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Lighting FAQ

Books and reading

Lighting basics

  • “Hard” or “soft” light characterizes the shadow appearance.
  • In general, the larger, more diffused the light source, the softer the light quality.
  • There is no rule as to when to use hard or soft light for a shot or scene, and there is no correct or incorrect method.
  • While soft light is more forgiving when lighting people, hard light can be used to produce dramatic shadows and attractive lighting effects.
  • The primary light source (the key light) generally sets the softness of the light.
  • Color Temperature & Color Rendering Index: Candle (1800K), Incandescent (2800K), Thungsten Halogen (3200K), Household Fluorescend (~4500K), Noon Sunlight (5600K), Shade (8000K), Skylight (12000K)
  • Key, fill, separation (“hair”), and background lights.
  • Open-faced and the Fresnel-lensed lights – hard light; softbank, frost – light-softeners
  • HMI lamp and LEDs
  • Reflections and reflectors
  • Realistic vs. unrealistic lighting
    • “natural” look (interviews, documentaries, etc.)
    • stylized “unrealistic” lighting (fantasy, sci-fi, art-house movies) that bear little resemblance to real life: strong colored lights, heavy shadows, lights coming from strange places, unexpected pools of light, and so on.
  • Faking lighting continuity
    • Shoot a scene with several different lighting setups -reset the light for each scene- but make it look consistent. The aim is to make every shot look as good as it can, and create a pleasing visual composition. In some scenes, a character may be lit from completely different directions, or may have different colored lighting on them. If it’s done well, the audience will never notice the lack of continuity.
  • Mostly darks shots
    • Shoot a scene where much of the screen is dark, allowing the audience to focus on one small part of the shot.
  • “Night”/ Dark lighting setup in daylight
    • Underexpose the scene and add a couple of front lights
  • Moving lights
    • Light a scene, but have the lights moving so that the lighting changes during the scene.
  • Handheld Lights.
  • Silhouettes
  • Shadows
camera-usage/lighting-faq.1380293483.txt.gz · Last modified: 2013/09/27 08:51 by igorek7