FACTORS THAT WILL INFLUENCE HOW YOU LIGHT, PART 2

Be sure to see last Tuesday’s posts for the first five points I addressed!

6. The speed of your lenses…

Obviously, using a T4 zoom will influence the way you light in a way quite different from a T1 prime!

7. The amount of control you have over image post-processing…

The tools that available to us in the DI suite can enhance our lighting on set and save precious time when necessary; they can also correct certain mistakes.  As for power windows, I don’t know how we ever lived without them!  It will behoove you to establish a strong relationship with the director and producers so that you’ll be afforded as much freedom in the completion of your work as possible.

8. Rig lights, light from the floor – or don’t light at all…

Sometimes you’ll be faced with a location in which attaching anything to the walls or ceiling is strictly forbidden.  In others, you won’t even be permitted to light from floor stands.  Those cases call for a strong stomach – and ingenuity in your lighting approach.  Clearly, you won’t have free rein to do whatever you like!

9. The amount of available light…

Windows, skylights and any opening in the architecture that lets light into the set area must be controlled.  Sometimes you can make them work for you, other times they’ll give you fits.  The fact that the earth is rotating at 17,500 mph means that sky conditions change appreciably every fifteen minutes, so the issue must be addressed.  This applies to day\exterior situations as well.

10. Your level of prep…

Nothing will have a greater effect on the success of your lighting than the amount of time you spend preparing to meet the conditions you’ll face.  This doesn’t just mean the hours spent consulting with the director and the explorations of the location scout.  It also implies the time you put in studying and honing your craft when you’re not working.  If you’re doing it right, being a cinematographer is a full-time occupation; in a sense, you’re never off duty.  Your mind should always be processing the things you see and trying to figure out how to best recreate those impressions in service of a story.  If you can show up on the job every day with that sort of commitment to what you’re doing, I assure you the positive results will show in your lighting!

11.30.2021

3 thoughts on “FACTORS THAT WILL INFLUENCE HOW YOU LIGHT, PART 2”

  1. Regarding #8 — Floor Stands. Be sure you have a bucket full of crutch and cane tips (rubber covers) and tape to secure them if necessary. This may save you when the location is sensitive about floors and you really want to put a light ‘over there’ on a stand…

  2. Josh – I wish it were so simple. I must’ve shot in 100 locations where NO movie lights were permitted regardless of how many buckets of crutch and cane tips were on hand! Layout board is also an option, but once again, only if the location owners permit it.

  3. Richard, I concur, it, all too often, isn’t that simple. There certainly are locations that are ultra sensitive but I’ve (on occasion) been able to convince an owner/manager that crutch tips will protect the floor and my crew is skilled in insuring property is unharmed. Had I not had those on hand the lighting might have suffered. Insurmountably, no but it’s often little things that save the day. Scouting is critical especially when locations pose restrictions. It gives me time to come up with viable solutions.

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