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Lighting ideas for filming rock bands music video

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Sebastian Gianino
Lighting ideas for filming rock bands music video
on Oct 13, 2015 at 1:47:29 pm

Hi im gonna be filming a few bands and wanted some ideas for lighting them up cool. The look im going for is something like this and just wanted to know what would be the best lights to use to archive this look. Ill be shooting with canon dslr cameras.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting ideas for filming rock bands music video
on Oct 13, 2015 at 2:56:29 pm

This look you reference is deceptively "simple": Fix your iris manually and let the background lights blow out. But that's not the end of the story.

To keep the foreground person(s) well-exposed, you will need to add front lighting to the performers that is just as bright, or even brighter than the back lights, or your band members will just be in silhouette. That might be achieved with a big bounce board that would reflect those harsh backlights onto the band, but I'm guessing that alone isn't going to be enough. I don't know what they used in the example, it might have been a soft box close to the lens, or a ring light around the lens, a big scrim withe an HMI, or just a whole mess of PARs with diffusion.

If budget is a consideration, you could shoot against green screen or black, and add those blown out backlights in post, which significantly reduces your need for lights and just leaves you with exposing the front of the band members properly. But you're trading time on the set for more time in post, much more, due to having to track the footage and add effects like lens flare, etc. that you'd otherwise get automatically and organically during the original shoot.

Frankly, I thought the sample video was pretty uninspired-looking. I think how I would have approached it would be to light everything with just side-lights, tightly flagged, so the members of the band are half in hard shadow, and half in hot light, with little or no fill, which changes and defines their contours as they bop around in their places. Kind of the same lighting idea as the "Meet The Beatles" album cover, but not static. This look would greatly benefit from adding a fogger or hazer, and this time of year in October, cheap foggers and fluid are easy to get in Halloween stores. Adding a motorized gobo like a propeller to the side lights with fog will add animation and interest to the lighting as well. Some of your camera cutaway shots would be profile looking back into those side-lights, for strong, full-body silhouette shots.

Or another possible technique would be to light using video projectors as the key lights, projecting a mix of color washes and random patterns in time to the music. There is a LOT of dramatic potential for something unusual there, depending on what you decide to project and how you aim and focus it.

Shooting with your DSLR's you'll want to test how their sensors react to strong, blown-out back lights above 100 IRE units. What kind of artifacts do you get: reversed or black hot spots? A vertical line? Then either work out a way to avoid the artifacts, or work them into the visual concept.

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