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Lighting Scheme in a shot from Double Life of Veronique


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#1 Alex Weiss

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:41 PM

Hi,

for an upcoming film shoot I'd like to recreate a lighting scheme similar to the one I've attached; it's from The Double Life of Veronique, directed by Kieslowski and shot by Slawomir Idziak. What fascinates me about this shot is that the key light coming from camera right seems to be very soft on her face, yet we still see a clear separation between the key and the fill -- the key is soft but doesn't spill over too much to the other side of her face. We tried to recreate this with a side zip light through a silk (the zip itself wasn't soft enough), but that spilled to the other side way too much. So I'm not sure how to get this quality of light... I can't even tell from what height the key is coming from, to be honest.

My other question is regarding color. I know that most of the look of the film was achieved with filters, so I was wondering if the fill on her is a different color just because of the filter, of whether there's a dedicated fill light with a different gel.

Thanks,

Alex

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#2 Alex Weiss

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:43 PM

Here's the reverse, which might help to analyze the lighting. I wonder which light causes the shadow under his nose; I don't think it's the side key.

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#3 Ronald Gerald Smith

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:38 PM

Hi Alex,

Great choice in film to analyze. That's what I'm talkin about!

Difference in color of key and fill light. There may be several reasons why the fill is a different color closer to red. It could be a dimmer, shooting through a diffusion, the light is further away, etc. And usually in shadow areas, the shadows are naturally closer to red than the key lit parts of the face. The skin tone is quite yellowed and it looks like they used filters to get it to that point. I don't think that they used any gels on the fill light.

You are looking for a quality of light that is less soft than a zip light through diffusion. A zip light through diffusion is basically a quick book light, and it produces a very soft light that wraps quite a bit around the face. This is probably what you are not looking for.

To achieve a quality of light similar to this, you might want to just bounce an open face light or fresnel onto a regular size bounce board like 4 ft by 4 ft. It'll produce a light source that is quite similar to this one.

You can use a china ball for the fill light and place it between the actors and above them, place the china ball around the same side as the key light so that you can have a wrapping light quality to the light. That way, you can light both actors with one light because the light is omnidirectional.

The height of the key is quite low and it is near the same height as where the actors are sitting. I know this because of the way that the light fills up the eye sockets and how it casts a shadow on the other side of the face and divides the face evenly in half.

Edited by Ronald Gerald Smith, 05 April 2011 - 09:39 PM.

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