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Lighting continuity - major changes in setups


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#1 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 06:47 AM

I know that it is attractive for the far side of the face to be lit brighter than the near side. But I find that some times it is taken too far, as people will sacrifice continuity for it. I know that this is almost a late-night rant on my part, but I see this so often in films, especially the newer studio produced films, such as the upcoming "Love and Other Drugs" starring Jake Gyllenhaal.


I know that these lighting continuity changes don't generally make the average viewer protest angrily, but these are some major lighting changes. I do see this all the time. But I most often see this on closeup singles, or over the shoulders, or dirty two shots (whatever you call those shots). Are these the only types of shots that allow this type of drastic lighting change? How do you all feel about lighting like this? Does it distract you? Do you accept it as a natural way of lighting a set?

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 07:27 AM

It happens, you can cheat a lot on close ups from wider shots. It's just something almost normal. It's akin to how our eyes focus our attention when looking at something (hence why we went towards the closeup, psychologically we seem to want to see more detail when looking "closely," at an object.) Following this line of thinking through, it is ok for the world to change a bit (subjective as to how much) when going into a close up in order to further direct the eye to what's important.
That all being said, it's not really my cup of tea, I like to keep lighting as continuous as possible-- unless I have a reason to change it for the story.
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#3 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 12:19 PM

Doesn't bother me at all. In this case it looks like they are keyed from a soft source which is pretty frontal to them and wraps around to provide a nice 3/4 kick. It's not really much of a 'cheat' to move the source a few feet left or right for the reverse. Certainly preferable to leaving it where it is and having dreadfully flat lighting on the reverse angle.
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#4 Sam Montague

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 01:00 PM

Have to say doesn't bother me either. Sometimes it certainly does, but in the stills from this scene, not at all.

You can argue that light reflects off surfaces differently from different angles too...

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#5 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 06:02 PM

Love and Other Drugs Trailer

Here is a link to the trailer, which will give a better idea of the cuts and the context of the scene as a whole.
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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 11:58 AM

Love and Other Drugs Trailer

Here is a link to the trailer, which will give a better idea of the cuts and the context of the scene as a whole.


I still don't see the problem. There's nothing in the way that scene is lit which isn't standard procedure for reverses. If you dislike it, you are really only left with a few options. Either you light your master and coverage from one side really nicely, and put up with the reverses being very flat, or you keep everything purely sidelit so that your key doesn't move at all when you turn around. Sidelighting can be nice, but it's not always appropriate, and you are restricting your choices of tone and mood greatly.

Lighting a scene involves cheats and compromises. I don't see them as any more distracting than music suddenly swelling up on the soundtrack, or any other artifice of cinema.
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#7 Milo Sekulovich

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 06:44 PM

Frankly. that's some serious,serious nitpicking.

You can tear every movie ever made to shreds finding
inconsistencies.
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#8 Kyle Reid

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:19 PM

There's a similar thread going on at the moment, but in regards to top light. Yours is a more broad question on cheating lighting on the whole, but I believe the same reply is appropriate here. Everything you are doing as a cinematographer alters the reality of the space and time you are in. When you put up a camera and lights in a space real or fabricated you are changing it, you are making it what you will it to be. Why just stop half way and only light the master? Why not extend you artistry into the coverage? Why not ensure every frame you make is beautiful and in touch with the emotion of the scene and moment? What is worth more, dogmatic adherence to a way of doing something, or the holistic experience of the movie to the viewer? I believe it's more important to record an authentic emotion, a documentary photograph.
And yes if you look at any movie with this eye you will go nuts. You'll wonder why every leading lady has a lower contrast, soft, wrapping key and the leading man has a harder chiseled light.
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#9 Tony Brown

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 04:35 PM

LOL
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