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Bar Halogen Lights

Published : 12th July 2004


Hi,

Has anyone had experience shooting with existing practical halogen lights similar to the one found at clothing stores, bars and galleries. These are the very small and bright lights usually hung. I'm shooting at a bar/restaurant and it is mostly equipped with these kind of lights. Rather than fight it and set up more lights, I am choosing to utilize as much of the practical lights found and just add key and back lights to the scene. We did choose the practical location for it's ambience, so there's no logic in trying to replace the lights just to recreate it with a new lighting set up.

Since this is a small independent short, we have no budget to shoot tests just to check the color. My question is:

Does anyone have an experience on what color this kind of light will emit. I am using 500T V2 film.

As usual, thanks again for any advice.

Raymond Ocampo
Student DP/Editor
San Francisco, CA



>Has anyone had experience shooting with existing practical halogen >lights similar to the one found at clothing stores, bars and galleries.

Those lamps, fresh out of the package, are usually around 2900K-3400K.

A Color Temp meter would be an asset for knowing exactly, depending on how much you'd be relying on these lamps to light or fill principals, etc, as the bulbs will vary according to usage hours, etc.

Steve Bennett
IFMP



>Does anyone have an experience on what color this kind of light will >emit. I am using 500T V2 film.

Will this be a film or video finish?

Certainly, a colour temperature meter will help if you can't shoot tests. I wouldn't be surprised if the lights were 2700-2900... Which may be just fine if the ambience of the bar is what you're after. You then have the choice of gelling your lights to match - then you can either correct the colour to make it completely neutral, or leave it evenly warm...(I'd call this a more conservative or safe approach) Or you can leave some or all of your lights un-gelled, mixing the colour temperatures...

Which is where it becomes a creative question, rather than a technical question. There are a lot of factors that would influence my decision on what to do in this situation - the colours of the walls, the wardrobe, the flesh tones of the actors - those would all affect my colour choices on every light I put up in a situation like this.

George Hupka
Director/DP
Downstream Pictures
Saskatoon, Canada



George,

Thank you for the response. Perhaps I should have made myself clearer, it is a technical question and we did decide on the colour scheme of the scene. I checked out the location and liked the idea of keeping the lamps. I was then wondering what the colour temperature was since I don't have a colour meter (can't afford one, yet).

It will be a video finish, but the producer is keeping his options open with film. But then I guess if this happens then we should have the funding for an optical or perhaps to do some DI for scenes that have been secondary colour corrected already.

I would appreciate a reinforcement that the temperature is within the 2700-2900 range. I have digital stills of the lights for anyone interested.

Thank you for the inputs.

Raymond Ocampo
Student DP/Editor
San Francisco, CA



Raymond Ocampo wrote:

>Has anyone had experience shooting with existing practical halogen >lights similar to the one found at clothing stores, bars and galleries.

I have shot with these fixtures a couple of times on similarly tightly budgeted productions (once in a hairdressers and once in a bar). On the hairdresser shoot I keyed with a bounced 2k and in the bar I keyed with a 4' 2-Bar Kino (tungsten). On both occasions I was shooting with 5284 500T Expression. In both scenarios I found little difference between the colour temperature's of the practicals and the film units (although I wasn't able to measure them).

One point to note is the height of the fixtures above the performers heads- they produce a very definite cone of light (much like a Dedo) and if the ceiling is low you stand to get a reading of 5.6 to 8 as a top light with 500T film, with very little spread.

Also, I don't know if there will be a difference from manufacturer to manufacturer or even for different bulb ratings, and as always testing is best if possible. But I hope this is of some use. If you would like to get in touch off list I have a QuickTime that I could send to you of the bar scene.

Happy shooting

Chris Ross
Cinematographer, London



>I would appreciate a reinforcement that the temperature is within the >2700-2900 range. I have digital stills of the lights for anyone interested.

Hi Raymond,

There are a couple of things you can do. The simplest would be to shoot some stills, with tungsten or suitably corrected film. Shoot the sources, but also shoot the ambient light and use that color grey card, it will give you a good sense of what the color is doing. You could pick up a cheap Polaroid pack film camera to use as a cheap color meter substitute, or if you have access to an enhancing filter it can be used as a viewer to get a rough estimation of color balance.

Another thing to keep in mind is the actual color of the lights that you will be using. If they are tungsten lights from school, chances are the bulbs are old and will be a bit warm anyway.

Good Luck,

Anders Uhl
Cinematographer
ICG, New York



Raymond Ocampo wrote:

>Has anyone had experience shooting with existing practical halogen >lights similar to the one found at clothing stores, bars and galleries.

I had to shoot a photographic exhibit here in a local gallery and that's all I could use, a liability issue thing. The available halogens looked great. You'll be fine. For my use the spotty nature of these lamps worked great.

Are you trying to use a regular film/video 3200k style lighting fixture with these bulbs? I have done it both ways. The small halogens while a slightly different color temp seem to match ok.

Shoot your greyscale under one of these lamps and you'll be fine. 7218 is a miracle film of sort in 16mm. I've shot about 20 rolls of 18 in the last month and it never ceases to impress me.

No I don't work for Kodak blah blah blah...

Tom McDonnell
DP/Operator
New Orleans, La



Remember, the color temperature of any tungsten or tungsten-halogen light varies as the operating voltage is changed.

For a lamp nominally rated to operate at 120 volts, operating at 110 volts will reduce color temperature by approximately -100 Kelvin. At 100 volts, it is about -200 Kelvin. Watch your line voltage, especially when you have high loads on the circuit with long wire runs. A color temperature meter is very useful.

Fortunately, color negative films are very forgiving of minor changes in color temperature, and can be timed or graded to produce consistent color.

Here are approximate color temperatures for various light sources:

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/support/h2/temp.shtml

John Pytlak
EI Customer Technical Services
Eastman Kodak Company
http://www.kodak.com/go/motion



Rather than an expensive color meter, just use the pair you have built into your head. Borrow an inky or other small light from school along with some various strengths of CTO gel (1/8, 1/4, 1/2). Pay a visit to the bar and compare the color of the inky to the practicals. Use different amounts of gel on the inky until they match by eye.

If you can't tell then bring a little video camcorder with you as this can be more sensitive to differences in color temp. Once you've done this you'll know how much gel you'll need to put on the fixtures you bring in to match the practicals in the location. Shoot your grey card with the gels in place and all will be timed back by the lab.

Don't worry if it's not absolutely perfect--if you can't see the difference than the film probably won't either.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Mitch Gross wrote:

>Don't worry if it's not absolutely perfect - if you can't see the difference >than the film probably won't either.

I agree, and disagree.

I've found film to pick up nuances that you just don't see with your eye/brain combination. Although you may see them, you probably don't "notice" them.

However I do agree that if the Temperatures don't match perfectly, it isn't a big issue. That is life. I've abandoned the idea of getting all the lights to have the same Color Temperature, as that tends to make my images look boring to me. Just get consistent color temp on the important faces in the scene, deviations in the background will add a
natural look to your shoot.

Pardon me, back to recovering from the Apico and bone removal from Oral surgery. Word of warning, if you've got soreness or tenderness in your mouth, DON'T wait, have it looked at and treated. I'm certain my oral surgery was caused by an unnoticed low level infection that caused a root canal a year ago, that seemed to be healing, then suddenly flared up. Woops, way off topic, I'll blame the pain killers.

Steven Gladstone
www.gladstonefilms.com
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



>Pay a visit to the bar and compare the color of the inky to the practicals.

Well, Mitch, it's Friday night so I took your advice. Or tried.

Seriously, are we talking about MR-16's ? my Philips cat. lists color temps from 2925 to 3050

Sam Wells



Mitch Gross writes :

>bring a little video camcorder with you as this can be more sensitive to >differences in color temp.

And if you end up with a little bit of mixed color temperature it might not be a big deal in any case -- bars are full of mixed light, from neon/argon display lighting, tungsten, fluorescent and so forth, as well as outside light coming in through the front windows.

BTW, I use small (par 20) domestic screw-base halogen floods all the time (in Lowell L-light heads) for video interview work -- mainly as fill, backlight and set-light. The outdoor type are extremely rugged and most of them throw a VERY even beam.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


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