and digital movie lighting in a fairly methodical way, so that you build an .. I'm always a bit bothered by the folks who seem to feel that filmmaking is some. Basic Cinematography. Prof. that the audience can focus on your film's content and not be distracted by defiinifion of scene = cameras + lights + actors + set + . Masson, CG A Computer Graphics Industry Reference, Digital. HD Aesthetics and Digital Cinematography. 61 Lights, Camera, Algorithm: Digital Photography's Algorithmic Conditions film, giving it more of a sense of quest than analogue or digital video, more of a FormattedPublications/Viola. pdf.
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David Landau - Lighting for musicmarkup.info - Download as PDF File .pdf), used for a wide variety of digital cinema and video production. who can now. Lighting techniques for Kino Flos are pretty much like scene for film or video that looks like what we see in the real world. . of HD and digital studio cameras. cinematography as a specialised field in early cinema. This corresponds with developments in camera technology that enabled accurate framing, lighting and the possibility Format (digital or film and type of cameras used).
Acknowledgements Introduction: No matter how good a camera, good lighting is what sells the picture Chapter 1: The Magic of Light — What lighting does for the image and what light is. Lighting for Cinematography: A Practical Guide to the Art and Craft of Lighting for the Moving Image might have been created as a practicum for a week course in cinematography, but David Landau's study of the art and craft of lighting has something for everyone, from the neophyte to the veteran. Most notably, Landau includes commentary by current practitioners, thus providing an invaluable glimpse into the minds of creative professionals. This is a compelling read for those wishing to improve their craft as well as for those still learning the ropes. Summing Up: Recommended.
By using this selectivity, we can direct the focus of the viewers attention to what we want the viewer to concentrate more on within the picture. The human eye is attracted to whatever the brightest thing is in its view.
Magicians use this to their advantage all the time. A bright flash of light occurs off to one side and everyone looks at it, giving the stage crew enough seconds to hide an elephant and make it appear to disappear yes, its been done. Directors, art directors, and DPs use the same concept.
Art directors will give the actress that is the star a more colorful, brighter, or more sparkly 4 Chapter 1: The Magic of Light costume than the characters surrounding her, thus making her stand out in a crowd. DPs do this with lighting. A great example is Robert Surteess work in The Graduate In one scene, Ben and Mr. Robinson are in the study having a drink, darkly lit, while behind them is the doorway to the foyer, which is bright white. Its the brightest thing in the frame, and Mrs.
Robinson, who has just told Ben she wants to have an affair with him, appears silhouetted in that foyer and slowly walks toward the camera. Ive seen this film many timesI show it in Cinematography class. Its taken me years to be able to remember what Ben and Mr.
Robinson are actually saying. All I ever do is stare past them at that silhouette of Mrs. Robinsonas the viewer always does. Shes not in focus; we cant even see her face. But all eyes are on her as she approaches because shes occupying the brightest part of the frame. The lighting and composition direct the attention of the viewer exactly where the director, a young Mike Nichols, wanted it.
Keeping in mind that the human eye will always be attracted to the brightest thing in the frame, DPs will often try to make the main person or object we want the audience to focus onsuch as one actors face or a weapon in someones hand or the product on a table in a commercialthe brightest thing in the frame.
It might be for only that one shot, but it will selectively focus the viewers attention to that one detail within the picture. Im not saying supernova bright, just slightly brighter, sometimes so slight that the viewer isnt even consciously aware of it.
But everyone working on the project wants to suck viewers into the world being shown onscreenwe want them to feel as if they are looking into another world through a window. We want them to become so engrossed in the story that they feel like they are in the picture themselves. Lighting suggests a belief in the reality of what is on the screen.
We use lighting to deceive the viewer into believing what is happening is real.
We want viewers to forget that what they are watching has already happened a while ago and isnt happening right here and now, and that who they are watching are actors, that the actors are just reciting written lines, and that they are in sets, not real locations. Good lighting renders an illusion of three-dimensionality to a flat screen, making it feel all the more real and making the viewer feel more present.
Lighting does this by providing modeling and depth to an otherwise flat image. The mind rejects pictures that are false and confusing, thus taking the viewer out of the moment and back into the position of sitting looking at a screen. This causes the viewer to separate from the story and examine the image as an image. When this happens, the viewer becomes detached from the story. While viewers certainly can become reengaged, they will not process fully what was going on or being said while their brain was preoccupied with trying to justify the reality of the image.
In order to avoid this, the lighting in the image must look real or natural or at least story- appropriate. Lighting provides logic. The light seems to be coming from natural or logical sources, making us feel we are in real locations. Lighting utilizes light, shadow, color, texture, and angle to give the audience a perspective on the scene taking place.
Shadows must be consistent with the source of the light whether seen or unseen. We must be consistent to maintain believability. And believability is key to getting the audience to suspend disbelief and become involved in the story. In order to maintain an illusion of reality, we will want to light the scene as if it were lit by a motivated light sourcesomething that seems believable, such as a desk lamp, a window, or a fireplace.
Thus, the lighting we use should be consistent with its sourcein color and intensity, texture and angle. This helps the believability of the image, which helps the believability of the story. We live in a visual world and it leaves emotional imprints from visual scenarios. We even say I see what you mean to mean we understand. Lighting allows the viewer to feel the emotional thrust of the image. Dark shadows can create a feeling of loneliness, loss, mystery, or fear, while a bright image can convey happiness.
A warm-color, low-angle light can provide a feeling of comfort or romance, while light coming down from directly above can render a feeling of isolation. Light can convey thought and feelingas directed by the script. Each scene has a mood or atmosphere, and the lighting is crucial in providing that, surrounding and communicating visually to the viewer that feeling.
The same scene, in the same location, with the same lights can be lit so that it is happy, sad, mysterious, romantic, and so on. So we must compose the scene. While much of this is done with blocking and camera framing, lighting also provides compositionstreaks of light can divide the background, highlights can accent something, light and shadow can direct the viewers attention.
All of this is based on the script and the directors vision of the scene. We are asking viewers to watch something we have created, to give us some of the minutes of their limited life span that they will never get back. The least we can do is give them something they enjoy looking at. Light is a certain bandwidth of radiant energy that we can see. White light is composed of all the colors of the spectrum equally mixed. Light can be reflected bounced , refracted bent , filtered colored , and absorbedall things we will do when working with light to create an image.
These are all parts of the physics of light. Understanding how we can utilize and manipulate these aspects of light allows us more control, creativity, and flexibility when crafting with it. In other words, light spreads in all directions as it travels away from its source. As it spreads, it decreases in intensity. We call this the inverse square law. The light intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. In plain English, doubling the distance from the light reduces the illumination to one quarter of its brightness.
We call this the falloff of the light. Why is this important for us to know? First, if we want the subject to be dimmer, we can easily just back up the light, and if we want the subject to be brighter, we can just as easily move forward the light.
Duh, right? Except we have to be aware of how fast the light decreases as we move the light away. We also must keep in mind that the spread of the light will also vary as we move the light closer and farther away. The closer the light, the smaller the spread and the fewer things in the shot that will be illuminated by it. The farther away the light, the wider the spread of light and the more things in the 6 shot that will be lit. Chapter 1: The Magic of Light How can we use this to our advantage?
The farther away we place the light, the wider the spread and the more even the light will be on two or more subjects standing together. If the light is close to them, say only a few feet away, whoever is slightly closest to the light will be significantly brighter in the shot. But if the light is 20 feet away, the one slightly closer to the light will only be a tiny bit brighter than the others. This is why even with todays highly sensitive cameras, feature films and TV shows are using even brighter lights than ever before: 20,watt HMI lights are common on major productions, because if we place the light 50 feet or feet away from the actors, not only will it spread and cover a lot of area, it will be relatively even, since everyone in the shot is so far away from the light to begin with.
Its sort of like the sun. The Earth is so far away, someone standing on the roof of a house isnt really any brighter than the person standing on the ground telling him not to jump. We dont need a 20kW light to take advantage of this aspect of the physics of light. We can do the same thing with a 2,watt light positioned much closer but still far enough away from our subjects so that the difference between the distances of each actor from the source is so relatively small they will look the same in brightness.
This means actors can walk around without getting visibly brighter and darker in the shot, which they would if the lights were set too close. As a matter of fact, its almost impossible to stop it from bouncing. The angle of reflection equals the angle of incidence. Think of it this way: light is like a billiard ball on a pool table; it will bounce off a flat surface in a mirrored angle from the way it hits it.
Thus we can reflect and bounce light into the areas we want it.
We can direct it. This is put to use in almost all lighting units.
Behind the lamp in each fixture is a reflector that bounces light back out the front of the unit, thus increasing the output and brightness of the unit. The important thing to remember here is that all light bounces, which means that light from a single unit will not just bounce off the subject we are trying to light, but will also bounce off the floor beneath the subject and the wall behind him DIAGRAM 1.
And since light is radiant, less direct and low-intensity lightwhich we call spillwill even bounce off the ceiling. This simple fact is something many people seem to forget when looking at lightingespecially theater directors.
They always seem to be shocked that they can see some other parts of the stage or the set even though there is only one light striking the actor. The floor behind the actor reflects the light that is also hitting the actorunless we paint the floor totally black, because black absorbs light we will discuss this in the Light Can Be Absorbed section coming up and reflects up and illuminates some of the set walls, which bounces light off into other areas.
The light gets progressively dimmer the more it bounces, but some of it keeps bouncing, and the human eye can see into very low levels of light. Go outside and look around. Notice how easily you can see under the trees and in the shade around corners of buildings where no direct sunlight is hitting. Why can we see all of this?
After all, we only 7 have one sunone single light source. So shouldnt all of the areas that are not getting direct rays from the sun be pitch-black? The reason it isnt is because light bounces. Light from the sun bounces off the ground and up under the tree, illuminating the shade. Sunlight bounces off the sidewalk, off the street, off the side of buildings. It is also important to realize that sunlight bounces off the sky and off of clouds.
So outside, light is not just coming directly from the sun and from one direction; it is also bouncing off of a wide variety of things and lighting us from a variety of directions. Why is this important to know?
Because if we are shooting someone in the snow, on the sand, or even on a white floor, we often place black cloth down on the ground in front of the person, if its not in the shot, to cut the bounce light off the persons facebecause light bouncing up on someones face can make him or her look unnatural.
If we are trying to make it look like sunlight is coming in through a window, we have to remember that more than just the direct rays of the sun come in through the window. Light bounces in reflected off the sky. Light can bounce in reflected off nearby buildings, trees, or even the ground.
And light bounces up off the floor after it comes in through the window. So if we are trying to design our lighting to look natural and believableto create an illusion of realitywe must light the scene with more than one light aimed in through the window.
Otherwise, the viewers brain will subliminally recognize that something is wrong with the imagesomething isnt true to nature. The viewer may not consciously know why, but he or she will feel that the lighting or image looks fake or amateur.
This is done by sending the light through a lens that bends and focuses the light rays into a tighter beam and out in a straighter line. How can we use this? Lighting units can employ lenses to direct and increase the output of the light. The beam of light from a lighting unit with a lens is more intense and thus travels farther before falling off. We call this the throw of a light. In addition, light is refracted when traveling through almost any piece of glass or any body of water.
This is good to know because it means that the light will drop in intensity and usually change color slightly. All the other wavelengths of light are absorbed. Thats why if you wear a black shirt, you will be warmer in the sun than if you wear a white shirt.
White reflects all wavelengths of light, while black absorbs all wavelengths of light and reflects none. We can use black cloth and black flags to absorb unwanted light and to cut the bounce, as mentioned earlier. We see color because the wavelengths of light that combine to make that hue are reflected by the pigment in the object, while the other wavelengths of light that are in a beam of white light are absorbed.
This is important to remember because if the surface that is bouncing light isnt white, the light bouncing off of it will not be white either. Green light bounces up off of a green lawn, while the other colors of the rainbow are all absorbed by the grass.
This means that if you have an actress in a long, white dress standing in a lush, green, grassy field under bright sunlight, the bottom of her dress might appear a little greenish. And in a close-up, you might see green bounce light under her chin. Green isnt a very flattering color, especially for an actresss skin.
So you might want to position the actress on a bare spot on the ground that is surrounded by the green grass, and when you go in for the close-up, place something black on the ground to stop the green from reflecting upor perhaps a 8 white card to reflect white bounce up. In other words, some color wavelengths of light may be either reflected back or absorbed as the light passes through the material.
Many people call this adding color to the light, but that is actually incorrect. What a gel actually does is filter outor absorball the other wavelengths of light that are not in the color of the gel, only allowing the wavelengths that compose the color of the gel to pass through it. So, we arent adding color; rather, we are subtracting it so that the only color left is the one we see. Because anytime we filter a light, we are decreasing the brightness of the light, since we are cutting out absorbing some of the light.
The richer the color, the more intensity is cut as the more wavelengths of light are absorbed. So if we put a dark blue gel or a bright red gel on a light, its intensity will be greatly diminished. That is something we must keep in mind when lighting and using gels. Filtering isnt limited to color. Diffusion gels change the texture of the light as it passes through the gel. Both color and texture are attributes of light, which brings us to our next subject.
The next sections explore these in detail. Intensity Intensity is the easiest attribute to comprehend. Its the brightness of the light. The amount of brightness coming out of a light unit is measured in lumens. Household light bulbs even have a lumens-per-watt label on them so you can download the lamp that gives you the most light for the least amount of electricity.
Lumens help us determine the efficiency of a lighting unit. In film and video we measure the light illuminating our subject by foot-candles. One foot-candle is the amount of light cast on a subject from a single candle 1 foot away. Technically 1 foot-candle is equal to 1 lumen per square foot. The important thing to remember is that for our purposes the brightness of the light in a scene is measured in foot-candles. And that measurement is what establishes our exposure settings on our camera, which we set in f-stops the aperture opening of the iris on the lens.
We use a light meter to read the foot-candles on a subject. We will go into further detail on this topic in the next chapter. We can adjust and manipulate the intensity of the light coming out of a lighting unit in a wide variety of ways. There are many excellent camera techniques you can implement to achieve this. Take some time to familiarize yourself with great artwork.
The tools of creating powerful images may have changed, but the basic principles have remained the same for hundreds of years. We touched on this a bit in other cinematography techniques, but emphasis never hurt. The overall idea here is to emphasize that taking risks can pay off. If they are calculated ones that you run by others.
Dogmatic cinematography techniques can be detrimental to innovation. Some rules were made to be broken. Your best cinematography might appear when you think out of the box. Pick your spots, of course. If you get too crazy all the time you might have some issues staying employed. And you can see the same mindset at play in online forums and groups where the focus is skewed so heavily towards gear and technical cinematography techniques versus the art of visual storytelling.
Being a cinematographer is as creative as it is technical. Make sure the ideas you bring to the table are grounded in a knowledge of the scripted material.
We know debating fancy new camera and gimbals are fun, but the best DP's aren't just gearheads. DP Gregg Toland kept his depth of field, and used light and shadow to direct the eye, creating a more dramatic look.
Without a focus on how to serve the story, such innovation would have been rendered meaningless. Make notes in your script. Bring up visual suggestions, questions, and ideas. Sometimes a shoulder mounted ENG camera is exactly what a project needs. Get familiar with ALL types of cameras and lenses. Not just the big ticket cinema stuff. Being precise about what you need is one of the most important cinematography techniques you'll develop. Knowing how to achieve the same end goals will make you favorite of producers as well.
Which likely means more jobs. With proper testing, you can see exactly how the camera reacts before you get on set and determine a lot of lighting and shooting strategies beforehand.
You might have learned to do this in film school. Sometimes certain basics fall by the wayside. This is one you should never let that happen to. A well organized shot list is going to be one of your best tools on set.
From there you can spin off new shots, group and sort your shots by type. You can even add pictures from your scout directly into the app, which will create a storyboard you can show your director. Many other cinematography techniques are dependent on your ability to understand and utilize tools like this first! As a shot list example, take a look at how lifestyle and adventure filmmaker Matt Komo planned out a hour film production using StudioBinder's shot list feature.
Ford's cinematic technique: Shoot epic locations like Monument Valley.