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Transitioning from lights on to lights off: bedroom Night Interior without moonlight (11 replies and 2 comments)

Lambert
2 months ago
Lambert 2 months ago

Hi Roger and members, 

 

I am about to shoot a short film in North Louisiana. I am approaching it in a very naturalistic way. Most of my set ups are planned already and the beautiful locations we have access to are very helpful.

That being said, there is one scene I am really struggling with. In the scene, a couple in their bedroom have a discussion while the lights are on and they then get in bed and turn the lights off (in the same shot). My set up is very simple as I am just motivating my lighting using a couple of practicals in the room. However, once they turn off the lights and get in bed I am not sure how to motivate the light as I want to avoid any moonlight. I'd also like to avoid any streetlight if possible and I am just wondering if there is a way to manage to light the part where they are in bed without having a source coming from outside during the entire scene.

I thought about adding a general white soft ambient light unmotivated but even that I am afraid it will ruin my previous set up while the lights are on. 

I do have in my kit a couple of 800 HMI, Dedolights, 650's, an Arri S60, a litemat and a few 4ft Quasars. 

Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated! 

 

Best,

Lambert 

 

 

Mike
2 months ago
Mike 2 months ago

How about cutting out the discussion scene in full light unless it’s important to the story. I am thinking of gelling your 650 and providing moon light without showing the moon. Rig up some net curtains or vertical blinds against the window and project your “moon” light against that from the outside,or you could project your moon light from behind the beds etc. You will have to play around with it to get it right.

. Then perhaps you could get a silhouette of the couple in bed talking or whatever they want to do. Very simple lighting for a romantic moody scene. Put a small white light on the bedside table, get them into bed and the white light switches off and the blue background switches on. You could use the light from a TV.

Roger is the best person for this scene, I’m sure.

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/3A75BAD9-AE49-431C-ADAD-F9847E7E3AFC.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/105DAB52-BCCD-4A91-88C8-631CA3D7A829.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/D7F55FE2-5171-4A64-ADE1-724CCAAB557F.jpeg
Lambert
2 months ago
Lambert 2 months ago

Thank you for your reply and your input Mike! 

I'd really like to avoid any moonlight. And the tone of the movie is pretty dark overall. 

I am really inspired by Roger's work on No Country For Old Men, especially regarding all the motel/hotel scenes. 

So far I am really thinking of mixing a streetlight using my two HMI with sodium vapor gels and a cookie through the windows. And as my current set up I am thinking of using practicals and my LED's as fill, keeping all my tungsten units white (setting my white balance around 3200k - I am shooting on the Alexa Mini). 

Good reference from No Country for this scene would be these following still I feel. I am also adding photos of the bedroom itself. 

Lambert
2 months ago
Lambert 2 months ago

Sorry for the double post. My references didn't go through in the previous message. 

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Screen-Shot-2019-09-05-at-11.58.07-AM.png
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Screen-Shot-2019-09-05-at-1.20.53-PM.png
simon m
2 months ago
simon m 2 months ago

Not Roger, but I look forward to his answer. What popped in my mind immediately was 1) bathroom light, 2) hallway light, 3) cell phone light, 4) TV light. Don't know if any of those fit in your script. I very much like your streetlight idea.

Lambert
2 months ago
Lambert 2 months ago

There is indeed a bathroom connected to the bedroom. 

Here are photos of the location:

 

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/IMG_9835.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/IMG_9836.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/IMG_9837.jpeg
https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/IMG_9826.jpeg
Roger Deakins
2 months ago
Roger Deakins 2 months ago

Always tricky unless you have some motivation. The bathroom would work as some people leave a light on there. I usually use a street light window source or something similar but it is a stretch that people leave their curtains open when they are in bed. No one has ever yet pointed that out to me though I expect they will now!

I had a similar problem in my last film. I wanted the night to be a full black but there was a section before there was any realistic source. I used a very low level light that was a little confined to one area letting the edges of frame fall off into true black.

Lambert
1 month ago
Lambert 1 month ago

Thank you for your reply Roger! That's really helpful. I am actually glad to see we all struggle with the same problems. 

Since the film is set in the deep countryside of Louisiana, I'll probably go with the bathroom light. In any case, I'll also have this quick conversation with my gaffer. 

If it's helpful to some people I'll post the result in a few weeks.

 

Mike
1 month ago

Look forward to it.

Philip Rdz
1 month ago
Philip Rdz 1 month ago

I have been through this problem as well, what I would do is to diffuse light the best I can and try to and try to backlight it a little bit just as Mike said. The result I imagine would be a very even overall light so you can't tell very well where the source light is and would be a dark mood as you say. Would that still count as moonlight though? The film still I got it from Haunting of Hill House, and I would light it maybe less prominent to what you see in the picture.
Please post pictures of your BTS when you film the scene, I'm curious of how it will turn out.

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Haunting-of-Hill-House-Trailer.png
Lambert
1 month ago

Thank you for the idea! Will definitely post BTS and stills from the scene!

dmullenasc
1 month ago
dmullenasc 1 month ago

Sometimes when I want a dim ambience after the room lights go out and I don’t want to cross-fade the lights, I’ll light the room to a higher stop and have the dim ambient light also on but too low to affect the scene much, but when the room lights go off, I open up the iris to make the dim ambient light more visible — for example, the lit room is at f/2.8 but I open up to f/2 when the lights go out and now I can see dimly into the darkness due to the weak ambient light that was always on.

Lambert
1 month ago
Lambert 1 month ago

Thank you David! That's very smart. I am just always afraid that changing my f-stop mid-take is too noticeable as I feel it's so hard to time it well enough with the light for it to be smooth. Although I do think, if timed well, it could feel organic, just like the human eye would naturally adjust to darkness in the same situation. 

I'll definitely think about it, it seems like it would be a good compromise. 

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