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Which do you prefer....

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Harry Pallenberg
Which do you prefer....
on Jan 28, 2015 at 5:08:30 am

Seems like 90% of the infinite white shots I see have no face shadows - like on the left.
Why? The pic on the right probably has a bit too hard a nose shadow - but a bit softer
might be ok?



Thanks,
Harry

Forum Cowmunity Leader: Indie & Doc

Current Projet: Where They Raced
http://www.wheretheyraced.com
http://www.harrypallenberg.com



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Todd Terry
Re: Which do you prefer....
on Jan 28, 2015 at 5:23:11 am

In this type of setup, I personally like some shadows/modeling. I've tried the total-no-shadows look using a ringlight, but except for high-fashion stuff it just looks wrong to me.

That being said, I don't like those shadows on the above right example. I don't mind the quantity (or degree) of shadows, I don't like the quality. Of course it depends on the application and the mood one is going for, but in most instances for my taste those shadows are much too hard. I'd use a much larger key light (or a 4x4 bounce for the key, or something big like that). You'd get more or less the same degree of shadows (same ratio of light to dark), but they would be much softer.

Not that I think these are all that great, but here's a couple of examples from spots we did....

http://fantasticplastic.com/portfolio/news018.html
http://fantasticplastic.com/portfolio/news023.html

The first one isn't a true infinite/limbo environment, it's on a set... but it is a pure white set and I think the same thoughts apply.

So in general, I do like some shadows, but I tend to like them quite soft.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Which do you prefer....
on Jan 28, 2015 at 2:47:12 pm

I would first want to know what the unspoken emotional context of the shot is supposed to be, before choosing. The shadowed version looks like you're going for a Rembrandt-type lighting angle, but it's a wee bit "off" from that, and it could be a bit softer. It does however have a more slimming effect, if that makes a difference.

http://digital-photography-school.com/6-portrait-lighting-patterns-every-ph...



For me, it's all about the semiotics, the unspoken visual symbology that adds a layer of context to the shot. The flatter, fully-revealed lighting from the front, suggests openness, honesty, candor, joy, even as it is secretly hiding minor wrinkles. Shadows can imply evasion or secretive motivation, less-happy emotions, etc.

This goes back to the lighting angle exercises you did in school, like lighting from underneath to make people scary, etc.

http://lowel.tiffen.com/edu/foundations_of_lighting.html

Almost every lighting angle can suggest a particular emotional state. You don't want that non-verbal cue to clash with the actual message.


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Rick Wise
Re: Which do you prefer....
on Jan 28, 2015 at 6:28:17 pm

As Mark points out, context is everything. What "look" best reinforces the message?

When we play with shadows, we are adjusting a couple of parameters: direction of the shadow, and the hardness-softness ("quality.") In the first posted query and examples, for the kid on the right, the key is at the same height as the kid's face, so the shadows go straight screen left. Usually (but not always) it's more pleasing to raise the key so that now the shadows are driven down at an angle. Note for the Rembrandt-patch look, the key is approximately 45 degrees above horizontal, and 45 degrees away from the direction the actor is facing. Much depends on the shape of the face. When done correctly, the shadow side of the face is mostly in shadow with just a patch of light into the eye on that side. If the actor is looking into the lens, the key can be on either side of the camera. If the actor is looking camera left, the key is 45 degrees further to the left. Etc.

After deciding on direction, the cinematographer can dose the hardness-softness of the key. For talent, a very soft key is far more pleasant than a hard one. Most interviews (but not all) look best with a very soft key. Sometimes (but not always) an angled slash or three of hard light across the chest works well. Etc.

After deciding on direction and quality, the cinematographer goes on to how much fill? backlight? lights on the background?

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Dennis Size
Re: Which do you prefer....
on Jan 29, 2015 at 3:52:41 am

BINGO! Mark nailed it. The subtext and emotional reactions that viewers have to darkness and shadow, or brightness and highlight, is the reason we have jobs!
DS



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Harry Pallenberg
Re: Which do you prefer....
on Jan 29, 2015 at 8:15:53 pm

Thanks all. Going with shadow (not as hard)... painful emotional subject - but want to leave people with uplifting feeling.

Thanks,
Harry

Forum Cowmunity Leader: Indie & Doc

Current Projet: Where They Raced
http://www.wheretheyraced.com
http://www.harrypallenberg.com



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