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How did they light the wide shot

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clyde villegas
How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 16, 2019 at 11:30:48 pm

I'm watching SNL on Youtube and saw this.







How did they light the frontal wide shot? It looks like each person is lit individually, as putting just one big key light on the left to spread over all of them will not make shadows like that (I think).

The lady (wearing yellow jacket) at the far right look like she's getting hit by a key light from the left side. With a shot that wide, how did the light fall on her face nicely when it's too far away?

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Rick Wise
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 16, 2019 at 11:48:08 pm

The chin shadows tell the key story. Hard keys. Plus lots of soft top light. Background darkened with rows of duvetine or cutters. Probably a center key for the 3 center women, and singles for left and right. Classic sit-com high-key lighting. Useful but not to my tastes....

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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clyde villegas
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 17, 2019 at 12:00:10 am

Thanks Rick! What is a better way of lighting this wide? I like the placement of the shadows but I find them too hard.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Rick Wise
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 17, 2019 at 1:11:23 am

Make them soft! Either use soft units, or add diffusion in front of hard. If the latter, the farther away from the lamp you place the diffusion, the softer the shadows will be.

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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clyde villegas
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 18, 2019 at 11:49:35 pm

Thank you, Rick! But diffusion material will cut down the light intensity. We're working as pro-bono volunteers in our church with limited budget. The lights that we have are not strong enough to lit the subject from afar with a diffuser in the middle. I guess we need to convince them to buy more powerful lights.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Mark Suszko
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 22, 2019 at 4:04:54 pm

A simple diagram of the space you're using and a list of the type and kind of instruments you have, might help generate some ideas. It would help to know how close or obtrusive you can get the lights to the talent, for example, what the "throw" distances are, how high the ceilings, and if the lights need to stay hidden or can go on a truss, even how much power you have available. We might come up with a better way to use what you already have.

But like the drag racers say: "there's no substitute for cubic inches", in lighting "there's no substitute for more lumens".

SInce your place is a House of Worship, your budget's are modest; I get that. You should be scouting for used instruments on ebay, mccom, places like that. The lighting industry has gone thru a revolutionary period the last few years and a lot of folks wanting to get with new technology got rid of or are getting rid of older, yet reliable gear that's still perfectly serviceable for certain applications like yours. I'm specifically thinking of fresnel spots and ellipsoidals that can be converted to LED-powered sources, or used as-is.


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Todd Terry
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 17, 2019 at 1:26:02 am

What Rick said.

Remember this is SNL, where they have a crazy CRAZY production schedule (also access to about 972 lighting instruments already in the grid in studio 8H).

All the sets used in an episode of SNL are located in one of two places... most of the sets go up during commercial breaks, and are located on "home base," in front of the band where the host stands for his or her monologue. There is a secondary location just stage left of home base down on the deck level where sets sometimes go.

I'm a big SNL fan and have sorta studied how their production happens for quite a while...

Usually the very first time these sets go up is Saturday afternoon... just a few hours before dress rehearsal. The rundown isn't even finalized by that point and it doesn't give a whole lot of time for finesse lighting, especially when multiple sets go in the same space in the span of 90 minutes.

SNL gets a lot of criticism sometimes ("I remember when that show used to be good" etc.), but I think it's a miracle that they pull it off three times a month, especially when they don't really start working on a show for Saturday until Wednesday.

Here are a couple of videos that make me tired just watching them....

Here's a timelapse of an entire show... pretty amazing to see the crew at work and all the sets going in and out...

https://www.nbc.com/snl/exclusives/snl-backstage/video/2771661

Here's a neat video about the Chapman crane that lives on that stage...
https://www.nbc.com/snl/exclusives/snl-backstage/video/3859465

What I think are even more amazing are the remote film pieces (commercial or movie parodies, etc.), in addition to the live show. The director doesn't even know about these until usually Wednesday afternoon or even Thursday morning. Yet they manage to find locations, build sets, create wardrobes, and turn out some pretty amazing stuff. The film unit doesn't get a lot of sleep for about three days, and often the pieces are still being edited when the show starts.

https://www.nbc.com/snl/exclusives/snl-backstage/video/3859465

https://www.nbc.com/snl/exclusives/snl-backstage/video/2759817

https://www.nbc.com/snl/exclusives/snl-backstage/video/3719054

Good show or bad, I'm always impressed with what they do in the time they do it.

T2

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



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clyde villegas
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Feb 18, 2019 at 11:51:14 pm

Thanks for sharing these, Todd.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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chris pike
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Mar 2, 2019 at 7:37:13 pm

I have a related question. I have to light a shot about the same width. I have some natural window light, but the room is dim. I own exactly two new 500 bulb daylight LED panels. Two panels is about 15% of what I would need to it properly, but it is all I have. Will two panels create an uneven lighting that is worst than no panels at all? Is it even worth setting the panels up?


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Rick Wise
Re: How did they light the wide shot
on Mar 2, 2019 at 7:47:43 pm

So try and find out! You own the panels. Put them up and see..... There's no better way to learn than by doing.

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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