Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam


I have a
One of the scenes in the current movie takes place at night, outside. One character carries a flashlight, is attacked and drops it on the ground (we can even assume it is extinguished).
A fight ensues, some dialogue, and more character stuff.

My dilemma is that if it's dark enough that it needs a flashlight to see, how in the hell do I light it so that the camera can actually see the fight scene and the resulting dialogue?

One thought that I had is the "deep blue cheat", where there is a wash of really deep blue light to represent "night". I can intersperse this with patches of light representing a streetlight through the trees, so the fight will end up being a bit stylized, but I can actually motivate some fairly keen light on the actors in the post-fight dialogue.

The problem is the deep blue wash. I don't have a light that can handle the amount of light that I'd need to push through a filter to get the background light enough to be seen on camera as anything other than a muddy shadow.

Normally, an HMI is used for this kind of thing. HMIs are really cool lights, and I wish I had a bunch of 'em. Figure one 1200-watt HMI has the equivalent light output of a 6000-watt quartz light.

Of course, they run a little over $4000 new. I could probably find a used one on ebay for $2500-3000. I could also rent one for about $120/day.

That would be the sound of my wallet cying.

So another option would be to use a 1000-watt metal halide. These are the kind of grow lights that you use to grow marijuana hydroponically, or at least one kind. Really bright, still have to run the light through a filter, but probably bright enough to kick out enough light. The problem is that the light is really raw, there's no fixture to go with it-- it's just a bare bulb and reflector. Also there is the potential problem of flicker, since the ballast is magnetic and runs off of 60 Hz power.
Runs probably $400 new. None used, no rental.

The other option might be to rig up a fog machine or six and make a batch of chillers to make some low-lying fog. This would effectively brighten up the background so the blue wash would be more effective, making the fight more of a series of silhouettes with highlights. Unfortunately that is really dependent on there being no wind at all.

This will be interesting.
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