Looking for advice to shoot bathtub scene for MV

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  • #169973

      Hi all hope you’re doing well,

      I’m about to shoot a music video for someone and I’m looking for advice to achieve a similar lighting look to the image attached below, this shot is by Morgan Cooper in his “portrait of a black man” short. I have access to two led light rgb light panels and an aputure MC due to budget constraints, I’m hoping I can get a similar look with my shot. Would love any advice, thanks in advance. 

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    • #170019

        What kind of panels do you have?

        What I would do is this:

        Led Tube with a snapgrid in the length of the bath from above on a boom arm. Or a kino 4ft 2 bank could also work nice. Because most bathrooms are pretty white negativ fill is your biggest friend here. I would make a black tent to block as much light and to avoid light bouncing (from all the white in the room and bath itself).


        With your resources I would do this:


        Mount them next to each other to create a long and narrow light. With black cloth block as much of everything what’s not in the frame. And create some barndoors/grid for the led panels so the light is not spilling that much. When I didn’t have the resources I used black t-shirts, tape, black trashbags and that kind of stuff to create snoots/barndoors/grids.

        Al Duffield

          Interesting, I started writing some thoughts but decided to look up the short that you referenced and found the still above to be quite misleading, I later realised I could one the full image in a new tab and there was the missing information.

          With that said, the back wall is tiled in a dark tile, likely a dark grey that appears semi-matt, which explains the apparent falloff. It may be worth looking at location or to production design to assist with this aspect.

          I agree with Timo’s comments on using a lot of negative files and that the light is likely a Kino / LED equivelant. Though I don’t think it’s a long as the full length of the bath, simply because the top lip and upper eye sockets are in shadow, and the falloff suggests to me that the light is quite close to the talent. leading me to think it’s more likely to be a 2′ kino wand or similar.

          The best advice I can give you however is to just run a test shoot – if you own the gear you’ll be able to get to the ballpark with an inanimate object as stand-in and forgoing the the water. If you’re limited to the 3 lights you have access to, then use them. If you are “gear poor” but “time rich”, you can try:

          • create a strip light, similar to a Kino tube by taping some black plastic to the front of the panel leaving only a slit around the width of a T12 tube. It will get you in the ballpark, particularly if you’re putting a skirt on it.
          • Creating a bubble with some 216 hanging from your panel is an even better emulation of a tube light (where you take the diffusion and allow it to sag in the middle, so that it forms a “U” shape hanging off the panel light.). Though as you’re putting a skirt on the light the bubble is pointless extra work.
          • If you don’t have grip equipment to suspend the light safely over your talent (who’s lying in a bath of water), try lighting the ceiling and use cutters and washing to create the slit of light overhead (though dealing with reduced falloff may not work for you, if it’s that or an unsafe setup using mains power, I know which I’d chose).
          • you could likely even get to stop with just the small MC and a homemade snoot.

          That or just hire a Kino wand kit 🙂


            I agree location is important and grey tiles explain the falloff at the back. If you find a fitting location, one of your panels should be enough to recreate this but you’ll need to test.


              thank you so much for the reply

              i have access to GVM 800D panels (not the most powerful lol) but i get what you’re saying with the negative fill, i have a large 4×4 flag and ill be using that along with some diy setups to cut as much light as i can.


              thanks again for the valuable tips 😀


                Thanks so much for the advice!

                i really like the idea of blocking the light from the panel to create a small slit of ‘tube’, will def implement that, but for now i don’t have proper gear to rig the light overhead so ill either use a light stand setup or try to get the aputure MC as close as i can while maintaining the look.

                thanks again for the valuable tips sir! 😀

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