taking one frame at a time since 1999

Hello friends, I finally managed to solve completely the flickering in my tests, the solution was to use LED lamps powered by 12v, on this site can see an example:

Now, about to start animating, I have a new problem: I use 4 lamps, then there are 4 shadows on stage produced by the 4 lights on the character.
How do you solved the problem of the shadows? Perhaps a Light Tent?

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Why 4 lights? Are you using 4-point lighting? If so keep in mind that's really a trick used by still photographers for portrait shots - not so much for movie lighting, unless it's for closeups where you won't see the floor and the shadows. 

If I light a puppet and one side of it looks too dark I'll usually fix that by putting a reflector on that side, just reflecting back some of the direct light coming from the main source. The reflected light is very soft and diffused and doesn't usually cast a shadow, or at least not a hard well defined shadow. 

Another thing you can do is use soft lighting for one or more of your main light sources. To soften a light you either diffuse it or reflect it. This is why I recommend using the Chinese paper lanterns, which are basically big inexpensive softboxes for creating very soft diffused light. 

Generally speaking I'll try to use one main hard light source in a given area of a set and then a big Chinese paper lantern to fill in the shadows on the dark side of puppets. Well, not always, that's just one way to do it. But once you understand the principle of using soft light to fill in shadows then you can set up all kinds of lighting situations and control shadows much better. 

Hi, I can use less lights, that's not the problem. The problem is that the lights produce a hard well defined shadow. 

Ok then you need to soften the lights. You can do that either by reflecting it, so it's not direct anymore, or by putting some kind of diffuser in front of your light sources, like tracing paper or a coffee filter or something. Just be careful if the lights are hot so you don't put any diffuser too close and let heat build up. 

LED lights shouldn't be hot, but I know they do tend to cast a very hard beam.

Any light is going to cast a shadow you can't escape that -   The trick is in placing the lights and camera relatively so that you don't see obvious multiple shadows in the frame.

Consider the shadows as a strength.  Your frame is basically a construct of light and shade, every shot in every film since the dawn of film making has had awkward shadows to contend with and sculpting the light on set is no less a skill than puppet fabrication or indeed animating the scene. Enjoy it! It's a creative task with so many variables that only you as the filmmaker can decide what looks best in your film.

Strider offers some useful techniques but there are a million more.  You can make sure the shadows are cast off-screen or use a piece of expanded polystyrene to bounce some light back into them so they're not so hard. Point the key light sources away from the puppet and bounce the whole light back at the scene.  Position the light further away from the set so that the intensity is lower and the spot bigger.  Put things (trees, windows, fences) in front of the lights but off screen so that you cast deliberate shadows - Use different coloured lights.... etc.

There's no catch all solution - it depends on what you want the scene to look like.  I frequently spend up to four or five hours lighting shots to get the feel exactly right - The way I figure it: The shot's going to take two weeks to complete, what's time?!

That's not very helpful, is it?

A light with a small bright source will make hard, focussed shadows. A light with a wide light source, like a fluorescent tube, will create soft and unfocussed shadows. Fluorescent lights on different sides can create a very diffused light with no obvious direction.
I prefer a well defined keylight coming from one side, to bring out the three-dimensional form of the set and characters. An overall soft light without shadows usually looks too flat and dull to me. But if I want to lighten up the dark shadows cast by my key light with a directionless ambient light, I simply switch on the fluorescent ceiling lights! I still get just the one hard edged shadow from my key light, but it is not so dark. Using the fluoros by themselves without a hard key light, spread right across the room and reflecting off walls and ceiling, gives me just the ambient light. Shadows are very soft and pale, just a slight shading under the puppet usually. You don't get the multiple shadow effect, the lights just fill in each others shadows on the sides.
You do need long exposures - half a second is enough - to smooth out the rapid flickering (hundreds of times per second) that fluoros have. And some fluoros have a greenish colour, but you can set the white balance for that, or choose daylight or warm colour fluoros.
Bounce light -reflecting off white card or styrene sheet - is the best way to soften out the light from hard light sources like halogen spotlights. Diffuser on the light does it too, but not as much as bounce light.

My friend filmaker taught me to use "oven paper"  (heatproof) for shield and soft light.

I don't know if you've already seen it or not Guillermo, but here's a thread going into some detail about lighting:

There's a lot of info there about controlling light and shadows. 

To agree with all the above. Diffusion will help soften shadows, with LED's you can just use tracing paper. Try to avoid using several equally weighted lights, make one your key light and the others should just be filling the detail in the shadows. Depends a bit on if you are mimicking sunlight or an interior shot.

Color temperature also has much to do with simulating outdoor light inside.

Interestingly enough, the cold fluorescent lighting of stores does not feel comfortable because the fluorescent tubes they use is 6500K- a daylight color temperature. Why it was ever used in store lighting, I'll never fully understand, as it makes everything look very unappealing- especially food. You would think that someone trying to sell pizza or whatever would use lighting that brought out its best characteristics that we associate with looking good to eat. Same thing with dressing rooms in clothing stores- although that one might be deliberate...

oven paper is the best option, and the one john hankins taught me to use. and the one most animators use to avoid shadows.

Shadows will always be present, you can't stay with no shadows but you can fade it by using those papers. transparent light soften paper for cooking. 

Metalmadcat said:

oven paper is the best option, and the one john hankins taught me to use. and the one most animators use to avoid shadows.

Oven paper is very thick and can stop the light down so you'll lose speed and either have to open your iris right up - affecting depth of field - or use more lights. Another option is light weight tissue paper or even a piece of sanded acetate. Both will diffuse the light in different ways.

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