Lighting a Forest Setting

drawstuf99

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Feb 5, 2006
Hey!

This is a fairly vague topic; however, I hope that I can get some interesting feedback.

At my school, I'm doing a lighting design for a show that takes place in a forest. The show itself, is not exceptional, though it is not horrible. Basicly, I'm just wondering about tips on lighting a forest scene. I have the whole thing pretty much done and drawn up; however, I was thinking maybe I could get a few general comments on tips from experience (this is the first time I've actually done a forest design, obviously).

Advice on gobos, gels, interesting positioning, lighting backdrops...etc. It's all pretty open. Nothing too specific. I was just wondering if you had any small or big words on the subject from experiences. Anything is good.

Thanks for the help!
Andrew
 

jonhirsh

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Dec 11, 2004
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Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
Hey i am a big beliver in doing things completly the oposite of what others do weither this is good or bad is a totaly diffent story. I dont like seeing dark blues used for night or dark places i feel that its overdone and i think that is what most people would use in a forest scene so how about lots of greens they are a fairly nutural colour or my favorite R3202 its a CTB which means its a white contrary to belife its not a blue its just tinting the wite to a more blue colour temputure.





in those pics the stark white light is the r 3202.

its the closest thing i have found to match moon light. i like it...
 

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try to keep the system coming from one side of the stage and a harsh angle... and load it up with gobos..... try to get the light coming throgh the trees affect... and keep in mind what time of year the forest is in....
 

Pie4Weebl

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I am a fan of narrow beams from gobos, shot top down, so in different areas of the stage the patterns are different.
 

MircleWorker

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Grand Rapids, MI , USA
Breakups! Breakups! Breakups! In a forest the light is never even. Have some patterns way out of focus, and other in. To gel consider the time of day, year. Cut and tape two colors together. Or use chipped dichorics, but not too many.
 

Radman

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Franklin, TN
There are gobos called leaf breakups that I know at least Rosco has, probably Apollo and any other manufacturer (those are the only 2 manufacturers of gobos that I know of.) There are also gobos of forest cross sections that you could possibly project onto a backdrop.

Greens, browns, any other colors that are in the set...

Just a few thoughts...
 

ManOfLights

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Clinton, NY
make sure that if you use many different Gobos that you use the same style and the same view. like the difference between a spooky forest gobo and like a park setting Gobo, make sure they are the smae theme. mixing them gives you an unnatural look.
 

Pie4Weebl

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Radman said:
There are gobos called leaf breakups that I know at least Rosco has, probably Apollo and any other manufacturer (those are the only 2 manufacturers of gobos that I know of.) There are also gobos of forest cross sections that you could possibly project onto a backdrop.

Greens, browns, any other colors that are in the set...

Just a few thoughts...
something I read in a book on concert lighting and notticed to be true, forest gobos are reverse, when you should want the leaves to be the metal so you see the light throught them gobos always have the reverse.
 

jfitzpat

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Nov 22, 2005
Pie4Weebl said:
something I read in a book on concert lighting and notticed to be true, forest gobos are reverse, when you should want the leaves to be the metal so you see the light throught them gobos always have the reverse.
As MiracleWorker mentioned, "breakups" are great, but I seldom use literal 'leaf breakups'. I'll use them sometimes, along with tree images, etc. to project on scrims or backdrops - more like a set for a dance recital. But for the stage area, more generic 'breakup' and 'shatter' gobos seem to work better. After all, in forests we seldom see a hard shadow of a leaf or tree.

In general, I don't try to truly recreate reality with stage lighting. I lean towards a suggestion, or even a characture of reality. I try to pick the aspect of reality that most fits the mood and portray that. For example, I once did a fight scene in a forest. Light comes through the leaves and trees, so I used high angle breakup gobos from upstage in a near white. Moving in and out of shadows made the fight seem more unpredictable and suspenseful.

After the mortal blow and flight, I used some background lighting to suggest a move into nightfall (and the sound folks did a nice job of easing in more peaceful forest sounds). By the time the heroine found the dead boyfriend, I had a fernel behind the cyc suggesting a moon and an creepy glow center stage. Her dialog talked about all the fog, so I just stayed with suggestion, a vague notion of the moon, and a little bit of an otherworldly look. Sound and acting filled in the rest.

Her speech with the corpse suggested time passing and focused on being alone. So the moon and glow faded, and a single overhead leiko in a cool but 'clear' color faded in (very slowly). The director humored me and had her look somewhat up to conclude the speech, so the scened ended with her face lit, and just a little glow of blue on the background so you could see the outline of the body with her.

I actually had someone ask me how we got the moon to rise. In their mind, the moon special did not just fade out and on overhead special fade in - they saw it as the moon slowly rising overhead, leaving her face lit and alone. Which just reinforced for me the idea that you can just suggest a reality and the audience will fill in a lot of the pieces for you.

-jjf
 

vwalz

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Oct 20, 2010
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Winston-Salem,NC
Well it depends on what time of day for one but I like a back US fan ( centered or at 1/4 line ). The SL unit focus DSR so your doing this criss cross thing creating something that makes it look like one big source - alot like the sun ;)
 

Grog12

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so how about lots of greens they are a fairly nutural colour .
This is a rather misleading statement. While green is a natural color in terms of plant life and certain animals it is completly unnatural when it comes to light. No natural source of light produces "green light." Because of this our collective uncouncious sees green light as alien or sickly.

I"m not saying don't use green gel (trust me I've been told that and laughed at people) but have a purpsose behind it and know its effects on human psycology.
 

shiben

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This is a rather misleading statement. While green is a natural color in terms of plant life and certain animals it is completly unnatural when it comes to light. No natural source of light produces "green light." Because of this our collective uncouncious sees green light as alien or sickly.

I"m not saying don't use green gel (trust me I've been told that and laughed at people) but have a purpsose behind it and know its effects on human psycology.
A very light green tint might be very effective. I think its like 1/8 plusgreen and you can barely notice its green, but it might be effective in some breakups?
 

WooferHound

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Huntsville Alabama U.S.A.
my favorite R3202 its a CTB which means its a white contrary to belife its not a blue its just tinting the wite to a more blue colour temputure.
in those pics the stark white light is the r 3202.
its the closest thing i have found to match moon light. i like it...
Me and 2 other photographer friends were camping over a weekend in a forest. The Moon was producing some interesting light and we decided to take some Time Exposures to see how the photographs looked when lit up with moonlight. This was in the film days and we awaited the photos to be processed. When the film had been processed and printed we all gathered around to see what the pictures looked like.
Well...they looked exactly like they had been shot in direct Sunlight. Since that time I have used Full Color Correction to Sunlight as my nighttime color effects as it is the most natural color of Moonlight. After all, the Moon is reflecting the Sun back to the Earth.
I also really like the idea of all the stage light coming from one side of the stage.
 
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starksk

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One of my favorite tricks is to have a system of pattern wash fixtures that all have a deep green donut added in addition to the correct color of the wash (usually what I am doing for daylight/moonlight). This tends to add just a bit of green around the edges of the breakup, giving that theatrical effect that certain audiences have been trained to expect.

I prefer deep green to light green. While not accurate to the way real world light behaves, a deep green tends to not look as unnatural as a light green that reminds me more of flourescent lighting than forrest.
 

reggie98

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Sep 11, 2006
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Edison, NJ, USA
People are accustomed to seeing blue moonlight. 1/2 CTB is usually sufficient. As pointed out, the light from the moon is just reflected sunlight. If you want a silvery "moonlight" look, try #99 chocolate. Parents room_wide moonlight.png