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lighting exercise


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#1 Sam Kim

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:31 PM

I'm sort of new to digital. I've used film cameras and studio lights to light but digital and small work ligths are new to me. What could I have done better?

http://web.mac.com/s...e/practice.html

how do you get rid of the digital pixelation?
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:53 PM

The lighting looked very naturalistic. If you hadn't told me I might have believed it was ambient light (well, most of it, at least) ;)

The only thing that sticks out is some of the brighter areas get a little hot and burn out your subjects, which tends to happen with digital cameras. In particular the bathroom wall, and the toplight over the desk. The contrast ratio in the bedroom was a lot higher than the rest of the house, looking a little unnatural. I might have bought the dark shadows if the keylight wasn't as bright (compared to the rest of the scenes).

Otherwise, you might practice more on emulating the light given off by the practicals, so that the actual lampshades don't clip so much. And I would have preferred to see a little backlight on the subject on the couch, since the practicals behind him are so bright. Did you rig the TV light gag, too?

As for the pixelation (trailing and such), most of that is an accumulation of compression between the camera and your editing. There are too many variables to discuss all at once, and it's more of a post issue anyway.
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#3 Sam Kim

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:20 AM

I really really really appreciate the feedback!

i actually did use a lot of ambient light. i used one clamp light as my key light in every shot except for the last shot with the foreground sleeping guy and background guy framed by the door. i wanted to do as naturalistic looking as possible, however i feel that maybe it looks too home video'ish? what do you think? how do you make it less home video like?

digital's latitude always bothered me. i know david mullen wants a film stock similar to digital (less latitude, higher contrast) but not for me. on my light meter the bathroom was only three stops over from the rest of the area but that's enough to blow out on a GL1. as for the bedroom, the lamp i didn't mind being extra hot but i see how it is sort of unsettling. And i agree with the contrast. I should have paid attention to that one. i will next time. i guess that's what happens when you rush and you're a one man crew.

TV light was an actual TV. I tested it and saw that it gave off just enough light of it's own when i switched to a certain channel so i flipped back and forth from that.

With digital (i've only ever really shot on film) if I brought everything up with lights but kept everything at the same ratios, would that decrease the pixelation? the clip i placed on the web is very close to what it looks like when importing onto my computer.

thanks again mr michael nash.

The lighting looked very naturalistic. If you hadn't told me I might have believed it was ambient light (well, most of it, at least) ;)
...
As for the pixelation (trailing and such), most of that is an accumulation of compression between the camera and your editing. There are too many variables to discuss all at once, and it's more of a post issue anyway.


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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 10:18 PM

In general digital cameras have very little threshold for overexposure, but quite a bit in underexposure. With consumer or pro-sumer cameras you can't expect much for highlight control; 1-1.5 stops at most. High-end HD cameras offer better highlight handling and more control over the "knee" function (the control that suppresses highlights into viewable range). The response curve is almost the opposite of film.

With film you can often get away with having a light source in frame and still get some exposure from it on surrounding subjects. The light source will appear bright but won't necessarily burn out. With video, exposing for the incident light from a practical light source usually results in the practical clipping out as white. So you expose a little darker or dim the practical to keep it from clipping, and rely more on artificial lighting to illuminate your subjects.

I don't think exposure really has much to do with the pixelation you experienced. I don't know for sure what was going on there but it's not usually a lighting or imaging issue. It appears more like a digital artifact of compression or conversion.
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