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Advise on which lights to choose for a high-school classroom scene?


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#1 Albert Prior Fell

Albert Prior Fell

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 09:33 PM

As a newbie director I'm shooting a scene soon that takes place within a high school classroom. I know exactly all the elements I want and need except lighting because while I know (and have access to) different lights and technologies - I'm a novice when it comes to lighting and not 100% sold on what I should choose for my lighting plan to give my DP. Any opinions or recommendations are welcome provided you have a reason.

It's INT.DAY so I thought Daylight H.M.I's might work well, but would Tungsten HMI's be a better choice to get a classroomy aesthetic? I'm just curious... usually the overall aesthetic of a classroom can change depending on the mood (sometimes yellow, sometimes neutral/white/blue) and how old the students are. The uniforms will be white and so are the walls. The walls have colourful posters, the desks are light/medium brown and there are some nearby classroom elements like a bookshelf, white board, filing cabinet, clock, multiplication tables etc.

For my wide shot of extras/character I'm thinking maybe a soft cyclorama or an Open Face hard light, so it illuminates the background extras, wall elements and set dressing. At the moment I'm steering more toward the Hard light choice because while not everything is in focus, I still want to emulate a daytime classroom so I'd like everything to be illuminated.

While I'd like to have a more yellowy tone I'm afraid that if they're all wearing white, colour reflection and mixture of palettes might look weird and wrong. For my closer shots and for the key and fill lights (MS, MCU, LA) I thought maybe some hard HMI's or Fresnels but I'm really not sure which would work best in creating a high school setting. Many people say "Use anything" which is a true point but seeing as how I have access to different types of lights I think being selective is more reasonable. Keep in mind this is shot in a studio too, so controlling light is a lot easier.

If you can offer me any advise on which lights YOU would choose that'd be cool.
I'd just like a few perspectives on this so I can take them into account to eventually make my own decision, cheers.

Please note: I realise it's often the DoP who chooses all the lights, filters and technical cinematographic elements to support the directors vision but seeing as how this is a student film and we're both novices I'd like to learn more by working with him to choose the lights and other various elements.
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