Light for contrast first, color second.

            Contrast – the placing of differing values between light and dark – is generally the more dominant of the two when it comes to creating mood.  

            Color will strengthen or weaken the effect of contrast according to how it’s applied.  At the same time, audiences will more readily notice shot-to-shot shifts in contrast than that of color.

            Color-contrast in an image uses the best traits of each to enhance the other.

            Train your eye to use contrast and color as expressive tools when lighting your sets.   Small differences in each can have tremendous meaning, and it’s up to you to use that to your advantage.


2 thoughts on “STUDENT QUICK TIP #22”

  1. Same rule applies to color-correction – make contrast adjustments first, color second, because contrast affects color. Contrast affects sharpness too so can affect lens + diffusion choices, especially if you are hazing the set.
    Of course, the other thing that affects color choices in lighting is the set & costume colors — before I figure out how to light a nightclub/bar location, I have to find out from the production designer what the dominant colors will be in the set dressing because I don’t want to be fighting to create an overall cool blue look if the PD is going to dress everything in red curtains and red leather booths. In that scenario, you have to decide how much color contrast you want to create because you don’t want to go overboard with clashing color schemes either.

  2. David – You are magnificently correct! But I’m saving your thoughts for a separate post…

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