When it comes to lighting a scene, I feel it's best to leave the lights in the same place the whole time. Times when I tried moving the lights to light certain angles of the scene, the lighting just didn't match and you can see the changes in the shots. So from then on I just kept the lights in the same places at all times to be safe, with a few acceptions as long as they are pre-planned. However I was told by some people that my characters look too different in their shots. Like one actors head is thinner looking than others, or one actors eyes look different in different lighting, to the point where you have trouble recognizing that they are the same people and is distracting. But if I relight every shot, than that causes mismatched lighting and lack of continuity.
So how do you light faces the same way for different angles, without changing any of the continuity in the light of the scene?
Thread: How do you pros do this?
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03-24-2012 03:59 PM
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
03-25-2012 12:39 AM
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- Bristol, UK
you can see the changes in the shots.
You don't know what I can see!
I was told by some people that my characters look too different in their shots.
Who are these 'some people' your partner; your lecturer; your rivals?
If you break most films down you can see inconsistencies - you just need enough consistence that the 'regular viewer' stays in side the story - so it is actually important to consider who is telling you that there is not enough consistency
What do you think?
Im not expert on lighting but I would suggest this is a basic guide..
Consider motivation - of the light - for example if the character is lit left in the wide then they must be lit left in the CU
Generally I first shoot a wide and then move the key light in a little closer for any close ups
I always move the light along the same axis
Doing a two shot often a rim light need to be cheated out of the frame unless you can have the light on a boomed stand
Does it work? - only the viewer can judge
I would have a very close watch of some DVDs and see if you can spot inconsistencies, and if they matter to the story - you will then find the limits
Last edited by morgan_moore; 03-25-2012 at 12:48 AM.
03-25-2012 01:11 AM
+1! IP you're learning as you go. If some actors look thinner then you're learning about lens, angles, distances and general DP stuff.
With lighting you're learning about everything the pro gaffers know and all of THAT. Rent some DVDs and after watching them thru, play again and turn the sound off, then again with the pix off listening to the sound.
As you go through all of this, this stay true to your stories, take criticism like everyone has to do, but keep at it.
Cheers.35yrs with our own a/v production company and studios.
03-25-2012 07:45 AM
OP, I started out thinking that I could just apply my still photography "rules" to cinematography, and even though it's true a long way down the road, it's a different ball park and always an interesting learning experience.
I decided that I should take some time and re-learn the basics and that brought me to the world of "The Five Cs of Cinematography" and "Set Lightning Technicians Handbook". They are massive, but the knowledge they contain is incredibly useful.
Also like Morgan says, study the movies you like and want to learn from. Even the best movies of shows have occasional continuity problems, but I think they let it go, since most people wont notice any way.
03-26-2012 07:40 PM
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
- Winnipeg, MB
If your coming from the photography world, make sure your lenses are constant aperture through the zoom range. Some people use automatic ISO adjustments to compensate, but IMO, this just adds more headache to maintaining continuity.
This is my number one complaint of several "vDSLR-isms" that are contrary to what I believe are principals of continuity.
For me, I look at all my lenses first, and establish a base fstop and ISO. Luckly all my lenses are f2.8 but I usually shoot f4.
I usually encourage shooting the widest shot first, and light the wide shot to the mood Im establishing. Wide shot lighting is broad strokes of lighting, but I usually try to add the subtle stuff in but it doesnt have to be perfect.
Then once we get into singles, closeups or whatever, I adjust the distance of my lights (not dimming) to perfect my lighting ratios, but it should be pretty close. I usually add an eyelight in the closeups if the ratios are high.
03-26-2012 08:23 PM
The two biggest issues I see in major films and TV series have little to do with lighting.
1) - wide vs medium or close... talent movement - someone gestures, walks into frame, or gets in any way animated in the scene - cut to a different angle and "they're just there" - the overall arc of their movement is energetic in one shot, static in the next, or a movement - even subtle - doesn't carry across the cut - I find it jarring. When I point it out to my wife... she never notices. (and she's a smart cookie, my Mrs.)
2) - jarring background shifts due to camera angle. You don't see this as much. But looking over one shoulder, and switching to the other person's OTS - one person has a dark interior behind them, the other a wide window... and they look like two completely different locations.
If I (or many of you guys) really decide to "look for it", we can see changes in light from wide to close. Usually the closer the shot, the prettier the light. But, this works and isn't jarring. 90% of the time I notice this, my thought is "nice job". I would worry far less about tweaking light for medium/close shots and more about the continuity and fluidity of the overall scene.