Originally, our team was a little in the dark with lighting (ha).
The Original Set Up-Edit One
We had our whole scene lit by an Arnold Skydome light, which cast an even but unrealistic light over everything; taking away any opportunity for shadows and interest. We didn’t make a wrong choice in doing this…it just wasn’t dynamic in the way we wanted.
Our original studies and sketches show a beam of moonlight flooding into the room and lighting up the box, with lovely dusty light, but at last minute, this just wouldn’t have worked with our render time.
In saying that…neither did the EIGHT LIGHTS that we had put into our Box nightclub. In 1080p renders, our eight lights did look fabulous though…but only when they weren’t interfering with the animation and creating noise.
The Box Set Up-Sarah created our box lights-which would then be imported into the final scene. They consisted of eight different coloured spotlights, each with a cone to the back to prevent light from spreading past the desired area. The area over the ‘Windows’ was then covered with an ‘AiMesh’, which created the ‘disco ball’, ‘clubby’ look. It really does look beautiful when it shines over reflective surfaces and over the faces of our characters…but was just too complex and confusing in the final close up scenes.
Another thing that we found out later on is that you can save your renders in one of two ways…RAW, or Colour-Managed.
For the first set, I think we were working with Colour-Managed, while RAW would have been better (darker). (We didn’t know about this setting at the time, as well as camera settings).
For the second set of renders, we chose to go with Colour-Managed saves, as it was a little brighter in the shadows, which we could darken down in post. We couldn’t undo the crushed black look we got with RAW files in after effects.
To resolve the lighting issues we had in the first edit, Clare and I spent the day researching lighting-in particular, how to create a dusty moonlight look. We also looked into the best way to create the box lights, without over complicating the scene and creating white light.
Researching the moonlight was easy…applying the moonlight was tricky. Clare and I wanted it to be obvious that it was moonlight, and not sunrise. We needed it to be blue and cold, but not too dark or ominous. The room had to seem foggy/dusty, but only the right amount…too dusty and you couldn’t see all the lovely models that everyone had made…It began to look more like the club was on fire and the room was filled with smoke. Not a good look. Over and over we kept finding that we couldn’t get the scene to brighten up…only to realise about an HOUR later that our screen brightness was way down. FACE PALM.
But in the end, with much fiddling with fog densities and spread, we got to a happy medium of cold and cosy.