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PaulDelVecchio
09-07-2013, 10:58 AM
I don't know about many of you, but I feel that horror films, whether you like them or not, have some of the best filmmaking in terms of lighting if they're done right. Maybe I'm biased because I love horror, but even look at Breaking Bad. If the studio is willing to take risks instead of saying, "hey, you can't see the star's face! What are you doing?!" then I think many other films and TV shows can have great dramatic lighting if they're allowed the freedom to do so.

Anyways, let's look at some examples and we can maybe chime in and see how some people would tackle the lighting to get the look.

Maybe some of the more experienced members can chime in and explain how something was accomplished and why you would use certain equipment to achieve a look.

4452

4453

Let's start with The Conjuring. Notice the heavy but soft-edged shadow on the door from both the actor and the window. From watching the behind the scenes, this was a set built so it wasn't a real house standing outside. Knowing that:

How strong would you say the lights punching in through the windows are? 2K, 4K, 6K? A group of lights in a grid to create a larger light source? One light shot into a large diffusion outside of a window? Would you use a Par, HMI/tungsten, etc? What about diffusion? 1/2 stop? full stop?

One thing I've noticed is that if you diffuse light to get those soft shadows, it obviously knocks down the intensity so how bright would you say the light is in order to achieve that "stream of sunlight" look but with soft shadows?

Those are just some questions I can think of off the bat. Maybe we can get to a place where we just post a picture and those specifics will be answered without having to ask them.

This is just a start and then we'll expand to other images from other films/TV shows.

Of course, there is no one correct answer. There are multiple ways of doing things and that I think is the beauty of this exercise - to see how each person would tackle this. I mean, this is the Cinematography section after all. Let's discuss techniques!

Grug
09-07-2013, 08:12 PM
Very hard to say without knowing what format/filmstock they used. You need 4x as much light to light for 200 ISO filmstock, as you do for an 800 ISO camera like the Alexa or Epic. So what might be accomplished with a 2.5k source on one, might require a 10k source for another.

Given how defined the shadows on the door are, I'd suspect a direct source (rather than a bounced one) punched through a large sheet of diffusion outside the window in the foreground. The rear window is softer and probably bounced.

BM4EVER
09-08-2013, 06:18 AM
The Conjuring was shot on the Alexa. Given the small size of the room and the sensitivity, I doubt they'd use anything stronger than a 2.5K. Since the budget was 20mil they would have likely had a nice lighting package, so probably Fresnel HMIs, or PARs through diffusion. Just guessing. Most Hollywood films are shot between f4-5.6, I have seen the film but can't recall if that seems correct from memory?

Plenty of ways to light it, though, as you say, especially if you don't have that budget. If it's a studio, you could easily use Tungsten fresnels. I seem to remember though that you could vaguely see the outside through the windows as the camera moved around , so they would have probably had a mock-up of the outside just past the window.

I completely agree with you Paul. Give me David Fincher's reverse-key lighting style any day!

Great thread :)

scorsesefan
09-08-2013, 08:44 AM
I have to agree with you on The Conjuring and Breaking Bad. I thought the former was really well lit/photographed and just an excellent movie. I also noticed on Breaking Bad at least one scene where Walter is facing the camera in the foreground in a dim room and they just allowed his face to be underexposed -- very unconventional.

PaulDelVecchio
09-08-2013, 11:11 AM
Most Hollywood films are shot between f4-5.6...
Great thread :)

This is a big reason why I want either the 4K or the Speedbooster on the MFT. With the BMCC EF, I usually find myself almost always shooting wide open or around 2-2.8. 2.8 I don't mind so much because I think my lenses are sharp enough at that aperture but I'd like the option to go f4 and usually I don't get that closed down unless I want more in focus. When I'm shooting people, it's usually at f2 or f2.8 on the BMCC.

Anyways I'll grab some screen from some of my favorite lighting in Breaking Bad next.

Maybe also alternatively we can grab screens from our own work and discuss how we lit them.

razz16mm
09-08-2013, 05:10 PM
An example of a cinematographer whose sophisticated use of light I really admire.

https://vimeo.com/8270427

WhiteRabbit
09-08-2013, 08:52 PM
Hi Paul, interesting thread. May I ask/confirm, you're shooting mostly at f2.0-2.8 because of choice or limited light and relates to the BMCC base ISO of 800? If the latter, and the 4K camera is said to be rated at a lower ISO to the BMCC, will that work against the 4K camera, if you're aiming to shoot more around f4.0-5.6? Excuse me if I misread your comment. Keen to see some sample 4K footage and further information released, hopefully soon.

Some nice lighting examples in Timur's work, razz.

CaptainHook
09-09-2013, 01:15 AM
I imagine Paul is aiming for that f stop the same reason i do, when you take into account the crop factor and multiply it by 1.5x-ish to get to S35 (or 2.3 for 135 full frame world) then F2.8 looks like a F4-ish on a S35 sensor, or F6.4-ish on full frame. So if you like F4 on S35, you want to be around F2.8 on the BMCC. If you like F4 on a 5D for instance, then you need to be around F1.8 on BMCC for a similar look (at equivalent FOVs). Of course apparent DOF changes throughout focal lengths, i'm speaking more to a 'normal' FOV. That's why fast glass helps on the BMCC, so that F2 isn't wide open for your glass since most glass tends to be sharpest when closed down 3-4 stops.

Love the idea of a lighting thread though, hope some others including John show up and give some thoughts/examples on lighting. :-)

WhiteRabbit
09-09-2013, 03:38 AM
CaptainHook, you're right, I was confusing some of the early references to ISO, above, as being a factor of Paul's comment. Thanks for the confirmation.

Given the BMPC is said to be lower ISO, and then having to stop down to around f4.0-5.6 to achieve f2.0-2.8 of the BMCC, I guess interiors may need a substantial beef up with the lights, which may be something we all need to consider, unless one has a lot of lights already. Lighting, probably my most neglected area of my limited knowledge base.

CaptainHook
09-09-2013, 03:43 AM
I imagine we'll still see a lot of F2 on the production cam with shallow depth of field.. Maybe not quite 5D 'only this eyelash is in focus' shallow, but still. :P Lots has been filmed at F2 or faster on S35 and looks great. Will depend on what you want i think. :)

WhiteRabbit
09-09-2013, 06:01 AM
I know what you mean, CaptainHook. Thanks! I am juggling a 3 cam shoot of a training video, shot mostly with Canon DSLR's, 5Dmk3, 7D and a 1DC, if I recall correctly. All interior shots of a training facility, some additional lighting was added, not exactly sure what was used, however, whatever lens was used on the 5Dmk3, when I questioned some of the content, I was told the lens aperture fully open, one operator controlling 2 cams (yikes), focus in some scenes was on the ears, eyes and faces is too soft due to the narrow focus plane (kind of the 'only this eyelash is in focus' feeling sometime). This highlights what you/I was referring to above. Shooting wide open on S35 or FF/135 really moves the goals posts for guys like me coming from smaller sensor cams. Unfortunately, this project seems to have had too few people trying to pull off too much. Budgets, expectations, etc. No fix it in post unfortunately for this one. Hopefully a B or C cam can be intercut more often from the A cam, damn... I master to 1080p, hoping SD DVD being the main intended use for the client's sales will mask the slightly out of focus shots I don't like, which are annoying me for a particular section I am working on now.

End game, the BMPC is really going to require a good lighting kit for interiors, compared to what people may be using for their BMCC or APS-C type sensor, or smaller sensor, cameras. It is a love/hate relationship editing which is a learning experience filled with my own bad habits, and I often think I am like the character of Donnie Darko, asking myself, "when is this going to end"...

thegreekgeek
09-09-2013, 03:20 PM
Heu guys! I came across this ad for some LED lights: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151913972274257&set=a.134695309256.127092.123835704256&type=1&theater What do you guys think about LED lighting for the BMCC. Keep in mind this is for a music video i am shooting with some friends of mine and the fact it comes with free light stands will help me keep the shoot on the cheap. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Jules
09-09-2013, 11:41 PM
Heu guys! I came across this ad for some LED lights: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151913972274257&set=a.134695309256.127092.123835704256&type=1&theater What do you guys think about LED lighting for the BMCC. Keep in mind this is for a music video i am shooting with some friends of mine and the fact it comes with free light stands will help me keep the shoot on the cheap. Any thoughts would be appreciated!
I have three of these lights with soft boxes and batteries. I've never used HMIs, Dedos or Kinoflows so don't know what I am missing.
For my purposes the LEDs are really great. Without soft boxes they are a little harsh but I like that flexibility.

Get the daylight versions as they are brighter than Bi color, and use gels if needed. The 1024s are a good brightness.
The LED lights are really light in weight and give off no heat. Very quick and easy to set up. Stands are equally light, could be a bit stronger but haven't used them in strong winds yet.

As for their applicability for music vids, no idea as not my domain.

Jules

nickjbedford
09-10-2013, 01:21 AM
This is just a guess, and having never used anything more than a 800W Redhead, I could only really comment on the characteristics of the light.

I would suspect there to be less diffusion in this particular frame, due to the very limited nature in which the light is filling the room. If there was full diffusion (light coming from all angles from the full daylight environment), I'd say it would fill the room more.

But if they are using a decent amount of diffusion, or in fact its a real set with a fully illuminating environment around it, the fact that they are very much exposing for the highlights also increases the shadow density in the low lit areas of the room.

The front light (on the door) looks like it's fairly directional with a soft edge. I'm curious as to how they are creating a deeper shadow of the actress' shape against the wall.

Perhaps John Brawley might be able to provide better insight. I agree though, the film was beautifully lit. Horror relies incredibly on lighting.

nickjbedford
09-10-2013, 01:22 AM
This is just a guess, and having never used anything more than a 800W Redhead, I could only really comment on the characteristics of the light.

I would suspect there to be less diffusion in this particular frame, due to the very limited nature in which the light is filling the room. If there was full diffusion (light coming from all angles from the full daylight environment), I'd say it would fill the room more.

But if they are using a decent amount of diffusion, or in fact its a real set with a fully illuminating environment around it, the fact that they are exposing for the highlights also increases the shadow density in the low lit areas of the room.

The front light (on the door) looks like it's fairly directional with a soft edge. I'm curious as to how they are creating a deeper shadow of the actress' shape against the wall.

Perhaps John Brawley might be able to provide better insight. I agree though, the film was beautifully lit. Horror relies incredibly on lighting.

stip
09-10-2013, 07:00 AM
I think it's hard to say how strong the light sources are. Film sets use to be much brighter than it seems in the final movie, to get that rich color and detail bouncing off the subjects, so this scene might have been lit with bigger units as well - maybe 4K HMI with Chimera and grid each window to have a diffused but directional light.
They might have also compressed the room a bit with haze, which would lift all shadows in the room a little and overall soften. Wild guesses.

markmwilliams
09-10-2013, 08:27 AM
Heu guys! I came across this ad for some LED lights: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151913972274257&set=a.134695309256.127092.123835704256&type=1&theater What do you guys think about LED lighting for the BMCC. Keep in mind this is for a music video i am shooting with some friends of mine and the fact it comes with free light stands will help me keep the shoot on the cheap. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

LED lighting can be hit and miss - good LEDs are very flexible, poor LEDs are a nightmare with awful colour casts and often with fluctuating light intensity - I can't comment on the IKAN panels as I've never used them and I tend to go for original LightPanels if I'm hiring them.

Some may argue with me, but I've got a set of knock off Chinese Pro AS Arri Fresnels (1x650, 2x300, 1x150) as a decent basic and cheap lighting kit and will probably add a cheap 800w Red Head soon. Then if I need anything bigger or more specialised I'll hire it in for the day - hiring lights is relatively cheap.

Definitely worth investing in some gels, diffuse, black wrap and reflectors though - again, all fairly cheap. 80% of creating your look is often to do with carefully using these 'sundries' as opposed to the naked lamp itself.

stip
09-10-2013, 11:46 AM
Some BTS of The Conjuring, you get a glance at some of the lighting (not that scene though), but also some really cool other stuff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yWwYmYr6NeQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=h9hezr2f4c0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ck782YxTAzk

BM4EVER
09-10-2013, 08:04 PM
Great find stip!

naavt
09-18-2013, 05:26 PM
One thing I've noticed is that if you diffuse light to get those soft shadows, it obviously knocks down the intensity so how bright would you say the light is in order to achieve that "stream of sunlight" look but with soft shadows?

Those are just some questions I can think of off the bat. Maybe we can get to a place where we just post a picture and those specifics will be answered without having to ask them.

This is just a start and then we'll expand to other images from other films/TV shows.

Of course, there is no one correct answer. There are multiple ways of doing things and that I think is the beauty of this exercise - to see how each person would tackle this. I mean, this is the Cinematography section after all. Let's discuss techniques!


Notice how sharper the actor's shadow is compared to the window shadow?

Bear in mind that soft shadows doesn't only come with diffused light but also with the relative distance from fixture to subject. I didn't saw the movie but since you state that this shot was done on studio, one way to accomplish what I can see in the tiny grab is to:

1. Put the actor away from the window
2. Place the fixture near the window frame and illuminate through light diffusion

I say this for various reasons:

1. The light doesn't wrap around much the actor so I can tell that:
a) The light source is small or...
b) The light source is somewhat large but placed at a distance from the actor (and I bet in this one!)

2. Even if the light doesn't wrap much you can tell that's some softness in it (the way the light spills throughout the floor mostly)

3. what concerns you most! Shadows! The projected window shadow is softer than the projected actor shadow (hence my theory around one big light source and different projected shadows from the window/actor related to their distance to light source)

It's also obvious the use of a second source from the furtherest window. Contrast ratio is obtained trough the reflection of these two sources on the light walls. It's also obvious for me that the actor's contrast ratio is reduced by the bounced light from the door behind it (where his shadow appears)

PaulDelVecchio
09-18-2013, 09:33 PM
Notice how sharper the actor's shadow is compared to the window shadow?

Bear in mind that soft shadows doesn't only come with diffused light but also with the relative distance from fixture to subject. I didn't saw the movie but since you state that this shot was done on studio, one way to accomplish what I can see in the tiny grab is to:

1. Put the actor away from the window
2. Place the fixture near the window frame and illuminate through light diffusion

I say this for various reasons:

1. The light doesn't wrap around much the actor so I can tell that:
a) The light source is small or...
b) The light source is somewhat large but placed at a distance from the actor (and I bet in this one!)

2. Even if the light doesn't wrap much you can tell that's some softness in it (the way the light spills throughout the floor mostly)

3. what concerns you most! Shadows! The projected window shadow is softer than the projected actor shadow (hence my theory around one big light source and different projected shadows from the window/actor related to their distance to light source)

It's also obvious the use of a second source from the furtherest window. Contrast ratio is obtained trough the reflection of these two sources on the light walls. It's also obvious for me that the actor's contrast ratio is reduced by the bounced light from the door behind it (where his shadow appears)

The shadow from the window is softer obviously because it's closer to the light source (making it bigger) and the actor's shadow is more defined and doesn't have an edge that's as soft because the actor was farther away from the light source, making the light source effectively smaller. That's basically exactly what you're saying but that's an important point for people to know. Sharp shadows look ugly in most situations and it will make the scene look lit so it's important to use a large source and keep it close. I usually like to use at least a 2x3 silk for closeups, but prefer 4x4 silks for MED and CUs but larger silks for wider shots.

pharpsied
10-25-2013, 10:30 AM
This thread needs to be reborn!

Fist Bump!

stip
10-25-2013, 11:30 AM
Yes!

I have nothing to addd except maybe these but I guess there's not much discussing in how it's lit ;)

5136
5137

Perfectly emulate the typical paintings from the time. And imo Rembrandt lighting is still one of the easiest, fastest but most effective, moody ways of lighting and so many times people would get better results by just using less lights.

Hal Long
11-05-2013, 05:33 PM
Good thread! There's a bit of misconception regarding crop factor and DOF in a few of the posts. This pops up a lot but the truth is crop factor has no effect on DOF. It affects how much of the lens is projected onto the sensor, but has no effect whatsoever on the optics of the portion that is recorded. Field of View is affected. What is really happening is that to achieve the same FOV and DOF on a larger sensor one has to move back and change to a longer lens (with shallow DOF), or move in (with the same lens now on a larger sensor) to a closer distance, again shallower depth of field.

nickjbedford
11-05-2013, 09:14 PM
Contrasty window light is one of the most wondrous ways to light a subject or scene.

Love, love, love window light.

CaptainHook
11-06-2013, 03:42 PM
Good thread! There's a bit of misconception regarding crop factor and DOF in a few of the posts. This pops up a lot but the truth is crop factor has no effect on DOF.

"The comparative DOFs of two different format sizes depend on the conditions of the comparison."

From wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field#Relationship_of_DOF_to_format_size


“Same picture” for both formats
When the “same picture” is taken in two different format sizes from the same distance at the same f-number with lenses that give the same angle of view, and the final images (e.g., in prints, or on a projection screen or electronic display) are the same size, DOF is, to a first approximation, inversely proportional to format size (Stroebel 1976, 139). Though commonly used when comparing formats, the approximation is valid only when the subject distance is large in comparison with the focal length of the larger format and small in comparison with the hyperfocal distance of the smaller format.

http://photo.net/learn/optics/dofdigital/

Here's the highlights from the above link (it discusses a 1.6x crop factor compared to 'full frame'):

http://f.cl.ly/items/3W2j2u2J2s1O1U0d3U3h/eqn1.gif

http://f.cl.ly/items/0O0Y2u3M3B342t2A2E2M/DOF_Screenshot.png



• For an equivalent field of view, the small-sensor camera has at least 1.6x MORE depth of field that a full-frame camera would have - when the focus distance is significantly less then the hyperfocal distance (but the 35mm format need a lens with 1.6x the focal length to give the same view).

• Using the same lens on a small-sensor camera and a full-frame camera, the small-sensor image has 1.6x LESS depth of field than the 35mm image would have (but they would be different images of course since the field of view would be different)

• If you use the same lens on a small-sensor camera and a full-frame camera and crop the 35mm image to give the same view as the digital image, the depth of field is IDENTICAL

• If you use the same lens on a small-sensor camera and a full-frame camera, then shoot from different distances so that the view is the same, the small sensor image will have 1.6x MORE DOF then the film image.

•Close to the hyperfocal distance, the small-sensor camera has a much more than 1.6x the DOF of a full-frame camera. The hyperfocal distance of the small-sensor camera is 1.6x less than that of a full-frame camera.

pharpsied
12-10-2013, 09:21 AM
Another Bump!

Let's Keep this going! Unless no one is interested in cinematography anymore...

Trevor Roach
12-10-2013, 12:13 PM
Agreed!

Conrad Hall and his use of light in Road to Perdition is some of my favorite to study. I often find myself going back to this site to look at certain shots he did in the film: http://evanerichards.com/2010/541

Everyone loves the rain scene in that film, but I love shots like these almost more:
5813
5814
5815

stip
12-10-2013, 02:13 PM
Sean Bobbitt, BSC has some nice thoughts to share in the newest American Cinematographer (on shooting Oldboy):

"...I used a lot of practicals. I used a lot of available light, where possible.
My philosophy is if I can light it with one light, I'll use one light. And if I need more, I use more.
So often, if you can get a light in the right place at the right intensity and the right color, it'll do the job."

nickjbedford
12-10-2013, 04:01 PM
What kind of bulbs are they using in those practicals? They'd have to be a decent wattage right?

stip
12-10-2013, 05:19 PM
What kind of bulbs are they using in those practicals? They'd have to be a decent wattage right?

I'd suppose nothing that special really.
Reading AC magazine, I realize how much these guys actually adapt from us little ones who are forced to do it all with much smaller and cheaper solutions. I keep reading from ASCs thrilled of having small daylight LED units 'which can be dimmed' and placed anywhere in a room so fast.

Michael Carter
12-11-2013, 02:24 PM
Those "rembrandt" window shots are an example of what I've posted a zillion times on DVX user... all those kids buying CLF softboxes from eBay don't understand how huge your soft source needs to be sometimes.

It's not usual for me to make a 12' high x 6' frame of c-stands and poles, and hang diffusion from it to the floor. Flood the back with light. It's nice & soft, even at a distance.

Sometimes you just need to (essentially) build a massive softbox. I keep yards & yards of white fabrics handy.

Tim Hole
12-11-2013, 02:45 PM
A nice acl blinder helps with these kind of shots, blown through a silk.

misterkofa
12-11-2013, 05:12 PM
Great thread! I'm a big fan of Zack Synder's work and his visual style. Even though it wasn't a box office hit, Sucker Punch visually was one of the best movies I've seen as of late. The lighting is exquisite and the opening scene is just marvelous. Take a look.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gl2I5exFfM

Tim Hole
12-11-2013, 08:39 PM
That opening is very nicely constructed (would have worked great as a music video). I partly find what Snyder does as interesting and applaud him for visual storytelling but his scripts are always so poor. Sucker punch is a perfect example of stunning execution In a remarkably badly written story. Watchmen I really quite liked (as comic book films go), can't stand 300 despite it having interesting effects work, again I think the script let it down. Tarsem Singh and Zac Snyder have very similar issues, their visual storytelling is too strong for the story trying to hold it up. It ends up being a distraction.

nickjbedford
12-11-2013, 09:49 PM
I agree Tim. Visually stunning films but I realised they were mostly average in the script/story department :(

Leuke
12-12-2013, 08:41 PM
What kind of bulbs are they using in those practicals? They'd have to be a decent wattage right?




5815

In a shot like this if the prac wasn't giving the desired look, I'd usually put a low watt bulb in it then rig something like a dedo up high and point it down to cheat the light source, making sure to flag it off the prac fixture so as not to give away the cheat. I've found it's often a much easier way to get control of the light as well as getting enough exposure for the shot if you're struggling.

nickjbedford
12-12-2013, 09:53 PM
In a shot like this if the prac wasn't giving the desired look, I'd usually put a low watt bulb in it then rig something like a dedo up high and point it down to cheat the light source, making sure to flag it off the prac fixture so as not to give away the cheat. I've found it's often a much easier way to get control of the light as well as getting enough exposure for the shot if you're struggling.

Oh yep. I can see the hair light from above (also on the lamp).