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I can't help myself


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#1 Morgan Peline

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:12 PM

Hi,

I was shooting a music video yesterday. And as tends to happen thses days, I became obsessed with a pretty lady's nose shadow. :D


It's really weird, when lighting women I always find myself lighting full frontal now to avoid noise shadows. And I'm constantly putting more and more diffusion on my lights. I don't know what to do! If this continues I'm going to find myself always lighting ladie's from the front, even when I'm doing a horror film!

And it's weird because when you watch movies many, many films have leaading lady's with noticeable nose shadows and you never notice, but as a DP I always notice them more when I'm lighting.

Obviously this is a joky topic. But am I the only one who this obsession affects? These days I literally only want to light from directly the front or back now.

What do you guys do?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:59 PM

I'm a fan of the ol' Rembrandt triangle. You may just want to practice making the shadows more subtle. You're already doing it by adding a lot of diffusion, but I wouldn't obsess too much over it. Your viewers minds will compensate for that shadow and interpret it differently than you as "THE DP" ever will...and certainly nobody's going to fixate on it as you are.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 06:45 PM

A gentle "beauty light," or fill from right under the lens does wonders for the glamour look. If it's soft and focused enough (not spilling onto the BG), you can minimize the contrast of shadows and wrinkles, making them less obvious. Put the light on a dimmer so you can dial in the just the right amount of fill; you should just barely be able to tell it's on, so that you don't otherwise flatten out your contrast ratio.

Keep in mind that it's the contrast, not so much the hard edge, that draws your eye to a shadow. You'll find that even hard shadows become less objectionable when the contrast ratio is lowered. A softer key light doesn't change the contrast, unless it becomes so large and soft that it wraps around so much there's no shadow.

But I wouldn't worry about it too much; it's not like women aren't supposed to have noses, or that there's one ideal of beauty that says a woman's nose has to be flat and tiny! If anything, I'm always trying to find the one lighting angle that's most flattering for the face in question; they're all different. Some women with great cheekbones look kind of plain with soft frontal lighting, until you raise the key higher to get some cheekbone shadows. Then they look stunning!

http://vargen57.unbl.....ietrich 2.jpg
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#4 janusz sikora

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 10:54 AM

Hi,

I was shooting a music video yesterday. And as tends to happen thses days, I became obsessed with a pretty lady's nose shadow. :D
It's really weird, when lighting women I always find myself lighting full frontal now to avoid noise shadows. And I'm constantly putting more and more diffusion on my lights. I don't know what to do! If this continues I'm going to find myself always lighting ladie's from the front, even when I'm doing a horror film!

And it's weird because when you watch movies many, many films have leaading lady's with noticeable nose shadows and you never notice, but as a DP I always notice them more when I'm lighting.

Obviously this is a joky topic. But am I the only one who this obsession affects? These days I literally only want to light from directly the front or back now.

What do you guys do?


So what is wrong with nose shadow if it is only one ?
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#5 Morgan Peline

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 11:20 AM

Sometimes I find them quite ugly when they are neither a 'Rembrandt's Triangle' or very soft. I hate it when they just look like a mark on someones cheek but then I am the only one who notices so I suppose it's just a phase.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 11:27 AM

Light falling on objects create shadows... and besides, an actor doesn't always look in one direction, so a single source may not create a nose shadow at one point, but then the actor turns their head and suddenly there's a nose shadow.

Unless I am trying to glamorize a woman's close-up, to me, what matters more is that the light creating the nose shadow is motivated. If they are sitting at a desk and lean into the light of a desk lamp and naturally create a certain type of shadow on the face, then it's motivated -- even if you get a classic triangular nose shadow, you can hardly call it fake if you see the source creating it in the shot.

It can be very limiting in terms of lighting (and actor movement) if nose shadows are never allowed. That may be fine for a fashion shoot, but for a dramatic scene where actors are moving around a room, it's not worth losing sleep over.
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#7 Jason Maeda

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 02:09 PM

I think it's important to step away, regroup and then revisit your lighting sometimes. This can be hard on a busy set with minute to minute deadlines, but even a few minutes can help sometimes.

I don't think shadowless photos are any more acceptable in fashion photos than anywhere else. Different photographers use different lighting and some can be quite hard and oblique, while others may be soft and flat. The idea that fashion photos are all shot with big, frontal softboxes is incorrect.

jk :ph34r:
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 02:18 PM

It's true that fashion photography has a wide range of styles, but most of us have learned the hard way that, unless we are photographing a young fashion model with flawless facial features, that the primary way to remove unwanted defects in the face as a woman ages -- mostly bags under the eyes -- is frontal lighting. Any survey of magazine covers showing Hollywood actresses (not young super models) will verify that.

I deal with this almost every day -- the older the actress in the scene, the softer and more frontal the key light, with fill light just below the lens to eliminate the shadows of bags under the eyes. Believe me, I've tried to get away with other types of lighting but nothing works as well as this. I've completely blanketed an actress with soft, frontal lighting, only to have some faint shadow form when they look up or down, and have a producer ask me why I haven't gotten rid of that shadow as well!

And it gets even harder with multiple cameras running because a frontal eye/fill light from one angle creates a shadow from another angle.
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#9 Israel Yang

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 10:47 AM

In John Alton's Painting with Light he spends a great deal of words on lighting for glamorizing an actor/actress, and the solution is much like what David Mullen has described here. One can easily understand the motivation of frontal lights, but I also think sometimes it can lead to the camera flash effect (especially when the background light is coming from a very different angle of the frontal key light), which I personally try to avoid (but as a 3d lighter I don't have to deal with aging actresses).
So do you think if it's completely up to you, ie. without the pressuring from the producer or the actress agents, would you light differently for the story telling purposes and modeling?
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#10 janusz sikora

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 03:05 PM

Depending on the position of your Key Light and nose shadow distribution you can have Five Distinct portrait Styles...
Look up some pics at http://lightextreme.com/wst_page8.html (middle of page)
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The Slider

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Ritter Battery