Jump to content


Photo

Low Key Lighting


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 juanwj

juanwj

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Student

Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:26 AM

Hi!

 

I'm still completely new to the concept of lighting. Anyway, I'm planning to shoot a short video in a studio that has a black backdrop and am leaning towards the direction of low key lighting.

 

The picture below is basically the set up, where there are 2 actors (and a table in between them) facing each other in front of a black backdrop. The cameras are the possible positions in which my camera will be placed and directed at.

2mot6dc.jpg

 

In this specific situation, how and where should I position my lights? Also, digressing a little bit, any recommendations of a camera that shoots well in low-key lighting settings and the camera settings (e.g. exposure, apertue, iso etc)?

 

Much thanks for all the advice!


  • 0




#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18983 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 October 2013 - 02:06 PM

Moody, low-key lighting doesn't necessarily mean low LEVEL lighting.  You can light a shot with a 10K and expose so that the image looks quite dim.

 

With such an abstract black setting, what sort of lighting do you want?  Seems like a very theatrical situation, a black limbo.

 

Are all three cameras shooting at once using the same lighting set-up?


  • 0

#3 Jorge Alarcon Swaby

Jorge Alarcon Swaby
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • Hollywood, CA

Posted 30 October 2013 - 02:23 PM

Moody, low-key lighting doesn't necessarily mean low LEVEL lighting.  You can light a shot with a 10K and expose so that the image looks quite dim.

 

With such an abstract black setting, what sort of lighting do you want?  Seems like a very theatrical situation, a black limbo.

 

Are all three cameras shooting at once using the same lighting set-up?

 

Like David said, your low-key lighting doesn't necessarily mean low level lighting. 

 

But I'm assuming you won't have access to big lights or much of budget for this. Maybe I'm wrong but I'll make that assumption. 

 

Looking at your design, the first thing I would do is separate the table and the actors from the background (hopefully you have the space to do so). By doing that, you will give your shot more depth and also have the space to add practical lights in the back. Also think about adding some practical lights on the table itself, for example candles or if there is an actual dinning room chandler, then thats even better. Make sure you use dimmers or lower wattage bulbs so the lights match in terms of light output and some are not overexposed. 

 

Afterwards take a look at your wide shot with all the practicals on, and  from there start adding lights as you feel is necessary. 

 

I would also recommend that you stay on long lenses when you shot the individually coverage of each subject, I would say 50mm or above, preferably 85mm. Of course only if you have the space available to do so. 


Edited by Jorge Alarcon Swaby, 30 October 2013 - 02:24 PM.

  • 0

#4 juanwj

juanwj

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Student

Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

Well apparently, these are the equipments in the studio that are available by default:

Elinchrom BXRi 500 x4;

Elinchrom 66cm Portalite Softbox x2;

Elinchrom 70cm Matte Silver Beauty Dish x1;

Elinchrom 21cm Reflector with Barndoors x2;

Set of 20/30 degree honeycomb grids;

Fomex 1m Octa Softbox x1;

Fomex 80x120cm Recta Softbox x1;

Fomex 30x170cm Strip Softbox x1;

Snoot x1; 

5-in-1 reflector disc x1;

Elinchrom Skyport Speed Transmitter x1;

Sekonic 308S Lightmeter x1;

PC sync to 3.5mm jack sync cord x1

 

Well. I'm looking at perhaps something similar to this (lighting-wise):

 

2j5jcc1.png

 

It is basically a dining scenario in my case with the picture in the first post, where the subjects will be eating.

 

@David: There will only be 1 camera at any one time. Those are the possible locations of the camera that will be on a tripod :) There will also be close up shots of the subjects' mouth, hands etc.

@Jorge: Do you mean moving them further away from the backdrop?

 

Also, would a canon 5d ii be an overkill for such a video shot?


Edited by juanwj, 30 October 2013 - 09:10 PM.

  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 18983 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

Why would a 5D be overkill?

 

If the angles are shot separately, then there's no reason not to bring the side camera into more of an over-the-shoulder angle, you just have to rotate the table & chairs & actors to keep black behind them.

 

Those lights you listed must be still camera strobes, they don't sound like movie lamps.


  • 0

#6 Mike Bao

Mike Bao
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:07 AM

Do you like that lighting juanwj?

I have not read the latest edition of Cinematography by Malkiewicz and David Mullen, but in the old edition there was a lighting set up exactly like this.

2 lights serving as key and backlight at the same time. Practical candles(lamp),maybe augmented with top source? in the middle of the table, bit of fill from the camera side.
 

 


Edited by Mike Bao, 31 October 2013 - 06:07 AM.

  • 0

#7 Stephen Selby

Stephen Selby
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 79 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:30 AM

If you want something like the photo you've posted you want a hard light on the ceiling - the shadows and black eye sockets suggest a single overhead source. Personally I don't like it . If you want it moody you may be better lighting from a low angle like in film noir. Make sure the black screen is as big as you can get. Black velvet from a material shop will do the job - but you want to keep your actors a fair distance away from the black background. I would suggest using a little rim light to seperate them from the background - unless you want that effect of underlit areas merging into the background. What are your characters doing - perhaps a table lamp will give you a moody feel. If you want moody study some of Joseph Wright of Derby:

 

An_Experiment_on_a_Bird_in_an_Air_Pump_b


  • 0


Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Zylight

Abel Cine

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Pro 8mm

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Quantum Music Works

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Pro 8mm

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Quantum Music Works

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Zylight

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products