Exploring Light, Discovering Style: A Lighting Tutorial
Part 9, Lesson 7: Light from Within
By Bruce Dorn | March 25, 2011
Concept: Supplemental light sources can be exceptionally effective when hidden within the scene.
Tools: Kino Flo Daylight Single
Action: This situation featured a mix of indirect-daylight and a handful of 10-watt incandescent "flame" globes controlled by a wall dimmer. The juxtaposition of the two very different color balances sounded fun, but the broad disparity in candlepower was a challenge for both eye and sensor.
If only the window light was less intense. Easy! These windows were equipped with interior shutters that functioned just like my beloved theatrical "barn doors." A quick tweak of the shutters' "aperture and angle" made short work of the daylight issue. A test exposure, calculated to hold detail in the white dress, also revealed good legibility around the elaborate wall fixtures.
This created a fine lighting solution for the dress and d©cor, but it was just awful for revealing our girl. The wall fixtures simply couldn't be made bright enough to illuminate the girl without "blowing out" from the excessive intensity. Another instrument must be pressed into service, and a specialized one at thatâ¦
Originally designed for just such difficult circumstances, the Kino Flo Fluorescent Single is ubiquitous on the modern movie set. Automobiles, elevators, even the interiors of space helmets have seen their application. If the confines are tight, the cinematographer routinely reaches for a one of these nifty lamps. Kino's range in size from a minuscule six inches to an imposing eight feet. These units are balanced for either Daylight or Tungsten, and most can be dimmed without the dreaded "off-cycle flicker."
I usually have both a fifteen-inch and a four-foot fixture stashed somewhere nearby, and for this application I called for the latter. The decorative column to Kelly's immediate right proved to be the perfect spot to conceal a tube and its flexible reflector. Resourceful Assistant Paul simply added a warming strip of 1/4 CTO gel, tucked the unit into place, and carefully routed the power cable through the shadows.
These fixtures are controlled by a way-trick remote ballast and are available for either 12V DC or 120V AC applications. I use the twelve-volt instruments exclusively, and mine are powered by a rather chunky sealed-cell deep-cycle marine battery on a purpose-built cart. Smaller packs will certainly suffice, but burn time is shortened in kind.
When working with the luxury of a continuous light source, I usually ignore absolute-intensity and instead watch carefully for a nice "balance" to be achieved. A slight twist of the fluorescent's dimmer was all it took to achieve satisfaction, and a nicely-rendered scene was the result...
Canon 1Ds Mark II - F2.5 @ 1/125 ISO 640
Canon 24 mm F1.4
Kino Flo Daylight Single: 48" 12 VDC
Lee Filters 1/4 CTO Gel
Get articles like this in your inbox: Sign Up