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Lighting and white balance tricks


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#1 Denisse Campbell

Denisse Campbell
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Posted 19 September 2007 - 04:22 PM

I'm new to filmmaking and looking to learn as much as I can. I hope to one day make films like "Water" from Deepa Mehta. I'm truly inspired by the beauty and profoundness of her work. Here a link to the trailer

I wonder if anyone knows how the cinematographer shot the night scenes. The lighting looks really soft. Almost like a candle light. Also I love the blue tint of the exterior night scene.
Are there any white balance tricks anyone can share to give an interesting color like the blue to my work? Also shooting day for night. Can anyone help with how that can be done beliveably?
Thanks for your time and help.

Denisse
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 06:00 PM

White balancing to a different color is easy -- daylight is bluish; tungsten light is orange-ish. Put your camera on the "wrong" preset and everything will look a different color (using the tungsten preset on your camera will make daylight-lit subjects appear blue). You can also hold different colored gels in front of the lens when white balancing to shift the camera's color in the opposite direction (hold a piece of CTO gel in front of the lens to shift the camera's image toward blue). Use different densities of gel to control the amount of color shift (1/4 CTB will warm the image slightly; Full CTB warms it a lot).

Keep in mind that custom white balancing the camera will shift all colors, so if you want bluish moonlight and warm tungsten sources in the same scene, you'll have to gel you lights instead.

Day for night is really hard to do convincingly. In general you want to shift your image toward blue (and desaturate a bit), and underexpose A LOT. Try to use direct sunlight as side-light or backlight as much as possible to keep the "fill" side black, and make sure to frame out the sky. Shaded areas will just go murky or flat; you need the contrast provided by hard sunlight. You also need to avoid any other light sources in frame that would normally be brighter at night (car headlights, streetlights, etc.), so you're pretty much limited to scenes that take place far away from any artificial light. It takes a lot of practice and good lighting skills, so don't expect great results right away.

Soft lighting comes from large sources. Light bounced into a large piece of foamcore will be softer than a direct light. The larger the bounce source the softer the light, and the closer it is to the subject the quicker it "falls off" (gets darker with distance).
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Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies