bulb in front of our slider setup, dimmed very low, a photo studio light for the backlight, and a lite panel that the director had. I wrapped the lite panel with black wrap to focus it more and attached a piece of muslin to the front because the LED light was casting pretty harsh shadows on the actor's face when the director was moving it around.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, hopefully I can do something similar to what I was asking for before, but with better equipment or approach.

 

 

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