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Emotions through Light


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#1 Sebastian Cepeda

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 09:37 AM

Hello Volks,

I'm doing my final work for my bachelor at the SAE - Digital Filmmaking and I choose to analyse the possibilites of showing emotions just through light.

My idea is to have an actor allways playing the same scene and just change the lightsituation and try to change the emotions of it just with the light. The actor won't know wich kind of emotion I'll trying to reach so he doesnt play with his own emotions. At the end we won't even hear what he's saying. The only thing that I'll be able to change is going to be the light. Actor, camera and the rest will stay allways the same.

Now I wanted to ask you if you could tell me how you light your different emotions. For example if you try to show a happy guy, would you use High-Key or how would you exactly light it? I would be trying to do about 4 different emotions: happines, fear and the rest I still have to choose.

Maybe you have done something similar for an own project and you could show me a still or something so I can see it and try to do the same, or just a Lighting Diagram of a similar situation would be okay as well. I have to say I'm not the best with light but that's why I choose this topic so I get to understand it more and work a lot more with it.

My goal with this work would be to make a kind of book, with the different emotions so I can give it to anyone who needs it to light different emotions, of course it allways depens on the situation but this way everyone would kind of know in wich direction he would have to go to achieve the same situation.

If you could help me it would be great!!!

Thanks to all.
Greets from switzerland
sebastian

Edited by Sebastian Cepeda, 03 March 2009 - 09:41 AM.

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#2 Jim Keller

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:28 AM

I don't know of you've got a theatrical design program there, but a good theatre lighting design class would be very beneficial to you, as these are exactly the sorts of issues lighting designers are trained in.

Unfortunately, there are many answers to the question. I've heard "happy" lighting described by intensity, evenness, color, even gobos. No two lighting designers seem to agree. I tend to operate on the "I know it when I see it" principal.

Personally, I'd be very curious to see the results of your experiments. Sounds like a fascinating exercise.
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#3 Chris Durham

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 04:43 PM

I'd be curious to see how the study turns out myself. Of course it's subjective and i think that the emotional context of scene design - including lighting - is largely subject to how it fits with the rest of the film. There are almost too many factors to play with - you have low-key, high-key lighting; color temperature, color, intensity, shadow, hardness, softness, diffusion, and many other factors in an infinite number of combinations.

One thought would be to film the actor in front of a greenscreen and composite the same performance into a number of lighting situations to gauge viewer response.
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#4 ernesto valverde

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:22 PM

hi Sebastian, my name is Ernesto, and i´m from Costa Rica. I´m finishing Cine & TV in Universidad Veritas, and my thesis is also about the same subjet. i´ve thougt about doing the same exersice. Make one scene by diferetn kinds of lightings (sorry but my english is really basic). then i´ve realize to make a verry short film, everything in studio, and with an imaginary set, just the props he or she were able to touch, and by using color experiment, but that idea did not convinced, and well, i just did what was easier, in one of my other classmate thesis, about an adaptation of a national hero/legend, i´ll use all the diferenr kind of emotions that the script allows me to experiment with the light and do what i like the most, and what goes with the story. i dont know if thats the best desicion, but it works for me, because of the differents kinds of locations, characters and emotions they have.
i wish you luck. and keep in touch to know how you solved.
ernesto valverde.
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