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Justin Oakley

Interior bedroom—lighting

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This day scene shows what I'm dealing with when lighting through that window, there's a fire escape with staircase and a 10' drop below:

maisel18.jpg

maisel19.jpg

I liked how this day scene turned out, we covered the top of the air shaft set with a diffusion frame and put blue on a 5K hitting it for a cold skylight effect, then on the opposite brick wall just above the frame, we put two trombone arms and hung two 1K spot PARCAN's to hit the two halves of the window as a backlight. And the shot starts out panned to the left into the room, which was only lit by the glow of the PARCANs hitting the window shade and bouncing off of the floor and window frames. By the time they get to the window, they are just filled in with all the ambient bounce from the backlight.

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I think the light falling on the desk, with the chair casting a shadow on it, adds depth and creates realism. The reason why I remembered this shot is because I paused to look at it, it was lit so beautifully. And then I had to try and figure out how it was actually lit. It's effective way of creating two looks. And even if the room didn't get warmer as the door opens, that might work for a story or for a character as well, keeping the room cold.

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51 minutes ago, David Mullen ASC said:

This day scene shows what I'm dealing with when lighting through that window, there's a fire escape with staircase and a 10' drop below:

maisel18.jpg

maisel19.jpg

I liked how this day scene turned out, we covered the top of the air shaft set with a diffusion frame and put blue on a 5K hitting it for a cold skylight effect, then on the opposite brick wall just above the frame, we put two trombone arms and hung two 1K spot PARCAN's to hit the two halves of the window as a backlight. And the shot starts out panned to the left into the room, which was only lit by the glow of the PARCANs hitting the window shade and bouncing off of the floor and window frames. By the time they get to the window, they are just filled in with all the ambient bounce from the backlight.

omg...this is absolutely stunning piece of imagery ! it feels sooo fresh and lovely !

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2 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

This day scene shows what I'm dealing with when lighting through that window, there's a fire escape with staircase and a 10' drop below:

maisel18.jpg

maisel19.jpg

I liked how this day scene turned out, we covered the top of the air shaft set with a diffusion frame and put blue on a 5K hitting it for a cold skylight effect, then on the opposite brick wall just above the frame, we put two trombone arms and hung two 1K spot PARCAN's to hit the two halves of the window as a backlight. And the shot starts out panned to the left into the room, which was only lit by the glow of the PARCANs hitting the window shade and bouncing off of the floor and window frames. By the time they get to the window, they are just filled in with all the ambient bounce from the backlight.

Is there also fake snow falling outside the window? Really helps sell it. It does not look like a stage set at all. Were you able to get steamed breath in this scene as well? It’s been awhile since I’ve watched Season 1.

Loved the subtle warm/cool thing you had going in this scene, believably realistic and also romantically stylized. I guess that sums up the show as well.

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3 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

This day scene shows what I'm dealing with when lighting through that window, there's a fire escape with staircase and a 10' drop below:

maisel18.jpg

maisel19.jpg

I liked how this day scene turned out, we covered the top of the air shaft set with a diffusion frame and put blue on a 5K hitting it for a cold skylight effect, then on the opposite brick wall just above the frame, we put two trombone arms and hung two 1K spot PARCAN's to hit the two halves of the window as a backlight. And the shot starts out panned to the left into the room, which was only lit by the glow of the PARCANs hitting the window shade and bouncing off of the floor and window frames. By the time they get to the window, they are just filled in with all the ambient bounce from the backlight.

I just want to say thanks to you, and everybody here really. It’s cool that you’re even bothering to take the time to share your experience and methods with me...and my silly thread about lighting a small bedroom with my three cheap-ish lights. 
 

There’s no reason why you should feel obliged to even entertain such questions. But you do. And I appreciate that. 

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Never think that what you are doing with your small lights is "silly", you are where we all were at some point. And if you are clever, there's no reason why you can't create something interesting with what you have. And the skills you develop now will carry through the rest of your career. For years, I shot my short films with just one 650w lamp I owned plus reflector dishes with photoflood bulbs, and some paper lanterns.

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58 minutes ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Is there also fake snow falling outside the window? 

 

That episode was set near Christmas but shot in August (!) so we were doing all sorts of tricks to add snow inside and outside, sometimes real and sometimes in post. I don't remember here if the light snow was post or on set, but any visible breath would have been done in post.

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On 8/22/2020 at 5:54 PM, David Mullen ASC said:

Yes, I had a scene with a bed in the foreground that wasn't near the window but I did a soft backlight from above using a half-blue Litemat 2L, plus some half-blue light raking through the window across the background. Next to the Litemat 2L above was a second softlight, maybe a tungsten light in a long skinny Chimera, that dimmed up when the door to the kitchen in the background opened to suggest the room got brighter from the spill from the next room:

maisel16.jpg

maisel17.jpg

I still remember this scene because you could see her and her performance, on top of being lit beautifully!!!. 

I'm so tired of not being able to see the actors / actresses in "night scenes" in movies / tv series that this scene was pretty inspiring!.

 

I think that we all cinematographers (me included of course) fall into the trap at some stage of trying to make things dark when 99% of the times there is no reason as to why not to see the face of the character.
Making the decision to light somebody's face in a night scene feels extremely courageous sometimes. 

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Hello again guys.

sorry to kind of drag this thing out. So here’s what I’m working with. I’m thinking we may have to do this earlier in the day as it doesn’t get dark until around 8ish. ...The kid and whatnot. 

as mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of the blue “moonlight” day for night stuff. But I’m not sure I have a choice.

so I used the daylight through the window. I put a bunch of diffusion on the window outside (it could probably use more). I then cooled the temp in camera and used a full cto on the 120d ‘hallway light’.

I did as Mr. Mullen suggested and flagged the light from the hallway using the doorway as a topper, since it’s kind of a tight spot and I couldn’t fit a flag in. 
 

I then used a handheld, dimmable, bi-color, tubular light and wrapped it with some cinefoil to focus it on the subject/bed. It was suspended overhead using a couple pieces of fishing line, taped to the ceiling with gaff tape. 
 

does this work or nah? Given what I have to work with.
If so, I think I can bring the window down a bit in Resolve using some sort of mask. And I can probably lift the shadows up a smidge? I don’t know...

D93DC52D-50D7-4004-AF96-6B7694BC6E2C.jpeg

B1AD045D-645F-4858-9002-19BD5ACB9196.jpeg

Edited by Justin Oakley

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I think the hallway slash has to be brighter and warmer.

Maybe the blue spot over the bed could be a tiny bit brighter, just to draw your eye to the person.

A dim ceiling bounce could add ambience, the question is whether you just want it when the door opens, so a warm ambience that fades up with the door, or a cold ambience that is always on. I wouldn't try lifting things in post, that just invites noise.  Could you put a gap in the center of the curtain with black beyond in a tent so that you can get a slash of moonlight on the headboard?

But what you'd done seems good if you can get the hallway slash a bit brighter and warmer, but it depends on how the person standing over the bed will be lit. If you can shift the camera to the left so that the person standing over the bed is silhouette against the curtain, that would work. Otherwise if they are left of the curtain and only lit from the bottom half by the slash, if the curtain had a gap, you could get an edge light on the back of their head.

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8 minutes ago, David Mullen ASC said:

I think the hallway slash has to be brighter and warmer.

Maybe the blue spot over the bed could be a tiny bit brighter, just to draw your eye to the person.

A dim ceiling bounce could add ambience, the question is whether you just want it when the door opens, so a warm ambience that fades up with the door, or a cold ambience that is always on. I wouldn't try lifting things in post, that just invites noise.  Could you put a gap in the center of the curtain with black beyond in a tent so that you can get a slash of moonlight on the headboard?

But what you'd done seems good if you can get the hallway slash a bit brighter and warmer, but it depends on how the person standing over the bed will be lit. If you can shift the camera to the left so that the person standing over the bed is silhouette against the curtain, that would work. Otherwise if they are left of the curtain and only lit from the bottom half by the slash, if the curtain had a gap, you could get an edge light on the back of their head.

Yes! Move the camera to the left for sure. I just kind of stuck the camera into the doorway for the purposes of testing this out. 16mm lens. So you don’t think that window will be too harsh in backlighting the kid? 

As for the hallway light, it was maxed out. The cto brought the intensity down I’m sure...not sure how many stops. And I don’t own a meter so I don’t really have a way to quantify it. Metering is another journey I’ve decided to take and try to learn in recent months. 

Any idea what I could do to bring it up? Maybe a power window on the slash of hallway light and bring the gain up? 

 

 

 

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If the gel is cutting down the intensity of the hallway light, use a lighter orange gel and make the window light bluer and then color balance the camera warmer to compensate. 

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8 hours ago, David Mullen ASC said:

If the gel is cutting down the intensity of the hallway light, use a lighter orange gel and make the window light bluer and then color balance the camera warmer to compensate. 

Ok. Any idea how I can make the window bluer? I only have CTOs and CTBs that are smaller. They are Lee gels—1/4 to full. I think They’re like 12” x 12”...maybe a little bigger. I don’t have huge rolls of them or anything. 

another advantage of filming at night I guess. I could actually shoot light into the window from the outside with a blue gel on just the light. 

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If you can't get the windows bluer so you can shift the white balance warmer for the hallway then don't worry about it. Just get the hallway light brighter, maybe switch the full CTO to 1/4 CTO. You've talked about windowing and brighting an area in post, you're better off windowing and shifting the color than making it brighter (though color and luminance are connected.)

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You can also order larger gel sheets and rolls that will cover the windows. Not sure if you live near a G&E rental house, but they often are throwing away large used rolls of gels, so you can get them for free. If not, then Filmtools and B&H should have them.

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1 hour ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

You can also order larger gel sheets and rolls that will cover the windows. Not sure if you live near a G&E rental house, but they often are throwing away large used rolls of gels, so you can get them for free. If not, then Filmtools and B&H should have them.

I’ll have to look into that. I recently tried looking into such places in my state, searching for old grip equipment—C stands, combos, maybe some clamps, etc. I even reached out to Screen Gems studios not too far from me, and the rep said they didn’t have any old stuff they were getting rid of. 
 

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1 hour ago, David Mullen ASC said:

If you can't get the windows bluer so you can shift the white balance warmer for the hallway then don't worry about it. Just get the hallway light brighter, maybe switch the full CTO to 1/4 CTO. You've talked about windowing and brighting an area in post, you're better off windowing and shifting the color than making it brighter (though color and luminance are connected.)

Copy that. I’ll give that a go.

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Not exactly a moonlight effect, but I found this frame from my student days where I put Full Blue gel on a window with daylight coming thru, while leaving the camera at 3200K (7218 color negative film). I always liked that 'double blue' look.

397608857_Blue_00002copy.jpg.c2f66a4490df642bbb6707c7e080dfbc.jpg

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9 minutes ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

Not exactly a moonlight effect, but I found this frame from my student days where I put Full Blue gel on a window with daylight coming thru, while leaving the camera at 3200K (7218 color negative film). I always liked that 'double blue' look.

397608857_Blue_00002copy.jpg.c2f66a4490df642bbb6707c7e080dfbc.jpg

Nice. 
 

I’m thinking maybe I should get some of these

Edited by Justin Oakley

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On 8/19/2020 at 3:04 AM, David Mullen ASC said:

Generally I wouldn't shoot a night scene during the day if the source of light in the scene had to come from the window -- unless I could build a pretty big tent outside the window. I suppose you could make a leaning tent against the window and let daylight leak in from underneath and uplight the blinds as if there were a lower source and the room was on a higher floor.

If you are using an ISO setting and gamma setting that gives you a good noise and black level, then there is no real reason to over-light and darken in post, besides, just dropping the ISO setting a little is the same thing.  

The biggest problem I see here is just that it is very hard to do dark scenes in a white or off-white room, the degree of underexposure that looks right for the walls is too much for the people or action unless you want that stuff to be almost silhouette. Which means that if you can't paint the walls, you need to work more on flagging your light, another reason to light through the windows at night so that the window frame acts as a natural flag, plus it is always nice to see where the light is coming from.

Even in your lighting set-up, if you had a 4'x4' floppy flag (or something more like 3'x6' vertical) to cut the bounce light off of the wall to the left of the window so that it only hit the bed and the wall behind the headboard, that would have been better.

Sir,

With painting walls for a scene such as this do you have a recommendation on what paint you should use? Something such as a middle grey or a little darker?

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Anything darker than white helps! I wouldn't go darker than middle gray though because then you have the opposite problem of them falling to black too quickly.

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I grew up shooting awful short films in people's bedrooms and I have a hatred of white or cream walls that borders on the irrational.

Here are things where I got more control than that and went way darker than mid grey.

Navy blue (set walls painted to my spec):

Meena_fierce_clean.thumb.jpg.fb5838f89108fb6f8ddd9a4b719e08bf.jpg

Drapes (I chose from a pile of old curtains):

Individuals.Still001.thumb.jpg.b3c7e7b70b8441ddb76454b84cac716d.jpg

Black, but really aerial effect of lighting (that's what the studio had):

156213856_ReelC.Still003.thumb.jpg.df4c5cbefc888b08b2576f71f1008b7e.jpg

 

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