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How to Light Fast


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#1 Deji Joseph

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 06:54 AM

I'm working on a project that has a fairly large shot list to get through in a day. My general plan for it in steps with descending priority is

1. Use the Natural Existing light as a start
2. Add key
3. Catch/eye light
4. Fill
5. Background light
6. Backlight
7. Hairlight

Is this a good idea, and does anyone have any tips or advice?

Many thanks,

Dj
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 07:06 AM

It really depends on the subject matter and nature of the project, but if you've got a tight schedule and a lot of shots keeping it simple is best. You want consistency, so don't add things to the lighting that you can't keep the same in every shot. Start on the wide shots and work into the closer shots.
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#3 Martin Hong

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:39 PM

eye light? what for?
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#4 Deji Joseph

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 02:10 PM

eye light? what for?


It gives the the eye specular reflection to prevent "dead eyes" and makes it easier for the audience to empathize with the character
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#5 Paul Brenno

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 12:56 PM

the BEST thing to do with lighting is light for your story, but not for your reel !!!
it is great to hve key/fill and backlight, if you can light for atmosphere, great.....
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#6 Jaron Berman

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 09:02 PM

The best way to light quickly is to do your homework BEFORE getting on set. The more you know about your locations, times of day, actors, shot lists etc the more you can do the pre-pro side of things. Sure, it's possible to walk into a location and start slinging lights around, but knowing where the sun is related to the windows, how long the scene is supposed to last, etc can help immensely - but it takes doing some research beforehand. And that includes a long chat with your director to make sure you know how much coverage he/she expects. If he/she wants to do a 7 minute moving master, and it takes 20 takes.... How are you going to maintain light direction and intensity? If you know this beforehand, you will be way faster on set because it won't be a stressful rush - you knew it would happen and planned for it.

Also, what's the project? Is it a slick/glossy music video? There's a LOT of glamour lighting on your list. Lighting is about creating mood and depth in the frame- you don't necessarily need back and hair light to create depth if you use color or tone contrasts between foreground characters and background. A person with dark hair will naturally separate from a white or light colored background.

When I'm trying to work quickly my first question is "what do I get for free?" a lot of times I'm working in locations that are chosen for the way they look and I'm not trying to ruin that mood... So I start with the background and add/subtract light as necessary to make it feel, to my eye, the way it feels in real life. Adding key is fairly easy and easy to balance from there, so I tend to key last. As for eye lights- unless you have your key/keys super super high and close to your subjects, or your subjects have incredibly deep eye sockets, I find them to be really annoying - essentially you're just a dding another shadow you have to control. The eye is a hemisphere, it'll reflect anything it sees- so as long as your key is low enough of an angle to your subject, it'll sparkle nicely. If you need the eyelight as a frontal fill (like an Obie), that's a matter of taste, but it usually looks like exactly what it is. Which brings up my next point-

If speed is key, don't shy away from blocking carefully. If you simply can't adequately light an enormous space in the time allotted, or you can't find a good place to stick a light but you do have some framing flexibility, try working with the director to get your players to land in good spots/face the way you need- if it's justified by the story and helps you place lights. A key light for one character can, with some blocking., shift into another role if the character moves. Or cross-keying 2 characters you can use the bottom of each beam to hair light the other character. That's 2 units doing the work of 4- if you can hit the marks it's 2 units faster.

Edited by Jaron Berman, 04 September 2011 - 09:04 PM.

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#7 robert duke

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:29 PM

preproduction
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 04:26 PM

preproduction


Pre-production and experience. :)


For instance, during Fast Five, I was lighting interviews with cars behind the actors in fairly large spaces. I've shot more than a few cars in my twenty years so I've gotten to the point where I can rough in lights fairly close to where they need to be before Picture Cars Dept can bring them in to my set. Just minor tweaking after that, which comes from experience shooting lots of cars and knowing what lights look best and where to put them. That allows me to get set up quickly and shooting which makes my Producers happy so they keep hiring me. :)
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Glidecam

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Wooden Camera

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