About low key lighting

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  • #215519

      I’m following an online cinematography course for beginners and, while the teacher is giving a lot of interesting inputs on a lot of subjects, on one point caused me a bit of doubts, about histograms (in that lesson he was not using a lightmeter). If I did not misunderstand – and it’s possible i simply didn’t understand his point – he suggested to aim for a quite balanced histogram when shooting (not a perfectly flat one , of course), to give the sensor  a lot of informations in both shadows and highlights, then adjust the values in post production to get a low key or high key effect. According to the teacher the other way round (shooting from beginning  a low key scene for example) would make color correction and grading more complicated, since the sensor would have received informations in fewer areas in the shot and that would give less freedom in post production. While I see the logic behind this approach, I’d say that correctly exposing the scene and shooting it as it’s planned (low key or key etc) , in other words taking a decision from the beginning, would help in creating the desired look for the scene. I see myself aimlessy wandering during the grading step if the shot should allow me too much freedom…
      What’s your point of view about this subject?

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    • #215575

        At ISO 400 instead of ISO 800 on the Alexa, you still get the same dynamic range, about 14.5-stops, it’s just that you’ve added more one stop of shadow detail in exchange for losing one stop of highlight detail, plus there is less noise overall.

        So the latitude you’ve added is all in the shadow region. But considering how good the Alexa is in terms of highlight detail, often you can get away with that 1-stop overexposure.


          Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge! 🙂

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