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class="Paragraph" Pin Spot Lighting Diamonds

class="Paragraph" Published : 11th February 2004

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We were doing a spot for a diamond store yesterday and wanted to hit a diamond with a "pin spot" of light to make it pop. The stone was on a model (necklace then ring) who was able to remain mostly motionless as the camera tracked about.

We tried a pin hole in a piece of show card w/a source 4 pushing thru, then a Dedo. Not nearly enough intensity. Hard to get a small enough spot.(To light the rock-not the model).

We came up with a source 4 on a pigeon plate into a mirror 8' above and then focused thru a Dedo lens 6" from the diamond.

This gave us the hot pin spot of light we needed but as the Dedo lens was so close our shots were limited.

So, what would give the same effect but from farther away?

I am thinking of playing with a telescope perhaps to see what happens.

Any ideas?

Josh Spring

Gaffer, Washington DC


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>We came up with a source 4 on a pigeon plate into a mirror 8' above >and then focused thru a Dedo lens 6" from the diamond.

I've never tried this, but maybe a small xenon light into a proper-sized chunk of mirror? Anyone tired that?

One light I've liked for this sort of thing as well is the pocket par with the liquid-optic tube on it. Can't remember what it's called off the top of my head, but it's an attachment that fits on the front of the pocket par, then the light goes through a flexible liquid optic tube to a very small lens. Even so it might not have worked for your purposes depending on how far away it had to be.

Phil Badger
gaffer, LA
http://home.earthlink.net/~badger111/index.html


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Instead of looking head on think about the angles in a diamond. Try your angle from some degree off centre to the camera. And think bright and far away raising the exposure all the way around so you aren't wasting light trying to make a pin hole.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC
www.film-and-video.com


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Walter Graff writes :

>Instead of looking head on think about the angles in a diamond. Try >your angle from some degree off centre to the camera.

Apart from the idea of a white Krypton ion laser (rather expensive) or the obsolete High End laser emulators that basically shot a Xenon lamp through a pinhole (just as expensive!), I was thinking that copying the jewellery display techniques might be worthwhile. The prominent technique for enhancing diamonds is to use a lot of very small sharp points of light. This could be a series of metal halide fixtures mounted in random locations, or could be a fibre optic system that lets you get a load of sharp points from a single halide light source.

(Think Swarovski)

This might be a good application for a series of white LEDs to create a mass of reflections.

Clive Mitchell
http://www.bigclive.com


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>We were doing a spot for a diamond store yesterday and wanted to hit a >diamond with a "pin spot" of light to make it pop.

I've done this trick many times in many different ways in tabletop. The effect mentioned by Phil Badger works very well. It uses the fibre optic wand with an Arri pocket par. I will have to disagree with Walter in that getting this source as close to the lens will make all of the difference in the world. Off-axis the light just never seems to pop as well although different stones may react differently. At least that's been my experience with diamonds but usually I am in macro world needing lots of stop for focus when I shoot diamonds.

The way I often approach it is to get the lens and the light as close as possible to the diamond. This often requires to have a lens probe system such as the Revolution or T-Rex. I have, in the past, been known to mount the business-end of the wand right onto the barrel of the lens.

Small mirrors work well with Dedo lights as well.

BUT if your in the larger world of live action on a set...an inky, way behind camera, on axis, does amazing things to reflective diamonds on talent in a wide shot. It needs to be far enough away and scrimmed down as to not effect the set lighting. The results amazed me the first time I saw this effect. Hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


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>I will have to disagree with Walter in that getting this source as close to >the lens will make all of the difference in the world.

Did a spot for Zales Jewellers once. Took a 6k HMI from twenty feet which allowed me to make hard cuts and made an visually stunning presentation.

Can't say I tried your way, so I can't say if I like it or not. I got my idea form being in a car and watching the sun glisten off someone's diamond ring and thought how wonderful the sun made light.

Worked real nice.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC


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>The prominent technique for enhancing diamonds is to use a lot of very >small sharp points of light.

Try my way, one fixture at the right angle does wonders. Simpler is better.

I have watched guys light diamonds with mirrored chips, and all sorts of contraptions, but I've find with the right angle, you simply don't need all the apparatus. But maybe this is how folks can remain "tabletop experts".

Look for an article on my website demonstrating just such a simple technique shortly.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC


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>Try my way, one fixture at the right angle does wonders.


And to find where that angle is, aim a light at the diamond from directly in front of the lens and then move your head around the diamond until you see the right part of the diamond sparkle. Then put a light where your head is.

Art Adams, DP
Mountain View, California - "Silicon Valley"
http://www.artadams.net/


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>I have watched guys light diamonds with mirrored chips, and all sorts of >contraptions, but I've find with the right angle, you simply don't need all >the apparatus.

Walter...I'm shocked that you would conclude that some of the more elaborate tabletop lighting rigs are unnecessary. People don't shoot with "all sorts of contraptions" and "apparatus" simply to remain "tabletop experts". I find that fairly dismissive and simplistic. Many times the rigging of the diamond and camera make the sweet spot of the "right angle" unattainable. That is because very often the lens needs to get very, very close to the diamond because of it's small size.

"Tabletop experts" shoot with "all sorts of contraptions" and "apparatus" primarily because it works for them and has been repeatedly successful in creating a look which results in return business and new clients. Good tabletop shooters know how work quickly with the right crew and tools at their disposal. Tabletop houses, where 95% of their shooting is tabletop, exist because the producers/directors have achieved a distinctive level of expertise, style, lighting, communication and a solid track record for delivering the goods in way that make them stand apart from the rest of the field.

When simplicity works it is great and I'm all for it. But sometimes one can fall into the "good enough" lighting as if all lighting could be simply programmed into an exact method of how one should light a certain set or a product. To me this is limiting one's creative choices and the results often show it. I prefer to look afresh at each new tabletop product and examine the elements of style that went into the design and execution of presenting that product to the public. And take my lead from there.

Of course, everyone works differently. But many of us on this list have, at one time or another, had the opportunity of working in the NY tabletop houses and it was obviously a great learning experience for many of us. So try not to be too dismissive when we share our knowledge and experience with the list. It does have some historical precedent with a respectable track record.

Thanks for your time in allowing me to make my point more clearly understood.

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


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>Walter...I'm shocked that you would conclude that some of the more >elaborate tabletop lighting rigs are unnecessary.

I see you took it personal. In my book, many of these set-ups are great but when you don't have 100k at your disposal and all you got is the dusty lamps in the studio and a few pockets to plug them into you shouldn't feel inadequate because others are telling you that without fibre optics, lasers, and LEDs you will not get great results. I'll say it again, I have watched guys light diamonds with mirrored chips, and all sorts of contraptions, but I've find with the right angle, you simply don't need all the apparatus. If you have it great!

I was not condemning those that use all sorts of tricks and gimmicks to shoot diamonds as much as I was saying that I have always found whether I am lighting a president or a hard boiled egg, that simpler is better and in the end, two lights can be as good if not better than ten. So instead of setting up expensive elaborate tabletops, try what works best, simplicity first.

Blaine Brown is someone here I used to work with in the past who impressed me because he has a great eye for table tops. And best of all Blain always worked simply and efficiently. Using one fixture, a piece of foam core and four strips of gel, Blaine created expensive looking effects under make-up set-ups. There were much more elaborate ways of doing it, but Blaine needed only one fixture and a couple of pieces of gel and he made what looked only like an expensive set-up. Does this mean that those that use Dedo's are wasting their time? No, just that there are many ways to create the same effect.

NONE ARE WRONG

I used to take 8 hours to light Dimetac cold reliever boxes on a granite slate for spots. In that case I ended up with 40 grip arms to get it all right and by the time I had lit the third commercial I found how to reduce it considerably. I teach that the greatest teacher for lighting is the sun and the sun is just one instrument and look what it can do.

I say for those that use all sorts of equipment to light diamonds, great. But for those of us that don't have the resources, you need not feel inferior because of how others "normally" light an effect. In fact I have seen superior results with less. Proved it one year by shooting an entire series for TV with $30 fluorescents. Doesn¹t mean others can't and shouldn't use $4000 professional fixtures. Just trying to make sure everyone knows you don't always need a locksmith and a slim Jim to get into a locked car.

Remember there is a diverse group of professionals here. I always look out for those that don't have all the resources that others have.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC


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No, I don't take things personally especially in a setting such as this.

I actually agree with your statement "that there are many ways to create the same effect. NONE ARE WRONG." But I did feel the need to defend the historical standard of excellence for tabletop shooting in NYC because your comments were dismissive.

I honestly enjoy most of your posts and tend to learn a good deal from them.

Best Regards,

Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


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Thanks for your thoughts Jim.

I respect your opinion and your contributions.

I'm glad you didn't take it personal. Words are so difficult when there is no inflection behind them. Often we see folks insecurities as they find something wrong with a statement instead of letting it go. In the future, just look at my posts as a big smiley face because I often feel that if one can't step back and laugh, one really ought to take a break and learn how to smile. I have watched some masters do tabletops, and some folks who do it with candles to speak figuratively, but in some ways, some of the directions of responses when asked simple, no budget questions, both are far beyond most folks abilities or budget and a good way to keep someone from ever asking a question again because they feel inadequate because in their 'perception' all the other CML'ers seem to do things so much more professional than they are accustomed to. Just sitting in the middle of the see-saw so that everyone feels like they are getting a fair ride.

Walter Graff
Producer, Director, Creative Director, Cinematographer
HellGate Pictures, Inc.
BlueSky, LLC


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Walter Graff writes :

>Try my way, one fixture at the right angle does wonders.

So you're lighting the diamond like a cats-eye road marker? That sounds reasonable enough, I must give it a try.

Anyone got a spare diamond?

Clive Mitchell