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Lighting for different skins


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#1 Annemarie van Basten

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:24 AM

I have a quick question. I have to shoot a film where our lead actress has a meduim dark skin. however, the narrative suggests that her father is Caucasian.

Is it possible, excluding the work of the Production Designer, to use light in a manner so to make her appear with a lighter skin tone. not heavely change it but merely light it in a manner as to give her a lighter complextion? Or is re-casting the best option?

Moreover, are there any good tips on shooting dark and light skined actors together outside at night. (On a farm) :unsure: :unsure: In terms of Exposure?

Thanks..
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:38 AM

It's something you'll have to test. Much of the work is taken care of by the nature of color itself. Dark skinned people will photograph darker than light skinned people.

The trick comes when the difference between light and dark skintones becomes too much for the film to comfortably handle while looking natural. In these situations, you must get creative in finding ways to light your actors separately. You might net a key down in a way that it only affects the lighter person. You may use separate fixtures altogether and blend them together so it looks like one source, except one with a gradation in intensity.

Those are a couple of basic steps you might take. Options are essentially infinite and need to be tailored to your setup. I'm afraid I can't tell you much more. It's just a matter of thinking through possible solutions and choosing the best one.
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#3 Annemarie van Basten

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 03:06 AM

Thanks Chris
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#4 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 05:40 PM

Another thing to consider is that the lighter her clothes, the darker her skin will appear.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 05:48 PM

In terms of color, too, the different skin tones may reflect a different sheen. I often find a bit of 1/8 CTO helps warm up darker skinned individuals, but this is a matter of taste/content. Likewise, some skin tones may photograph too warm, so some 1/8CTB might be useful. I tend to err towards over-exposing the Caucasian tones knowing that most film stocks have more information in the shoulder. Later on if need be, I can window them down in the color correction.

Edited by Adrian Sierkowski, 25 July 2008 - 05:49 PM.

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#6 David Regan

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 08:27 PM

One of the first times I lit a scene with a very dark skinned actor, I made the mistake of overlighting them, which caused their skin tones to appear washed out and very unnatural. Dark skin is supposed to appear...well...darker, so let it photograph as such to maintain a natural look.
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#7 Ram Shani

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 01:42 AM

also if you light them with the same source try to put the dark one closer to the source
or you can use net's to cut the light from the light skin actor
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