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Showing posts from November, 2017

Turning Day Into Night

Shooting at night is like having a clean slate. A very challenging clean slate. Why do I say it that way? Because as far as the camera is concerned, there is nothing there. We may know there are houses, cars, or trees in that moonlit space around us - but without adjusting the ISO to extremely high (and usually noisy) levels, the camera sees a blank, black canvas. In order to make it come alive, we need to paint with light.
      In the world of big budget films, this means using huge amounts of lumens and wattage to create either a large wash of psuedo-moonlight, or pools of selective light shining on specific parts of the scene. Either way, it means having lots of lighting - and lots of power - at your disposal. Maybe. And maybe not...       There is an age old trick that has been used by Hollywood for decades, and is even seen  in large-budgeted modern films such as Jaws (1976), Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005) and Mad Max Fury  Road (2015) among countless others. In this techn…

Be 'Practical' With Lighting

In Hollywood cinematography, there has been a sea-change over the last thirty years or so, away from "Studio style" lighting setups, to scenes and shots motivated by practical lighting. Gone are the days when a cowboy enters a barn, turns on one single lantern, and is blasted with pure white light coming from 12 different sources. But what does that sentence mean? "Motivating light using practical sources?" It sounds confusing and jargon-esque to the uninitiated. And how does it apply to still photography..?
      To boil it down, "Practial lights" are any light sources that appear in the shot. A lamp. A streetlight. Car headlights. The idea being that if you have a person sitting next to a fireplace, or at a table lit by a lamp, that light source wants to predominate in the shot. So most of the light should look like firelight, or lamplight. And that [lighting] element should be clearly in frame. This does NOT mean that you should always rely solely on t…