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Old 02-20-2013, 07:12 PM   #1
Young_Director
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Best 'horror/night' lenses for a Canon

I need to know what lenses would be the best for a CANON 7D

The shooting is all in one location.

A house. At night. Lights won't be one.

What lenses would be the best?
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:00 AM   #2
Lucky Hardwood
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The 50mm f1.2L and the 85mm f1.2L II are two that come to mind. I have both of these lenses and can tell you that they are quite good in low light situations. Personally, I would have some portable lights available because even really fast glass can't see in the dark. For $370.00, Canon has a 50mm F1.4 lens that does well for the price. They do/did make lenses as fast as f0.75. You can look into getting something used from ebay or the like. You will need an adapter for almost anything that fast.

Is there a specific reason that you can't use lighting?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:10 AM   #3
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No lens can light a scene for you. Even an f/1.2 lens at ISO 3200 will do you no good if there is no light. And even if there is light, if there's not enough, it will still look average.

Lighiting and lensing make your picture. But, if I was absolutely forced to choose between better lenses or lighting equipment, I'd go for lighting just about every time (depending on the film of course). You can still get an image with cheap lenses. You can't get an image with no lights.

When you're shooting a scene and you want it 'dark' - you have to ask yourself 'what is dark?' Obviously you can't have pitch blackness as no-one will see anything. No lens in the world is going to let you see in the dark. So then, what does 'dark' mean for your film - does it mean night time and moonlight? Does it mean a dark closet, with little rays of lighting coming through the door?

Take this example from the website of the wonderful Gaffer, Guy Holt:

Nothing in this screenshot has happened by accident, though it might appear that way. Everything about this shot is completely designed, though it is 'dark'. All the lighting is placed in such a way so that the scene itself is 'dark' but the scene itself is not underexposed per se.

Last edited by jax_rox; 02-21-2013 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:17 AM   #4
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you can get cheap Led panels for dslrs that light woiuld be better than no light.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:18 AM   #5
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I meant no lights will be on as everyone is asleep, might have a lamp somewhere in there though.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:39 AM   #6
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"Everyone", as in, who? The characters in your film? If so, they still need to be lit, otherwise they won't show up in the picture. You will have to have lights on them, no other option. They needn't be too bright and you can place them in such a way to maintain the illusion that the room is still dark (just like in the picture jax posted above).
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:12 PM   #7
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How do you suggest I lit them without having the rooms lights on?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young_Director View Post
How do you suggest I lit them without having the rooms lights on?
Well what other lights are there at night?

It really depends on a few things: What mood are you trying to set? What colours contribute to that mood and feeling? What colours and quality of light are present in the time of day you're scene is set? What kind of movie is it?

For a horror movie, you might want to do some sort of 'night vision' look - perhaps pump some ambient light into the room, enough to get an exposure but bump the ISO a little bit to get a bit of noise. Later on, grade to a grainy black and white so it looks like you've got night vision on. This would probably work more with a 'found-footage' or other stylised type of film.

You might have windows in the room - or you might not have windows, but you might decide that you want windows. Throw a window cookie over your light, or simply shine it through a window. Use an HMI, or throw some CTB over it, assuming you've got a practical or two on in the room itself. Use the practical to motivate a brighter backlight, and then fill with a low-level ambience that drops the face a few stops from the back key, so you still see the face, but it's not 'bright'.


Cameras are not eyes. When our eyes adjust to darkness, we take what little light is there, adjust our pupils to let in more of it, and we can see what we need to - at least we can usually see outlines and such at least. Cameras need light, otherwise you will get a black image. But, lighting is not simply getting an exposure - it's not simply throwing a bunch of light onto people so you can see it. Check the screenshot - it's about carefully crafting lighting to maintain a certain look and mood that you want, using the entire latitude of the film stock.
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:11 PM   #9
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Caution this is how

Quote:
Originally Posted by Young_Director View Post
How do you suggest I lit them without having the rooms lights on?
use a blue tinted light so it looks like its just the moon going through the window (have a normal light and buy blue gels for it)

if there is no window then make them talk about why its dark or show the viewers that there is no windows so it can be compley dark but make the scene quick so people don't lose interest
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jax_rox View Post
No lens can light a scene for you.
This. A million times, this.

You've got to light the scene. To the folks on set, the room isn't exactly going to look like night. You can pull exposure down in post to lose a little bit of the shadows. But if you try to shoot in no light, you're camera's gonna hate you and your images are gonna suck. They'll be grainy and washed-out.

Can you shoot a light through an actual window? If not, as has been suggested, shoot it through a cookie to cast a window pattern on the wall. Set your camera's white balance to tungsten. Either shoot a daylight balanced light through the window, or a use tungsten light with CTB (color temperature blue, or daylight correction) on it. Shooting tungsten balance with daylight sources gives everything a blue cast to help sell the nighttime feel.

You can also use a couple lights in the room with lots of diffusion as fill to help expose your subjects, and to accent anything you need seen in the background.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young_Director View Post
How do you suggest I lit them without having the rooms lights on?
Ahhh... The wonders of filmmaking.

We create the mood using the equipment available to us. Our
job is to trick the audience using creative methods. What seems
like a scene in a room with no lights on is really well lit.

You've gotten some excellent suggestions - now is when YOU
experiment and learn and grow as a filmmaker. There isn't
one or two pieces of equipment that will do the job for you.
It is the skill and experience of the people making the movie.

Use the lens you have right now. Make a few "movie" lights with
what you have around the house and experiment. With some
foil and cardboard you can make "flags" that will direct the light.
Bounce the light so it doesn't fall directly on the actors. Use your
cameras shutter.

Get creative; the room cannot be totally dark, find a creative
way to have a little light spill into the room so the audience can
see what's going on. Go back and watch a few of your favorite
horror movies with a more critical eye; think of how the dark scenes
might have been lit.

Any movie or scene in a movie you thought looked really good?
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Old 03-03-2018, 03:38 AM   #12
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5 years in the making? Regardless, technical problems usa0ually tend to be the same for new filmmakers.
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