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Back Lighting Black Scrim

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Esoteric, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys. I have never tried to back light a black scrim before. Is this even possible? I have always front lit black scrims or lit the actors behind them. This is the first time I have been asked to light a black scrim.

    Any experience with this?

    Mike
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    They take color and projections pretty well. I would suggest if you are trying to color it, hit is from as high of an angle as possible. It won't act like a white scrim, but it will take color and patterns pretty well. What are you going to have behind it?
     
  3. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Behind it? Empty space. One of the reasons I am coloring it and making it opaque (hopefully).

    Mike
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    It really depends on what you want to achieve. Are you using the scrim as a cyc or are you trying to light a scrim-through? If you want the cyc to go opaque just hit it from steep angles in relation to the scrim from either the side or top. They usually take templates nicely too.
     
  5. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, making a cyc. I have lit scrim throughs before, but never used a black scrim as a cyc.

    Mike
     
  6. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    You'll have to keep the empty space behind the scrim VERY dark for the scrim to opaque.. which is why everyone advises hitting it from a steep angle either to the side or top... you don't want the light that passes through the scrim to land on whatever is behind it or you're going to wind up revealing it.

    Some of the most beautiful and rich cyc effects I've ever seen are done with a white cyc behind a black scrim. The sense of depth is really remarkable, but the real payoff is that the black scrim sort of becomes a neutral density filter for the audience's view of the cyc... which means that I can dump bright light in saturated colors on the cyc to create beautiful images without the cyc becoming so intense that it draws focus away from the actors!

    Art
     
  7. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    1) The scrim essentially has less then half of the material present to reflect light, that's why it's a scrim

    2) It's black material, so not particularly reflective

    3) You are lighting it from behind, so what little light reflects off the black material is reflected US and away from the audiences eyes.

    The result is some light spilling thru the material to the floor DS of the scrim. Some additional light highlighting the edging of the threads, that may, or may not be seen by anyone, depending on ambient light level. Any light from DS shining on the scrim as reflected light off the floor or direct, will wash out what little backlight hits the scrim.

    Bottom line is that this will not work as a dark cyc. It will not even work as a black backdrop lit from the front, which at least reflects some light and gives a tone to the material. As I have never seen anybody attempt this I will be curious as to the results.

    Steve B.
     
  8. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    That was my thought Steve. I never did this in college, and we were told not to use a black scrim like this.

    But that is what the producer wanted (why I have no idea), and so that is what I am stuck with (despite all my protests), so that is why I asked. Thoought maybe I wasn't thinking outside the box enough.

    We will see.

    Mike
     

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