On an upcoming project that I am photographing I want to create a silvery moonlight for an interior bedroom scene. The film is set in the 1940's. I will be using 5279 Vision 500T. I am not employing any ENR or bypass on this project. The moonlight needs to fill the room with an almost metallic silver illumination. We are still trying to keep a period look to the picture but want to give it a nudge in a different direction for a few scenes.
One thought was to use HMI's, remove the UV and add a light straw to take out some blue. Someone else also suggested bouncing it off of metalic mylar, not to color the light but maybe the hard bounce would help add to the look.
Bouncing off of Mylar is a really good idea, I'd try just a straight mirror, too. In the past used HMI with 1/4 or 1/2 plus green and 3/4 CTO (for tungsten film) - when you time out the green, it creates a slightly desaturated color that was very pleasing. I'm not a big fan of blue moonlight and the mixture of the 1/4 blue HMI and pulling out the green creates a very nice silvery look that I've been happy with. I wish I could remember where I got this idea from so I could lend proper credit... But regardless, whoever you are - thanks. It's worked like a charm.
All the best,
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA
Don't remove the UV protection on an HMI under any circumstances. You'll cook yourself, and your actors. If you mean getting a clear lens, rather than a fresnel that's fine, however the UV radiation coming out that head, unfiltered, can cause serious eye and skin damage, in a very, very short period of time. Less than 30 seconds can give you a nice sunburn, and leave your eyes permanently damaged.
Gels,etc will NOT correct this. Isuggest you talk to your rental house/supplier before attempting anything of that nature.
Shai Vera Electric
I've never done this, but always wanted to try it for a moonlight look: shoot on B&W and add a touch of blue in the transfer or timing (on color stock). I'd also work with the art dept. to change/ color set dressings to desaturate or add silvery or gray tones. Since moonlight hasn't got the luminance level to make our eyes' color receptors kick in (except for a little blue reception), it seems to make sense to replicate it mainly in gray tones with a touch of blue added.
Also, if you set up yours shots to use the "moonlight" as a rim or back light, that will help the silvery look a lot.
Rob Lindsay Nashville DP
It strikes me, at this late hour, that the suggestions you are getting will result in a white light, rather than silver. I would suggest that white light might not quite be what you are after. My foggy thoughts lead me to the possibility of creating the silvery look with the use of a light dusting of glitter throughout the set. In my mind's eye, I can envision "silvery" sets, but not "silvery" light.
>...for a moonlight look: shoot on B&W and add a touch of blue in the transfer or >timing... Since moonlight hasn't got the luminance level to make our eyes' color >receptors kick in (except for a little blue...), it seems to make sense to replicate it >mainly in gray tones with a touch of blue added.
Perceptually, this makes a great deal of sense. Our night vision, because of the distribution of our rods and cones on the retina and their sensitivity to light, is noticeably less saturated and biased towards than our vision under full illumination. In addition, our night vision is slightly less detailed (sharp) than our vision under full illumination.
>I'd also work with the art dept. to change/ color set dressings to desaturate or add >silvery or gray tones.
I remember reading about an experiment where a black disk is placed in a black room and hit with a single beam of "white" light. The participants in the study reported the black disk was silvery, not black. As soon as a reference colored object was placed within their field of vision however, the participants were able to correctly report that the disk was actually black. So this implies it's important to remove reference colors from the actual set.
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
>I've never done this, but always wanted to try it for a moonlight look: shoot on B&W >and add a touch of blue in the transfer or timing (on color stock).
For reference, look at "Flight of the Intruder" a film about the the crew of an A-6 Intruder aircraft during the Vietnam War.
My friend David Nowell was the aerial unit DoP and once described how he shot aerial the "night" sequences for the film, air to air, using black and white film, underexposed, and a deep red filter to render the sky as dark as possible. Then the negative was printed in color with a blue cast. Since the aircraft flew their combat missions at night, and without wing tip position lights, the result was quite believable.
Also interesting were the descriptions of flying right seat in the Intruder, holding an Arri 2-C in his lap, during the violently hi G force launches and landings on the carrier at sea.
Bill Bennett DoP Los Angeles
Cliff Hancuff wrote:
>On an upcoming project that I am photographing I want to create a silvery moonlight >for an interior bedroom scene.
>It strikes me, at this late hour, that the suggestions you are getting will result in a >white light, rather than silver.
Do what you can to maximize the specularity of the light - that is, back light reflecting directly off "shiny" things in the set, rather than illuminating surfaces normally.
Specular reflected light retains the colour of the light source (white or blueish white in this case) rather than revealing the colour of the surface, as with normal "diffuse" front illumination.
This should gve you the difference between "silvery" and white light.
There IS a justification for going for a monochrome look too, either with set decoration/makeup/clothes or lab processes, in that the eye in very lowlight real world situations (even moonlight) is less sensitive to colour. Hence the traditional desire to light for moonlight with blue, given that shades of blue is a kind of monochrome, and preferable to normal saturated colour. You could light with blue light and then print back towards neutral - that should give you a somewhat desaturated look.
Moving Picture Company, London
>Hence the traditional desire to light for moonlight with blue, given that shades of >blue is a kind of monochrome
As others have said, we see monochrome by moonlight as the light levels are too low for the colour-sensitive "cones" in the eye to kick in. Nevertheless, because the "rods" in the eye have peak sensitivity at shorter wavelengths (bluer colours) than the average sensitivity of the cones, blue colours appear brighter than they would in daylight, and reds & greens correspondingly darker. You get the closest effect by shooting monochrome with a blue filter - but blue lighting has the same psychological effect even in colour - and as Paddy says, also desaturates the colours in the scene.
Group Technology & Services Manager
Why don't you try bouncing white light via a luminous ( silvery ) board! You know the same material we have on our sneekers and jackets so cars can see us in the dark. I know actually a movie that was light exactly like this but with several interesting colors.
Try it! Hope this helps a bit!
Andre ("Try anything but be safe") Erickson Cinematographer in LA