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  • Lighting - How to get certain looks

    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.

    Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 11.45.50 PM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 11.45.45 PM.jpg

    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!
    Paul Del Vecchio - Director/Producer
    http://www.PaulDV.net
    https://vimeo.com/channels/directorpauldv
    http://www.youtube.com/user/pdelvecchio814
    http://www.twitter.com/pauldv

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-...io/58731646898

  • #2
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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
      Last edited by BM4EVER; 09-08-2013, 03:30 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BM4EVER View Post
          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.
          Paul Del Vecchio - Director/Producer
          http://www.PaulDV.net
          https://vimeo.com/channels/directorpauldv
          http://www.youtube.com/user/pdelvecchio814
          http://www.twitter.com/pauldv

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-...io/58731646898

          Comment


          • #6
            An example of a cinematographer whose sophisticated use of light I really admire.

            https://vimeo.com/8270427

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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. :-)
                Blackmagic Design
                My BMD LUTs.

                **Any post by me prior to Aug 2014 was before i started working for Blackmagic**

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    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.
                    Blackmagic Design
                    My BMD LUTs.

                    **Any post by me prior to Aug 2014 was before i started working for Blackmagic**

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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"...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Heu guys! I came across this ad for some LED lights: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...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!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thegreekgeek View Post
                          Heu guys! I came across this ad for some LED lights: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...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

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                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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