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Lighting snow

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by jamsession, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. jamsession

    jamsession Member

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    I'm getting some snow flakes from citcfx.com - looks like great stuff! (biodegradable, realistic looking - used on many movie sets. )Great people, too.

    So until it arrives I did a little playing with some hole-punch dots, albeit a different creature, to get some ideas about lighting needs. Already a few things are clear:

    I kinda liked the idea of shadows on the back wall (white) cyclorama, but flakes were just washed out by the stage lights - couldnt see it.

    So, it clearly looks best on a dark (black) background for contrast. but even then, it's hard to see if I sprinkle it from just in front of the upstage (back) curtain (we don't have a fly area, so doing a pipe with holes, snow "bag" (u-shaped fabric with holes on downstage side, or blow in with a director fan.),

    Even then, its hard to see - the (upstage curtain is 30' from front of stage. )

    I'm guessing that I could light it from directly above or below, pointed straight up or down, shuttered to shoot straight up/dn, to help highlight it?

    And wonder if using a few black lights would help bring it out.... like it does with white t-shirts, etc. Thoughts?


    I will play with it but if you have any experience or suggestions, I'd appreciate that.

    Thx
     
  2. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    The first thing to come to my mind is to side-light it with a booster blue. Especially if it's in contrast to the color of the background (cyc, set, whatever), that stands a good chance of popping. Especially if you can keep the fronts lower, if not even go with heavy sides in that scene, maybe an amber in them?

    Just a guess from a guy who's never lit snow before.
     
  3. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    High sides are the best. Focus the lights straight across.

    Your front light will hit it if it's close to the bag, but produces hot spots. But the best is a back top wash and a high side. Blacklight won't really do anything worth your while.

    If you can, do more than one fall point. Having one snow bag in the front looks good, but adding a front and back looks better, more depth. My Nutcracker uses 3 snow bags, and over 150lbs of plastic snow
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the sidelight idea. Shuttered just so it catches the falling snow, and really bright.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Per performance?!? Just during the ~7 minutes EOA I?
     
  6. MNBallet

    MNBallet Active Member

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    I get 2 performances out of that, then it's time to refill. But you have to fluff the bags every night, because the rolling action packs it in and doesn't fall right.

    We have it snowing at the end of act 2 as well.
     
  7. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    I have only lit snow once, but I found that either front of back lighting it completely washed it out. Nice shuttered top or side lighting really brings it out, but then again I have only had limited experience with this.
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    And I thought a fluffer was something completely different!:oops:
     
  9. jamsession

    jamsession Member

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    Thanks for the replies - much appreciated!
     

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