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Rembrant Lighting


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#1 L K Keerthi Basu

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 10:30 AM

hello everybody,

Please guide me with some good books to learn and Practice about Rembrant Lighting techniques. I have lot collections on Rembrant painting. Iam have a great collection on this realistic lighting and paintings by Rembrant, Caravaggio, Micheal Angleo etc.

Please help me in finding books on the technical aspects about RL. Iam scared about Rembrant Lighting in Outdoor in daylight.


Expecting your fruitful replys,


L.K.Keerthi basu
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#2 John Holland

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 11:18 AM

Without looking up myself never thought of exterior Rembrant lighting !!!!. ?
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#3 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:19 PM

Vermeer's always a good one too. I've recently really gotten into looking at Caravaggio's work, fantastic stuff.

I got one technique for lighting the "Rembrandt style"...

Look at your setup with only one eye. Rembrandt suffered (well, hardly suffered) from stereo blindness, which basically means he didn't have to look at his subjects with one eye closed, but rather his brain would bias towards just one eye as he was painting.

Whenever I think of Rembrandt's paintings, it's soft warm images, as if he was painting by candlelight most of the time. Practice in using diffused lighting and playing with CTO's & CTS' until you feel you've achieved that "look"
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:26 PM

this guy is talking about " lighting out door in daylight " Rembrandt style !!!
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#5 Walter Graff

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:40 PM

While this is not about how he lit, it's about how little what we do has changed in 500 years.

http://www.bluesky-w...hiaroscuro.html
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#6 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:10 PM

this guy is talking about " lighting out door in daylight " Rembrandt style !!!


Rembrandt's exteriors have the same sort of theatrical lighting as Dore engravings.

They'd have to be shot on a stage.

http://www.abcgaller...mbrandt104.html

http://www.abcgaller...embrandt29.html

Edited by Leo Anthony Vale, 19 March 2007 - 03:14 PM.

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#7 L K Keerthi Basu

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:25 AM

Vermeer's always a good one too. I've recently really gotten into looking at Caravaggio's work, fantastic stuff.

I got one technique for lighting the "Rembrandt style"...

Look at your setup with only one eye. Rembrandt suffered (well, hardly suffered) from stereo blindness, which basically means he didn't have to look at his subjects with one eye closed, but rather his brain would bias towards just one eye as he was painting.

Whenever I think of Rembrandt's paintings, it's soft warm images, as if he was painting by candlelight most of the time. Practice in using diffused lighting and playing with CTO's & CTS' until you feel you've achieved that "look"


thank you Jon,

i have came to a decision that is, if i want to bring the images like Rembrant's in Outdoor i have to shoot in the Magic hour. Before the sun rise and sunset. I dont know whether iam right or wrong. If iam going in wrong path please guide me to my destination.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:55 AM

thank you Jon,

i have came to a decision that is, if i want to bring the images like Rembrant's in Outdoor i have to shoot in the Magic hour. Before the sun rise and sunset. I dont know whether iam right or wrong. If iam going in wrong path please guide me to my destination.


Or heavy overcast. But I'm not sure Rembrandt's exteriors were that different from other Dutch painters, except for the really dramatic biblical stuff which is more theatrical. He often had a spot light effect in his larger paintings of group events, drawing your eye to what was important.

Shooting anything other than a few establishing shots at magic hour is generally not practical, unless you are in the far north or south on this planet. But for places nearer to the equator, like Los Angeles, magic hour is so brief that you can't plan on shooting a whole scene unless it is brief and doesn't need a lot of takes.

I had one magic hour dialogue scene in New Mexico for "Astronaut Farmer" -- I used two cameras shooting two actors talking, shooting simultaneous over-the-shoulders, opposite directions at the same time. I basically got two sizes in this set-up by switching lenses after a couple of takes, a wide over and a tight over, and then in the last few minutes of light, I ran the cameras downhill to shoot the actors at the top of the ridge in silhouette against the fading blue light. It was a rush but we did it and it looked very "Days of Heaven"-ish.
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#9 Rich Schaefer

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:41 AM

"Rembrandt", As cinematographers, we usually think of the triangular patch of key light on the fill (opposite) side of the face under the eye. If you want more than that, study the master! Just stare........It can be amazing & memorizing!

Enjoy the journey!

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#10 boy yniguez

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 06:51 PM

While this is not about how he lit, it's about how little what we do has changed in 500 years.

http://www.bluesky-w...hiaroscuro.html


excellent article, very good point, walter. modern cinematographers have it easy actually with that 20k staying in place for a few hours while the shot is being made. painters of old, i could imagine viewed their subjects with available light mostly daylight streaming in through windows and painted what they saw. rembrandt went a step further and decided he wanted his models lit with very directional sunlight except judging by the angle it streamed in, it came in through a skylight hardly bigger than a 4'x4' and of course moved in the course of a day with differing intensities over different days. his images look like he painted close to midday for an hour or so (paintings are not done in one day remember) or mostly probably stared at his scene very carefully during perfect light and committed that to memory and painted what he remembered! fill light came only from what bounced off the models clothes, hardly from the surrounding walls which seem mostly dark anyways (dp - pd relationship "paint the walls darker, i want more contrast!). of course he has some paintings done with artificial light mostly likely with one candle on the floor usually hidden from view (avoiding flare? he he!) that illuminated parts of the scene close to it and had a nice falloff that left the rest of the scene in darkness. so for me keyword for a rembrandt painting is contrast (the yellow tint is just patina from the aging)! to go back to the original query of rembrandt exterior day the situation has to be perfect, the sun has to come from one side with very heavy dark clouds overhead blotting out most of the fill from the sky (david, overcast just diffuses the light and make it come from all directions!) or the scene is such that the sky is blotted out by something overhead, a canopy, an overhang, a tree canopy and that objects or parts of the setting don't give out much refections (no fill!). now to convince your director to relocate all your scenes......
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#11 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 04:04 AM

Of course you guys MUST know Rembrandt lighting had nothing to do with Rembrandt!? Back in the early days of film some early filmmakers were experimenting with high contrast lighting for dramatic effect. Someone, I forget who took one of these films the a exibishioner who refused to show it because there were scenes where you could only see half the star's face. He basically told the guy no one is going to pay to see only have her face. The guy thinking quickly said , you never heard of this before thats REMBRANDT lighting as a way to associate the technique with a great peice of art. It worked and the exhibishoner agreed to show the film thinking it was "art"! hat's how the name came into being. You never heard that story before?

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 31 March 2007 - 04:05 AM.

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#12 Walter Graff

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 08:47 AM

There are many anecdotes about "Rembrandt Lighting", all fun, none true. From Hollywood Anecdotes by Paul Boiler:

"While directing a picture for the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company one day, Cecil B. De Mille borrowed a powerful lamp from an opera company and positioned it in such a manner that only half of the hero's face was visible while the other half was left in shadow. Pleased by the striking chiaroscuro effect he had achieved, De Mille sent the reel off to Samuel Goldwyn (then the company's sales manager) in New York. Instead of the expected praise, however, De Mille soon received a frantic telegram: "CECIL, YOU'VE RUINED US. YOU'VE LIGHTED ONE-HALF THE ACTOR'S FACE AND THE EXHIBITORS WILL PAY ONLY HALF PRICE." De Mille promptly wired back: "IF YOU AND THE EXHIBITORS DON'T KNOW REMBRANDT LIGHTING IT IS NO FAULT OF MINE." Soon enogh, he received another wire from Goldwyn: "CECIL, YOU ARE WONDERFUL, REMBRANDT LIGHTING. THE EXHIBITORS WILL PAY DOUBLE."




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#13 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 12:54 PM

That's hilarious! I can imagine Walter Matthau or Groucho Marx delivering lines like that.
These days it's not even sure that most Hollywood producers can associate anything with Rembrandt.
They just know that it's "old".
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