Studio Lighting

Simple and Practical Skills for Studio Lighting

As an important means of modeling, lighting plays an important role in conveying information, expressing emotions, setting off atmosphere,

characterizing characters and psychological changes. It affects the formation of the film tone and film style, with the film tone to form the relationship of unity of opposites, and with other modeling methods combined to show the rhythm and melody of the film.

1. The role of light in the film

In film and television production, lighting can foil the atmosphere, highlight the image, reflect the character’s psychology, and also can affect the mood of the audience. Lighting control is an important part of film and television production. The lighting in film and television scenes is different from that in the real world. In order to achieve the desired effect, it is usually necessary to set up a lot of lights, such as the number, position, color, brightness, attenuation, shadow and rendering Settings. Therefore, the importance of lighting in film and television production cannot be questioned.

  • Action still of The Lord of the Rings

  • Film stills of atonement

2. The emphasis of lighting

This is the easiest way to highlight the subject from the background. When shooting, we only let the subject light, and let the background submerged in the dark, our eyes will naturally be the first to be attracted by the bright subject, so that the figure stands out from the background.

Stand out from the group: this is the most expressive level. In a group, who is the brightest (darkest) is the most conspicuous. For example, in a scene of the German film tin drum, there are three people. The one in the middle is especially bright, so he steals the audience’s eyes.

The effect of lighting on audience’s emotions: as a means of artistic expression, lighting and tone also reflect emotions. Such as the beginning of the American film “the godfather”, the yard is sunny, cheerful Italian folk songs to stir the singing and dancing crowd, bright tone filled with the warm atmosphere of the wedding ceremony. Meanwhile, the room was dark. The godfather was talking to his family about a series of killings and a “business” with a suffocating undertone.

  • Film still of  The Godfather

3. Basic three-point lighting skills

(1) the main light

Light source: it is usually the main light source in the scene, and we will use it as a reference for color temperature and intensity to set other lights. If the color temperature of the main light is 5000K, the color temperature of other lights is roughly the same as that of the main light and the intensity is lower than that of the main light. I usually use a soft light source because it makes the subject look better.

Position: the larger the Angle of the main light to the camera, the larger the volume of the subject and the more dramatic it is visually, so what you need to consider here is how you want to feel.

Height: if we shine light from below, it will create an unnatural and horrible effect. If we raise the light 45 degrees above the subject, there’s a good transition on the face, a good body feel.

(2) auxiliary light

Function: the function of auxiliary light is to balance the main light, illuminate the shadow left by the main light.

Position: usually we want to position it in a position that is complementary to the main light, which will balance the shadow left by the main light. If you move to a different location, the shadow will appear in another area.

Intensity: when we talk about the relationship between the secondary light and the primary light, we’re really talking about the light ratio. When you adjust the secondary light intensity, you need to think about what you want to express and how you want to feel. So try to adjust the balance between primary and secondary light until you see the right effect.

(3) outline the light

Effect: the effect of contour light is to separate the main body from the background, especially when the main body has dark hair, skin, clothes, the background is very dark, they tend to mix into one.

Position: we try to stay away from the subject at the back, be careful not to see lights or lamp holders in the lens, and be careful not to illuminate the subject’s face as we move sideways.

Intensity: the stronger the outline light, the more layered it will be, but it will not look natural. Lower intensity outline light, will feel more natural.

(4) the background light

Function: background light is used to illuminate the background. We use this light to control the coordination between the background and the subject.

Intensity: if you lighten the background too much the background will be very bright, diverting attention from the subject, but without the background the background will be lifeless.

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