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Good lighting training

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Stephen Smith
Good lighting training
on Mar 6, 2018 at 9:21:38 pm

Anyone recommend any good tutorials on creating nice cinematic lighting?

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Mark Whitney
Re: Good lighting training
on Mar 13, 2018 at 6:42:04 am

Mmm, well, I'm sure there's any number of things to find on YouTube I suppose that cover the technical basics. But to be honest rent, or better yet actually buy some of the classics in Blu-ray so you can go back and r-e-a-l-l-y study them on a decent sized monitor. Don't cheat yourself by trying to watch on your laptop or your phone. Find a scene that really strikes you & freeze frame it & examine what makes it tick. Pick it apart; diagram it & think what it really took to create that look. It might have actually taken a number of 10K's or Brute arcs to light a large set. Pay attention to what changed when the scene has a new angle that you most likely you never noticed when played in real time. Cinema is the art of illusion after all.

As a side note, I'm about to retire from over 20 years working in Hollywood in the set lighting union, many years of commercial photography before that, and I STILL do this. Waiting for my copy of the classic Fritz Lang's “M” to arrive this weekend in fact.

Beyond that, go back & study the real masters such as Rembrandt, DaVinci, Vermeer, etc. as those are the folk that everyone studies who are actually serious about lighting. Remember, there's quite a difference between lighting & illumination.


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Bob Cole
Re: Good lighting training
on Mar 13, 2018 at 7:58:17 pm

I second this question. Although Mark is right to advocate studying the greats, it would also be fascinating to learn just HOW the lighting effects are achieved. I often freeze frame a shot on TV to look at the lighting; but that doesn't tell me as much as I'd like, regarding the sources, distance, filtration, etc.

I sat down once with a friend who had just graduated from the AFI cinematography program. He had a notebook with page after page of hand-drawn lighting diagrams.

Once, when I asked a similar question, perhaps on this forum, one answer was to subscribe to American Cinematographer. I looked at a couple of issues but didn't see the level of detail that I wanted.

But I don't know how relevant the Hollywood approach would be to me. I had an accidental meeting with an eminent Hollywood DP (I was shooting an interview with his daughter), and asked him what lighting instruments he used. He looked puzzled at the very question, before answering, "Everything." With a tone of voice that implied, "of course!!!"

Bob C


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Mark Whitney
Re: Good lighting training
on Mar 14, 2018 at 7:00:44 am

[Bob Cole] "But I don't know how relevant the Hollywood approach would be to me. I had an accidental meeting with an eminent Hollywood DP (I was shooting an interview with his daughter), and asked him what lighting instruments he used. He looked puzzled at the very question, before answering, "Everything." With a tone of voice that implied, "of course!!!""

Ya, we call that "Available Lighting". i.e. every light available!



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