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The Big 'Color Gel' Topic (9 replies and 14 comments)

johandijkstra
7 years ago
johandijkstra 7 years ago

Dear Mr. Deakins and all the (new) forum members,

I know that your lightning style is extremely advanced in simplicity. Now I'm wondering; do you often use effect color gels like 'steelgreen', 'straw' and 'cornfield', or do you mostly stick to regular CTO CTB corrections? And in which situation would you use an effect color?
Thank you for sharing you're taste and knowledge!!

Maybe this is a nice place for all the forum members to share your favorites and examples in gel usage!

Roger Deakins
7 years ago
Roger Deakins 7 years ago

I do use a variety of colored gels but it all depends on circumstances. The bar scene in 'Sicario' demanded a whole range of colored gels, for instance, but for the most part I do stick with correction filters as most of the time I am dealing with naturalism.

johandijkstra
7 years ago
johandijkstra 7 years ago

So you're tungsten key lights are mostly just 'tungsten' and a moonlight (which you dint use in Sicario) is not a 'steelgreen' or 'marine blue' but just a clean daylight color tone? 

And do you have favorite subtle effect gels that you often use?

Thanks!

Roger Deakins
7 years ago
Roger Deakins 7 years ago

I usually use an HMI source for 'moonlight' and add 1/2 Blue to the lamps. 

I use a bastard amber quite a bit as well as a light pink.

johandijkstra
7 years ago
johandijkstra 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and workflow!
Do you shoot at 3.2K when using a HMI and 1/2 CTB?

I personally never used 'bastard amber' and 'light pink'. Do they work well with skin tones?

johandijkstra
7 years ago
johandijkstra 7 years ago

There is sadly not always budget on my projects to have a gaffer on set. So for the easy things I do it myself. I mostly worked with CTO and CTB, en last year I used 'steelgreen' and 'cornfield' a lot.
I now picked some gells that I want to carry with my all the time (see attached file), what do you think of my choice?

Jacob Sacks-Jones
7 years ago

That PDF - did you make it or is there some Lee app that generates it for you? Has the feeling it might have been generated?

Jacob Sacks-Jones
7 years ago

Ah got it - you can save things to a list on the website and export as a PDF from there. That's useful!

johandijkstra
7 years ago

Exactly!

For those who want to know, this is the URL:
http://www.leefilters.com/lighting/colour-list.html»
It's a really handy tool to pick and store gells for a specific project, and share those with you're gaffer etc.

Roger Deakins
7 years ago
Roger Deakins 7 years ago

That is a good selection. I have a similar set to mimic sodium lighting and the warmth of sunlight. I have not used the greens in the way that you have and I must look into that. 

johandijkstra
7 years ago

Mr. Deakins,
In the Sodium light subject; which ones do you prefer?
The Low, or High Pressure Sodium? I know the Low Pressures have a very low CRI, does the Alexa sensor handle that well?

johandijkstra
7 years ago
johandijkstra 7 years ago

Thanks a lot for watching!
I personally never used 'bastard amber' and 'light pink', the ones that you prefer.
Do they work well with skin tones?

sashamoric
7 years ago

Great link to the Gels very useful. I sometimes carry a full set of the Storaro Gels Set.

http://www.filmtools.com/rosco-storaro-series-gel-sheet-kit.html»

johandijkstra
7 years ago

Nice one! Thanks.
These are quite strong effect filters right?
Do you have a visual link where you used them?

sashamoric
7 years ago

I shot about 30 percent of a film called The Editor. They brought me in for the studio stuff and all the scenes with the bigger name actors. They ran out of cash after my 13 days of shooting and they finished off the film themselves. The Film was a giallo that called for a ton of colours I used the gels a ton in that film. I will put up some reference.

johandijkstra
7 years ago

Great thanks, I'm very excited to see some visuals!

Jacob Sacks-Jones
7 years ago
Jacob Sacks-Jones 7 years ago

Johan that gel PDF you shared is really interesting. My gaffer and I just have a moderate selection of gels that we pick up here and there and carry with us from project to project because unless there is a very specific need I don't like to spend much of the budget buying in gels. So I tend to keep it simple, plain old white diffusion, CTO, CTS and if I can't avoid it CTB. If we do colours, I'll use the closest match we have from our selection of bits and pieces.

I've started using various Ambers for sunsets and in place of sodium (just because I don't have it to hand), which is really lovely. Golden or Medium. I also like to use a (light) Straw to warm up HMIs for certain types of sunlight.

For moonlight I might put CTB on an HMI, but I also like to just dim them down for control (and if losing the power isn't a huge issue).

One shoot we had some interiors where the directors wanted a bit of a surreal, uncomfortable feeling (a particular point of reference was that coloured lighting effect in the bedroom, towards the end of Vertigo). For that we brought in a purple and a turquoise/green (I forget which exactly) and effectively replaced tungsten with purple and daylights/blues with the green, which created quite an interesting look.

johandijkstra
7 years ago

You indeed can create a nice sodium effect with all kind of warm gels, it works lovely! Only when you want to match it with practicals it can be difficult to hit the same tone (in my experience). I use the high pressure and urban sodium's the most. The Lo sodium one is gorgeous to, but the gel is so dark you lose a lot of stops!Do you have stills of the scene you refer to?
I look forward to see the effect your created there!

Jacob Sacks-Jones
7 years ago

I have one (which is somewhat inexpertly graded by myself because we hadn't got the final grade finished by then): http://tinitefilms.com/films/sally.jpg» - it was fun, we gelled practicals purple too. (Also, side note - we were working in the smallest location I've ever used, it was a tiny studio bedroom maybe about 3 metres by 3, at the most with no way of hanging lights!!)

I think with practicals you can sometimes get away with slight colour differences if the practical itself isn't brightly illuminating any part of the scene so the difference is just between the practical itself and the light you're faking in. I've also had success with mixing slightly different tungsten colour temperatures, where you're just bumping up a practical with a well positioned diffused Kino. Any major differences though, like with very orange sodium lamps and you give yourself away of course.

johandijkstra
7 years ago

Nice, I really like the balance between the magenta and the green! And the CRI quality is still high enough to feel the true skin tones far away.

And you're true about the practical matching. The only think in my opinion is that Sodium lights like the ones on the streets are mostly so bright that you have to fit in perfectly. Its difficult to overrule those.

Jacob Sacks-Jones
7 years ago

Yeah that's true - in those cases though you can often on modern digital cameras just roll with the available light, potentially adding a little fill etc. If you do need to match them you need to be pretty spot on.

Roger Deakins
7 years ago
Roger Deakins 7 years ago

I will sometimes use an extra sodium light to boost an existing practical sodium source but there are so many variables that it can be hard to match the colour this way as well. If the lamps are new it can work.

Jacob Sacks-Jones
7 years ago

Roger do you use a colour meter or judge it by eye or the monitor?

johandijkstra
7 years ago

I'm also curious Jacob Sacks-Jones!
So if i get you right, you use true sodium's to boost practical sodiums? And when do you decide to use this option or use sodium emulating gels?

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