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Classic lighting reading resources


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#1 Jay Young

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:19 PM

I am having a frustratingly difficult time finding resources about classic lighting techniques involving large tungsten units.  One would think in the last 100 years of cinema that someone would have written something down. 

 

Every search about 10k fresnels brings up an article about the new Mole-Richardson LED, which is lovely, but not what I am after. 

 

Does anyone have any recommended reading about lighting techniques before the HMI was invented?  I've got plenty of resources from the 1920's forward, which are very interesting, but nothing about techniques in the 50's - 80's.   I'm more interested in the techniques of making hard light look soft, from those masters of lighting we have lost in the past several years. These resources seem the most difficult to find. 

 

Any suggestions are appreciated. 

 

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 02:48 PM

"Film Lighting" by Malkiewicz is a good start, the first edition was written in the mid-1980's, the update in the mid-2000's.  "Painting with Light" by Alton is very old but covers classic hard lighting.


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#3 Edward Lawrence Conley III

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 03:11 PM

You can get Painting with Light at the Library :)

 

http://catalog.lexpu...=[]&audience=[]

 

 

 

 

 

Shelf Location at Central Library  Collection Shelf Location Status Adult NonFiction 779.5343 Al79p 1995  Checked In

Edited by Edward Lawrence Conley III, 16 May 2017 - 03:12 PM.

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#4 Matthew Kane

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 04:42 PM

Watching films is a great way to absorb the style of a given period. Is there a particular style you want to replicate?

 

Don't overthink it too much--you can see from any screengrab where they placed the fixtures, and a lot of the techniques they pioneered have become cliches of studio lighting today.

 

If we're talking about golden age hollywood, they often used the direct light of a fresnel lamp, rather than bouncing or pushing it through dense diffusions. It can be quite difficult to replicate that look on location today, without the luxury of wild walls or an overhead studio grid. You'll notice even in glamour photos of actresses that the shadows under their nose and cheekbones are often quite sharp.

 

Art direction, makeup, and camera work also have a lot to do with the look, maybe even more than particular lighting techniques.

 

You can get a  "soft" lighting effect by carefully balancing two hard sources, with one wrapping around to the camera side of the scene.

 

A large fresnel lamp has a certain quality of light that can often be approximated with a light diffusion like opal frost in front of a smaller head (like a baby or junior).


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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 06:41 PM

I second 'Film Lighting' by Kris Malkiewicz.

Also:

'Motion Picture and Video Lighting' by Blain Brown
'Masters of Light' by Dennis Schaefer and Larry Salvato
'Reflections' by Benjamin Bergery
'New Cinematographers' by Alexander Ballinger
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#6 Jay Young

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 05:44 AM

Great resources, thanks! 

 

I already own the Malkiewicz book, but perhaps I should seek out the first edition, as I have the latest printing.

 

I've been reading up on Doug Slocombe, Geoffrey Unsworth, and John Allcott as they lit some of my favorite films.  I'll look into these other books as well. 


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 07:04 AM

You don't need the earlier edition, everything in the first is in the second edition.
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