How can we get others to see our visions as artists and succeed in the American dream? It comes from a lot of hard work and a lot of dedicated time. Now depending on your profession this will change. In this blog we are interested in filmmaking and succeeding from it. One of these aspects that take a lot of dedicated time is how we utilize lighting in real life situations while filmmaking. Since my last post was about how lighting is important to a film and how to critique it. I figured the next step would be to introduce ways for us as indie filmmakers and photographers to incorporate different lighting techniques into our work.
One technique that we can use will create a hot edge on your subject. “This is when you use a soft (diffuse) light source from the front and a stronger, more directional light from the back” (LAvideoFilmmaker, N/D, Para. 1). With this technique we can always readjust the lights and increase or decrease the brightness to obtain the desired preference. So let’s say we want a more defined edge on the subject. For this we would have to increase the backlight to cast a more pro dominant shadow onto the subject. If this lighting becomes to bright and over powers your camera you can go into your setting and adjust the ISO to a lower setting. Mind you if the ISO is set to a lower setting it will create a higher quality image or video, but requires more light to expose the images to the sensor. Whereas, if the ISO is set to a higher setting it creates an unpleasant image as it will become grainy, but requires less light. So this means that if we have available lighting we should be utilizing it, as this would create extraordinary pieces from us as indie producers with inexpensive gear starting off.
Another way you can create stunning visual techniques is using different colors for lighting. If we’re doing a scene where we are inside and there is a computer screen, yet we are doing an angle from where the computer screen should be. We can replicate the look by using a blue light. They sell gels that you put over lights to give this look or you can even use something that is lying around the house like a sheet. This gives the light something to pass through to give it its color and lowers the potency so it doesn’t look like you have a light directly pointed at the subject. A bonus is that if you have the material available for your use. You can combine the lights so one side of the actor will have a natural inside light while the other side has a blue light. This can create the effect that a door is open and light is seeping in from the outside. If you inquire just a blue lighting effect for your scene, “You can achieve it completely by in-camera, with no color correction in post-production. We did it by using HMI lights and setting the camcorder to a preset…. But essentially the camera was set up more or less on a tungsten balance”(LAvideoFilmmaker, N/D, Para.30). If you want a green hue use fluorescent lights with the camera set to a tungsten balance.
There have been a couple of techniques I’ve used on spot just from experimenting to achieve my vision. One of these is using the focus to your advantage. The camera lens acts as your pupil and closes, as light gets brighter and opens when it dims. So use this to your advantage since this is how you create silhouettes and can manipulate the light to become over-saturated.
In this example I was filming a Public Service Announcement (known as PSA) for distracted driving. This task was particularly difficult since I wasn’t able to move the car due to the school not wanting to be responsible if anything went wrong. So to give the illusion that the car was in motion when it wasn’t I focused my camera inside of the car so that way the light from the outside was over saturated and didn’t allow the outside parked cars to be captured in my video. You can also achieve this by changing the ISO to let in more light, but remember this will downgrade the quality of the image or video. Another technique I have used is using mirrors to bring light into certain areas that I wanted to be highlighted that using a light would have lightened up to much of an area whereas the mirrors can be more focused when used for smaller areas.
LAvideoFilmmaker, (N/D) “Film Lighting Techniques and Tips: With Pretty Pictures!Film Lighting Techniques and Tips: With Pretty Pictures!” [Article], May 13 2014. http://www.lavideofilmmaker.com/filmmaking/film-lighting-tips.html#sthash.untVXO5Z.JwJTi5gP.dpbs
The Matrix Bullet Time. Digital image. Fliwave. N.p., 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 May 2014. <http://cdn.fliwave.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/thematrix11.jpg>.