Light Effects: Beams / Laser - Filmmaking Tutorial 16

Uploaded by polcan99 on 29.12.2010

Hi. My name is Tom Antos...
and today I’m going to show you
a very simple, little tutorial... but a very neat lighting trick
that you can use in your film or music video or video production.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking me how to do rays of light...
or a beam of light from a flashlight... or could be some rays of lights
coming in through a window... or a laser going through the air,
so you can actually see it. And the way that all of these lighting effects
are achieved is pretty simple. These are all atmospheric lighting effects.
So, in order for you to see a beam of light or some rays of light
coming in through a window, for example... or maybe you have a scene where a car stops
and you see the headlights... and they have a very distinctive
beams of light coming off the headlights...
If you want to be able to see those, then you need to have something in the air
that the light can reflect off. Because light on its own is not visible.
You can only see light once it reflects off an object.
So, if it lands on a wall or your subject, you obviously see it then.
But, the same way that a rainbow appears in the middle of the air,
the only reason that you can see a rainbow is
because of the moisture that is “stuck” in the atmosphere.
So, usually it happens right after it rains or sometimes even while it’s raining.
And then you have the sunlight going in through the air
and then refracting, actually, through the little droplets,
little microscopic droplets of water that are in the air.
And then the light breaks up into the primary colors,
creating the rainbow effect. But if there was nothing in the atmosphere or...
you know, there is always something in the atmosphere
but if the atmosphere was very thin,
then you would not see the actual light. And it’s the same when you want to get
those other lighting effects that I mentioned. And the best and cheapest and fastest way
of doing this is by adding a little bit of smoke or fog
to your scene. So, here I’m going to show you a cool little
test scene that I did just for this tutorial.
I’ll let you watch it.
As you can see, in this scene
we have both a laser beam going through the air
and also a flashlight that is clearly visible... the beam of light that comes off the flashlight.
The way that I achieved this is pretty straight forward.
I just filled the area where I was filming with a little bit of smoke
so that the light had something to reflect off.
So, first, for a scene like this, I do my basic rehearsal.
I put my camera more or less where I think I want it to be
and I have the actor walk through the scene, as you can see here.
Then, since this is a very simple shot, I don’t care about seeing the actor
too much... I'm just seeing more of an outline of him.
And really what I care about is seeing those beams of light from the flashlight
and from the laser. So, I’m only going to use one light
for this scene. You can use pretty much anything...
it could be a work light. I happened to have this 1000W Red Head,
so I put a blue gel on it just to add a different mood to it.
And then I turned it on as you can see up here.
You’ll also notice that I didn’t do a very good job
putting on the filter, so a lot of the warm light still spills
on the sides and reflects on the wall,
which is OK, because this is a very simple scene
and it doesn’t really need to make sense. It’s not like we’ll know where this light
is coming from. So, anyways, after that I take
this average fog machine that you can buy at your local party store
and you just fill it up with the fog fluid... turn it on...
and I put it here on the stairs... and then I just let it go on for two or three
short bursts of smoke. The key thing is that you don’t want to have
too much smoke for something like this because it will very quickly
look like your location’s on fire
or you simply won’t be able to see anything through all the fog.
So, just make sure that you use very little
of the smoke. Then, I turn off all the lights.
I just leave the 1000W Red Head that’s gelled blue
and I have my actor walk through the scene. This is the first attempt.
As you can see, there is still way too much smoke in the air.
So, you can barely see him and you can distinctively see the smoke floating in the air.
The thing that you want for a shot like this
is to fill the area with the smoke
and then turn off the fog machine and then just wait - it will usually take you
five or ten minutes.
Just wait for the smoke to settle. Let it settle.
Then, it mixes in the air and it stops moving around
and this way you’ll see a very nice and smooth
beam of light as opposed to seeing the actual puffs of smoke
floating through the air. Here’s our second attempt,
which we did after two or three minutes, I think.
You can see it’s a little bit better, but you can still see the smoke floating around
in the air. After that, we waited another few minutes.
This is the second attempt. You can see it’s a little bit better.
And this is the take that I ended up choosing as my best take.
There’s still quite a bit of fog in the air,
but it’s pretty good. It’s not so much that it’s obvious
that there is something there and it also creates very smooth and even
rays of light. Here is another attempt we’d done
without the flashlight. Just the laser. As you can see, it looks pretty cool too
just by itself.
And here’s how it looks if you were
to turn off that 1000W light and just turned on the regular lights
that were there at that location. Most of the smoke... well, it looks
like it’s gone, but it’s actually there.
There’s like a very thin haze hanging around and because of that you can actually see
the very distinctive beam coming off the laser, where again, if there was no smoke
in the air, you would not see that laser at all.
Anyways, then I go to the shot that I chose and
the last thing that I do is a very quick color correction.
I just go to my levels or my contrast, actually, which you can do in any editing program
and I just turn up the contrast a little bit, just to make the shot more dramatic.
And here’s the final effect.
I hope you guys liked this little lighting trick
and if you have any questions,
leave them below in the comments box and I’ll try answer as many of them
as I can. Thanks. Bye.