CSI: Why examine a crime scene with flashlights?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by HowardPaul, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. HowardPaul

    HowardPaul Stunt Coordinator

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    I've yet to understand why the investigators always seem to examine a darkened room with flashlights rather than turn lights on. This occurs regularly in both CSI and CSI Miami.
    Anyone know why? Is there a good reason for this?
    How
     
  2. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    I'm just taking a guess here.....maybe they still have to check the switch for fingerprints......or perhaps because it just looks cool on TV. [​IMG]
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    That is, indeed, the answer. [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve_Pannell

    Steve_Pannell Supporting Actor

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    Next time someone loses an earring or something on your floor try looking for it with a flashlight instead of just relying on the room lights. You'd be surprised how much it helps.

    But, the "looks cool" answer is probably just as good. [​IMG]
     
  5. Dan Sauter

    Dan Sauter Auditioning

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    The reason is very simple, it makes you focus your vision where only the light beam shines.
     
  6. Katherine_K

    Katherine_K Second Unit

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    Also in the case of crimes that you don't know the nature of the light switch might be rigged. In the case of tweeker houses (which Miami does a fair bit with) they often do weird things with everyday objects.

    Flipping the switch also disturbs evidence on the plate itself and as was said before using the flashlight focuses the vision on where the beam is shining.
     
  7. Scott-S

    Scott-S Cinematographer
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    I too was wondering about this. It seems completely unrealistic.

    What bothers me more is how dark the CSI Las vegas office is. I mean, has anyone ever seen a gov office that isn't flooded with florescent lights?

    And even their lab is dark. A lab without adequate lighting is dangerous.
     
  8. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I think a couple of slot machines would brighten the place up. I mean they have them in the airport and even in a Denny's. [​IMG]
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Travis is correct: this is the look of CSI--it is cinematic; not realistic.
     
  10. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    I would think that all the possible reasons for the use of flashlights are acceptable, believeable answers.
     
  11. JoePassmore

    JoePassmore Stunt Coordinator

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    During the first couple of seasons it looked MUCH more realistic. Even in the clothing they wear. Now they all look like mashion mag models.
     
  12. HowardPaul

    HowardPaul Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is what I got from a search of the CSI Forum:

    "When they're going over the scene, they have to leave it exactly as it was left when the crime was committed (well, when the perp left). It allows them to better reconstruct the scene so they can figure out what happened. Plus, like previously mentioned, it helps to catch evidence that might not be seen otherwise. Kind of like why the photographers use flash on their cameras as well.

    This means that they can't turn on the lights (as well as with those other reasons), they can't open exterior doors (shouldn't, really), open windows (again, shouldn't) or turn off a television without (well at least someone) first noting that it was on/open/closed/whatever and then why they did this action. Plus, if they wanted to do something like that they would have to do that (for example, open a window) like no one else would open a window. Latex gloves can still smear prints, y'know?
    Another reason might be is that they are supposed to be the night shift. Flashlights are essential for night shift folks. Also, they do not want to disturb any fingerprints that may be on the light switch. And some of the flashlights have filters to see some bodily fluids. "
     
  13. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    Again, another acceptable answer.

    The whole 'cinematic' or 'it looks cool' aspect of it is just a plus.
     
  14. andrew markworthy

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    An even bigger question - why are they the only CSI units in the world not to use hair covers and overalls? They must contaminate every scene they visit. [​IMG]

    Also, I seriously doubt if women lab workers are allowed microscopes whilst wearing eye makeup - mascara ruins microscope lenses.

    FWIW, a Brit newspaper has a regular series in which they show DVDs to experts in the field being portrayed. A group of Brit forensic scientists, had a great time pointing out the implausibility of some of the scenes in CSI (particularly the speed with which lab results were produced and how such a small team could be expert in so many sub-disciplines). However, in spite of these comments, overall they were very complementary about it and said that allowing for the need to make things average viewer-friendly, it was very good and didn't distort as much as simplify.
     
  15. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, that's my feeling too. They aren't making a documentary, it's a TV show. Watch A&E or TLC if you want accuracy. [​IMG]
     

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