Are sewers always lighted? (movie related)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by SteveGon, May 10, 2005.

  1. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    So I was watching the remake of Assault on Precinct 13 today, and when the heroes descended into the sewer I noticed that all the lights were on. I've seen this in many other movies as well. Now I've never been in a sewer so I can't say for sure, but it seems a waste of power to continually light a sewer that is presumably rarely traveled (and only then by maintenance workers). So, for those of you in the know, ARE sewers cotinually lighted or is it just a movie conceit? Sorry, I just have to know...
     
  2. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    I really doubt they're on, but I guess I should go pull out The Third Man and...Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first. [​IMG]
     
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Well, I've never been in a sewer sewer, but we used to explore these big drainage tunnels that ran all under the streets of my neighborhood. They were super dark. No lights at all, and no light fixtures if I recall. Also, I live in the suburbs, but there are no lights coming from the actual sewer, which has manhole-covered access points in the streets.

    By the way, leave aside the idea of lighting in the sewers, which is kind of necessary for a movie. Instead, look at Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. "You've got to get out of the sewers! We flood them with toxic waste every night at midnight!" Uh, yeah. That happens a lot in municipal sewers.
     
  4. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Well, there were no lights in the sewer in The Third Man, but in just about every other movie sewer there are light bulbs just blazin' away.

    And have you ever noticed how the floors in movie caves are almost always perfectly flat? [​IMG]
     
  5. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    And streets at night are nearly always wet, something else you don't see in real life.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    and ventilation shafts are big enough to fit grown men ... and sturdy enough to support them.
     
  7. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    and computer programs that can magically enhance a washed out grainy security camera photo into a clear shot worthy of framing (or as is usually the case, the capture/identification of a bad guy) [​IMG]
     
  8. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    The SPCA requires the lighting as rats are scared of the dark.
     
  9. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Where does all that bluish light come from in movie caves? Or in the middle of the woods on a moonless night? I so appreciate the VERY few movies that treat night/intrinsically dark places realistically by using flashlight beams, lanterns, torches, etc. as the sole (visible) sources of light, instead of these just-out-of-camera-range giant arc lights with blue filters on them.
     
  10. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Don't forget the magical "striking of the match" which somehow cues an unseen 500 watt light to illuminate the whole room/cave/sewer. Usually a second or two out of synch with the striking of the match, too.
     
  11. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    And how about when someone throws a lit match or lighter to ignite a pool of flammable liquid and it stays lit all the way down? I've tried this experiment (not with flammable liquids though!) and the match/lighter flame always goes out before hitting the ground.
     
  12. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    If there are no lights down there, how do the alligators see?
     
  13. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Lasers strapped to their foreheads.
     
  14. Frank Anderson

    Frank Anderson Cinematographer

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. Sean*O

    Sean*O Second Unit

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    How about when someone has a tape recording of an event, and they magically single out some obscure background noise as if they had a multi-track master of the surrounding environment?

    Nonsense!
     
  16. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Speaking of tape recorders, how about when a character is trying to find an important piece of dialogue on a tape by rewinding or fastforwarding it? They always stop precisely before the dialogue is spoken. Great timing!
     
  17. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Part of the "bluish light" at night is actually an optical 'effect,' especially from the Cinemascope & compatible optical systems.

    Most any lens will tend to 'flare' more with the blue end of the spectrum. Anamorphic lenses are even more bizarre and prone to distinctive flare effects (you know what I'm talking about) that will tend blue.

    Leo
     
  18. Ben Osborne

    Ben Osborne Second Unit

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    This happens in The Fugitive where the US Marshalls Office has a recording of a phone call made from a pay phone, and they isolate the dialog from a loudspeaker at a nearby metra stop. That doesn't seem implausible to me, given the equipment that they had.
     
  19. Mike~Sileck

    Mike~Sileck Supporting Actor

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    I'm watching the x-files season two and noticed that in "Host" the sewers are indeed, lit up.

    Just thought I'd contribute

    mike
     
  20. Tim-H.

    Tim-H. Second Unit

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    A related pet peeve of mine is the incredibly-pristine-subway-tracks. Perhaps SOME subway tracks in the world are Swiffered® daily (Vancouver?), but New York tracks are like the 6th circle of Dante's Inferno.
     

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