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Re: Begind the scenes...

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John Cummings
Re: Begind the scenes...
on Aug 19, 2009 at 2:54:47 am

Today's Chimeras, Kino's and LED's make it very convenient to get beautiful results quickly, with a lot less work.

The "old masters" Dan mentioned certainly had the tools (with a little more work involved) available to them to achive the same "softer" look we see so much today, but you'd have to look pretty long and hard to see an example of a really soft key light used back in the day. I mean sure, they had some diffusion on those keys, but as far as I can tell, they primarily used fill to soften the shadows. In many cases, those DP's might have used a little diffusion behind the lens, as well.

So why the hard light? Was it the film stocks? The high grids in those old studios? Perhaps the desire to "paint" the entire set without all that spill to overcome?

Seems to me that a lot of lighting after the late 60's seems to have come off of the grid (and the ceiling) and onto the floor and through the windows, I suppose to give it a more softly natural, motivated look. Although not too many actors will complain about that, but it sure must complicate things when you have to block out a lot of movement through a jungle of C-stands.

There was indeed something magical about the old look...something about those strong shadows, the deep contrast and the inky blacks. The cool eyelights. And those crisp edges of the backlights and hairlights.

Those old-school guys did amazing things with a lot of heat.

J Cummings

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