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Using pulsating lighting, how would you do it?

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There's always been this one scene with its strong imagery that I just love, from the japanese cult film Tetsuo - The Iron Man:




The shot I'm thinking about is the one with the pulsating light in the close-up of the business man.


I'm not too much into lighting myself, so my question is: what light source would you use and how would you go about lighting a pulsating (fading in/fading out) shot like this?

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Probably. Looks like there is two strobes in this shot, each to the side of him, slightly from behind. Not sure where one would buy the equipment for shooting something like this, preferrably on a low budget for experimenting. Any suggestions appreciated :)

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Decay is much too long for it to be strobes. Cheapest way of achieving that effect is to get tungsten work lamps from a home depot/hardware store and synchronize the 'flashing' by simply turning the power on and off on the in-line switches. Do not overload the power socket by plugging too many lamps into a single socket! This will give you the natural 'fade' between flashes. A more portable version could be made by wiring 12v tungsten lamp heads or even car headlights to a decent car battery. The proper way of doing it would be through a lighting desk and by setting up synchronized cues via a dimmer to the lamp heads.

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Häns: Thanks for the input. Guess those tungsten work lamps together with an arduino programmable controller could be something of a lower-end solution :)


John: Tetsuo was shot on very low budget on 16mm film back in late 80s, so I think they actually did it with lighting somehow. Certainly, similar result could be had in post, but personally I'm more interested in experimenting with the lights live :)

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May I kindly recommend doing strobe effects strictly in post. You will get scan lines on your video if the sync isn't 100% perfect, which is impossible to achieve in practice.


For low-frequency pulsing like that, you can just wave a flag back and forth or ride a dimmer up and down.

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