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Upstage and Downstage Lighting

upstage downstage lighting

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#1 Nik Vasilic

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 05:08 PM

Hey guys, first time posting on this site after browsing the forums for a couples months.

 

I have a student project coming up in about a month, and the location I'm planning on shooting at is set up in a way that for the majority of the scene I'd be lighting downstage. I understand why you shoot from upstage, so that the shadows end up on the side of the subject facing the lens, ultimately making a more flattering image. But here's the problem...

 

What's motivating the light for the scene is one giant window that also serves as one of the four walls of the room. The location is a sunroom (not sure if the term is made up or not) in a house, and is already furnished so I'd be blocking the scene according to rooms current layout.

 

I just wanted to know if anyone has experience lighting this way or knows of any examples where downstage lighting has been done successfully, or if I should just avoid lighting this way at all costs.

 

I hope this post made sense and that I haven't filled it with a bunch of unnecessary text  :wacko:


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 05:17 PM

You're saying that the camera has to be in the window side of the room looking back into the room, therefore in front light? If so, how will the audience know that the off-camera wall has a window? Will you ever see it in coverage? Is this a room with a lot of available daylight to factor in?
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 05:52 PM

Hi Nik, I find your explanation rather confusing. Can you post an overhead diagram of the room, where you want the actors, and where the various camera angles will be? That would help tremendously.
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#4 Nik Vasilic

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 06:24 PM

Yeah, figured I should've added a floor plan...

 

I attached a pic, bare with my MS Paint skills. When I go for the shot of Subject A and B, I'll be lighting downstage. The left side of the room has no light source, everything's coming from the right side of the room. It seems really trivial, but its just something I thought of when blocking.

Attached Images

  • Floorplan.png

Edited by Nik Vasilic, 11 September 2015 - 06:25 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 06:34 PM

Seems fine -- the 50/50 2-shot will be side-lit, when A faces B in his close-up, he will be back / edge lit by the window, and when B faces A in his close-up, he will be front lit.  I don't see a problem with one of the close-ups ending up front lit.  You can create some contrast in various ways, either by having the background behind the head fall-off, especially along the top of the wall, a soft topper cut, or by having a hard window pattern rake the room so that the front lit person has shadow patterns on them (blinds, window frames, tree branches, etc.) or that the hard light rakes their lower half and the face is in a softer dimmer light, maybe with a hot square of sunlight in the corner of the frame in the far background, etc.

 

You can always cheat the close-up of the person facing the window to bring the light less straight-on, could be more 3/4 frontal instead.

 

Here is an example of someone facing the light source, a glass patio door behind camera:

 

90M12.jpg

 

I know I had some background windows, but in this case the lighting on the foreground is 3/4 frontal, but I created some contrast by having a hot slash of sunlight.


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#6 Nik Vasilic

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 06:57 PM

Thanks David. I really appreciate the response, you've given me a lot to think about over the coming month. 


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