· Lanterns & Fire

-- In Dangerous Liaisons, lanterns were used to simulate candles, and in Henry and june, they were used for portraiture. The lantern illustrates Rousselot' preference for soft yet contrasty lighting.

if the fire is off-camera a lot of the time, you could use less orange on the lighting units and set the camera closer to 5000K for a warm effect that is less noisy… even if the fire is on-camera, it may work to just let the real fire go very reddish and use lights that are gelled maybe half-orange instead of full-orange. Something to test at least…

Here is a lantern with an electric bulb, not frosted, so a harder source (and a real candle flame is a hard source in reality):
Here is a lantern with a hidden electric bulb behind the lantern (or off-camera) with a real flame visible:
Here is the old-fashioned way of lighting lantern scenes, with a projected off-camera light following the actors:
The thing is that nowadays, you have to use a little of every trick for a scene where someone carries around a lantern. It helps to use a gag lantern that is bright enough to expose a face when held close to the face, but for scenes where they set it down and walk a few steps away, you probably need to key them from off-camera with a light simulating the lantern, so stage scenes in a way to make that easier, with the on-camera lantern on one side of the frame.

The lamp is the only source. It probably has a 250 watt bulb in it and is down on a dimmer to create some warmth. The brightness of the near side of the glass would have been sprayed black to avoid any flare from such a bright source. I doubt I would have changed anything from the wide to the closer shots.

JESSE JAMES: The lanterns were dummied with 300- or 500-watt bulbs. Sometimes I’d keep the flame and put the bulbs behind the flame, dimmed way down. We positioned little pieces of foil between the bulb and the flame so all the camera would see was the little flame. At other times during the robbery, we just had bulbs in the lanterns — two bulbs side by side, dimmed down and sometimes flickering very gently. All the lanterns I used were powered with a cable which on two shots was removed digitally. I have always had a problem with using batteries as I like to have the use of a flicker generator and a dimmer. I judge the flicker by eye as flicker generators have a way of changing on their own accord! To augment the lanterns for close-up shots, I occasionally used a warmed-up Tweenie bounced off a gold stippled reflector.

Inside the train, all the oil lamps had little tin hats on top of them; inside those were pieces of silver foil and a ring of five 250–300 watt bulbs dimmed down [to 40%] with flicker generators. Those read really well onscreen, but if you looked closely at the actual lamp it wouldn’t make sense, because the light was coming from the tin hat and not from the lamp itself. I chose those in collaboration with the art department because I knew Andrew wanted to do a constant move through the train with Frank James

TRUE GRIT:For the exterior campfire scenes one or two of the fire ‘gag’ lights (metal strips made with sockets for 250/500 watt halogen bulbs with 3" spacing. Each series of bulbs were broken into three circuits and two were run to flicker generators. All the bulbs were dimmed to mimic the warmth of the fire) were set into the dirt behind the fires and that and the fire itself were the only source.

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