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A golden pool of light! (6 replies and 23 comments)

sheriftolba
5 months ago
sheriftolba 5 months ago

Hello Sir Roger,

What would be the best approach for creating a pool of warm golden light to light a dance performance? It's a single performer but I need her to be lit in a black limbo kind of scenario.

The space is a dance studio that is around 10 meters long and 5 meters wide so I'm having trouble deciding how to light her and also getting everything else to fall to black.

Everyone else is of course welcome to let me know their ideas or suggestions.

I'm thinking either China Balls or a ring light, what do you think?

I also think I should always center frame her even in close ups so I can vignette the frame to help create the black limbo and pan the image later in post as I will be shooting in 4k and delivering in 1080p.

dmullenasc
5 months ago
dmullenasc 5 months ago

Are the walls black?

sheriftolba
5 months ago

No they're unfortunately white.
What do you think I should do?

dmullenasc
5 months ago

Cover them neatly in black?

sheriftolba
5 months ago

The thing is I'm all alone in this project so I hoped to find a lighting plan that wouldn't need me to cover walls in black, but I guess it's going to make it a lot easier if I did.
What about the lighting though? What's the best and least expensive solution?
Thank you so much David!

sheriftolba
5 months ago

To make it easier for you to visualize what I want, in BR2049 the scene in Anna's lab where she's rotating the cake, that's the color and exposure I need.

sheriftolba
5 months ago
sheriftolba 5 months ago

I've done a camera test and I graded it in post, this is what I'm going after, but since this is only a close up of a hand I'm wondering how it will work on full body wide shots and mediums.

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Hands_TEST_1.1.1.jpg
hank silver
5 months ago
hank silver 5 months ago

How hard do you want the light to be? Based upon your reference image I'd consider using a china ball or softbox or whatever with skirts on the sides to reduce the spill.

This guy made a very simple and cost-effective version of the kind of thing I mean, he's bouncing light into it but you get the idea: https://youtu.be/0zAmmRJpm2M »

sheriftolba
5 months ago

Yes the reference image is done using a china ball so that's exactly the hardness I'm seeking, I'll give it a watch and thank you so much!

Al Duffield
5 months ago
Al Duffield 5 months ago

As David has said your room is likely too small to have white walls fall to black if you’re shooting a wide, particularly if you’ve got a somewhat reflective or light floor. On a budget and without crew I’d suggest buying some black builders drop sheet and taping it to the walls. It’s not perfect but it’s so cheap that it’s practically free and so light that you can get away with using masking tape to save yourself touching up the paint afterwards.

for the pool of light itself, if the action is static (and assuming the ceiling is somewhat low, you could get a pancake (1kw tungsten triolit) with skirt and rig it on some form of boom setup if there’s no mounting points from the ceiling. If you need more space you could build yourself a soft box with 6x6 or larger frames and a narrow (maybe 40 degrees) egg-crate to keep the profile low (skirts on bigger soft boxes require a decent amount of ceiling height). 

but as I’m sure you know, you need distance from the source for the level to fall to black and your space is quite small, so large soft boxes likely won’t give you enough space for the walls to fall to a natural black.

Al Duffield
5 months ago

Sorry I just realised that I made an assumption that you wanted to top light it. Probably from the description of a “pool” of light. But of course you can have the dancer in a sea of black by back lighting, edge lighting or even you could build a ring light and shoot through it. All, and many more could be setup to fall to black.

sheriftolba
5 months ago

Your assumptions are actually all true haha, I guess I'll have to cover the walls for a start so thank you for that.

dmullenasc
5 months ago
dmullenasc 5 months ago

It's easier to flag a harder light than a softer light but whatever you choose, it has to be flagged off of the walls so you'd have to stand at the walls and get eye-level with the bottom of the wall to see if you can see the light source from where you are, if so, that means the light is hitting the wall.

But even if you completely flag the direct light off of the walls, they will be lit by ambient bounce from the floor and off of the subject.  So the smaller the pool of light is, the less floor bounce there will be.

But even then, it's pretty hard to make a white room into a true black limbo. 

Al Duffield
5 months ago

Good point, again me and my damn assumptions, here I was assuming he wanted softer light, when he didn’t say. I guess that’s why they pay you the big bucks 🙂

dmullenasc
5 months ago

He mentioned a ring of paper lanterns so you're not wrong to think soft light, it's just that they'd need a deep (low-hanging) shirt surrounding the ring to keep all the light off of the walls, which probably means hanging them higher to get out of the frame. Plus you'd need a big skirt to create any sort of pool effect on the floor from such a soft light.

sheriftolba
5 months ago

Okay so covering the walls is not a choice now I'll have to do it, what about the fixture itself? Are paper lanterns good for something like that?
What if I take some paper lanterns and bundle them together, surround them with a skirt from top to sides?

dmullenasc
5 months ago

If the skirt is long enough so that from the point of view of the bottom of the walls you can’t see the paper lanterns.

Al Duffield
5 months ago

the issue I always have with paper lanterns as top lights is that they're designed to hang in a way that allows hard light to pull from the bottom, so using a bunch of them will give you a lot of overlapping shadows.

dmullenasc
5 months ago

You can slip a little square of diffusion into the hole at the bottom of a paper lantern to get rid of the hard leak straight down. But one issue is that even if you flag all of the direct light off of the walls, from the point of view of the white walls, they are seeing the lit floor, which means they are being lit by the floor -- so the larger an area you cover, the more light is going to be bouncing off of the floor and onto the walls.

sheriftolba
5 months ago

So what I get from this is this, I have to cover the walls with black fabric and use skirts on my source.
I have no real issue if the light is visible on the ground I just need the background to be black, the floor is not an issue.
Am I getting this right?

dmullenasc
5 months ago

I’m saying that the bounce off of the floor will also light the walls, so the larger the pool of light is, the more the floor acts like a light source.

dmullenasc
5 months ago

If the walls are actually black then the skirting and floor bounce is less critical though some skirting is still necessary for a soft light.

sheriftolba
5 months ago

That's great so I'll be blacking the walls then, I will also skirt for the soft light!

sheriftolba
5 months ago

I'll bundle the lanterns together and skirt them, I'll show you here when I'm done hopefully.

Al Duffield
5 months ago

The only other thing I’d add for you to consider is the transition between floor and wall. Let’s make an extreme example to highlight the issue: imagine a white floor and white walls. You black out the white walls to black but from the perspective of the camera you still have a hard line transition between the floor and the walls. it’s the reason it’s very hard to have things fall naturally to black in small spaces. The more you can do to make the pool small in comparison with the size of the room, the more room there will be for the light levels to naturally fall away.

It would be an interesting production design experiment to physically paint a gradient into the room, floor and all. If makeup artists can give a sense of chaos abs lighting using makeup it stands to reason it would work on a room too. David’s examples from “Mud” or was it “Manure” are amazing examples of adding false depth, light and shadow to what was essentially a white studio before the paining was done.

Al Duffield
5 months ago

A sense of shape and light.. *

sheriftolba
4 months ago
sheriftolba 4 months ago

So I've just finished the shoot yesterday and I started testing some of the compositions I'm going after for the music video.

Here are two screen caps that I want your opinion on. Everyone is also welcome to say what they think.

Thank you all for the help I really appreciate it.

 

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Comp_Test_2_3.1.1.jpg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Comp_Test_3.1.5.jpg
hank silver
4 months ago

Which setup did you use in the end?

sheriftolba
4 months ago

I blacked out the walls then used an LED spotlight head with a focusing mount to create a not so sharp pool of light and I used one china ball to fill since using china balls as the key was very hard to control. I used an oval diffuser in front of the head for the close ups. I also used atmos.
I had to adjust my approach on the day but luckily I had rented everything I thought I might need and they all worked as I imagined.
The key head was mounted at a high angle and I sometimes had to move it to get upstage lighting when I needed, also Silhouettes.
I'll share the whole video when I'm done editing it.

hank silver
4 months ago

Some behind the scenes photos would be cool if you have any! Looking forward to seeing the finished video.

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