Lighting a High School Library with Limited Resources!

Posted on by

Home Forums Lighting Lighting a High School Library with Limited Resources!

  • Creator
  • #213958

      My brief: Four teenagers in conversation at a table in a busy high school library, daytime. Lens preference is 50mm to capture the whole group from the POV of someone sitting several tables away. We’ll appreciate it’s a busy library, soft focus bookshelves in b/g of shots, but not see too much detail of the room. Mood needs to be positive, the lighting should feel realistic and believable, and the talent must be flatteringly lit.

      The location: Ground floor library at the bottom of a lightwell (some soft daylight from windows in the roof of the mezzanine above). Slim horizontal windows in the library provide almost no additional natural light, and when the fluorescents are off the room is near in darkness. Furnishings are all dark/drab. There’s an added weird softlight being provided by a retro tungsten light fitting hanging in the centre of the room.

      My problem: If I were shooting a gritty drama about bullying in an urban school, I’d not change much here… but this location needs to look far more inviting and friendly! So, my challenge is how to attractively light the four teens at the table without looking like the scene is taking place in a pool of artificial film light in a room with an ugly mix of other conflicting light sources. NB: I have full access to the mezzanine level above and can clamp lighting to the railings.

      My available kit: 2x Amaran 200D with softboxes, Arri M8 HMI, KinoFlo 4-Bank, 1ft flexible LED flyball and boom, pair of old Arri 300, a random 650w fresnel, Arri 2K blonde, two 4×4 skylite bounce kits, plenty of correction gels and diff etc.

      Really interested to hear how anyone else might approach this one.

    Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
    • Author
    • #214486
      Roger Deakins

        You might try adding household bulbs and sockets around that hanging fixture. I can’t imagine it ever featuring in shot and a brighter soft source in this central position could be nice. You could always cut the sides with a circle of silver foil if you wanted to concentrate the light from it in the center of the room and have a little more fall off.



          I wonder, if then the bookshelves/background aren’t “friendly and inviting” enough, would simply bouncing some film lights off the ceiling there work (I can’t see what color it is though)?


            Awesome, thanks for the advice! I’m returning to the school for a tech scout this afternoon so I’ll figure out what I can implement. I’m shooting in a couple of weeks time, and it’s the largest room anyone’s needed me to light so I’m quite looking forward to the challenge!


              Would be nice to see some frame grabs of the results then!

            Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
            • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.