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House MD Look?


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Was watching season 5 of this show, shot by Gale Tattersall, and was amazed with these establishing shots for a psych ward waiting room.

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I can gather how they're backlighting the caged windows (no idea of what kind of fixture), but I can't figure out how they get this softly lit grungy greenish look in the lower mid tones. Does anyone have any ideas on the lighting breakdown?

Thanks to answerers.

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The lighting units are probably large fresnels, judging by the sharp shadows of the grates on the back wall. Mostly likely something like a row of tungsten 10Ks or T12s. The color comes from gels. 

Re: color

I think the green tones that you’re perceiving in the shadows are probably a mix of the colored lighting (yellow sodium vapor and blue moonlight), the color of the walls and floor tiles (beige?), and the color of the chairs. 

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1 hour ago, Satsuki Murashige said:

The lighting units are probably large fresnels, judging by the sharp shadows of the grates on the back wall. Mostly likely something like a row of tungsten 10Ks or T12s. The color comes from gels. 

Re: color

I think the green tones that you’re perceiving in the shadows are probably a mix of the colored lighting (yellow sodium vapor and blue moonlight), the color of the walls and floor tiles (beige?), and the color of the chairs. 

How do you reckon the fill is being achieved? Bounce? Or a ton of soft lights set to be 2-3 stops lower than the blasting tungsten? I'm admittedly far more curious with how the shadows are filled.

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53 minutes ago, Max Field said:

How do you reckon the fill is being achieved? Bounce? Or a ton of soft lights set to be 2-3 stops lower than the blasting tungsten? I'm admittedly far more curious with how the shadows are filled.

I don’t think there’s any frontal fill, it’s a very wide shot and the foreground is almost black. And I don’t think there’s any toppy fill, as there seems to be a hard ceiling on at least the back half of the set and the only light falling on the chandeliers and ceiling fan is coming from the two opposing windows. There also aren’t any shadows or reflections on the floor that would indicate a large toppy source.

There is a fairly strong blue light coming from a window source on camera right, lighting the foreground man and the chairs that might be perceived as fill since it is opposite the window light.

And there might be a bit of atmosphere going on as well, which will have a similar effect to adding a small amount of fill light in the mid and deep background. 

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8 hours ago, Max Field said:

 I'm admittedly far more curious with how the shadows are filled.

There's not always a need to fill shadows. When you have large sources coming in through large windows, they bounce around everywhere in the room, creating their own fill. Sometimes you want to control that with negative fill, other times you want to use it.

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