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Describing a lighting style (1 reply)

4 months ago
MajorDundee 4 months ago

Hello Roger and all of the wonderful cinematographers on this forum. I am directing a feature in the coming months and while I have a strong idea in mind as to the lighting style I'd like, I need some help finding the film grammar to describe this look to my DP. I'd like to avoid showing him the work of other DP's and simply saying "I want you to do this", so I'm hoping to learn how to articulate what I want. I've attached some screen grabs below that capture the aesthetic in question. Feels to me sort of like "naturalistic chiaroscuro" for lack of a better term. I want a very natural, organic image that is also vivd and photographic and atmospheric. Slightly underexposed with minimal spill that allows the edges of frame to roll off into shadow.  Does anyone have a better way of describing this? Thank you in advance to anyone who responds. It's greatly appreciated.
3 months ago
G.C. 3 months ago

Replying to this three weeks later...

I wouldn't be worried showing these visuals to your DP, as they will likely not be taken literally as something to reproduce, but as a reference to take inspiration from. I couldn't find a fault in your vocabulary to describe what you want, and "naturalistic chiaroscuro" is a great starting point for discussion. Your stills are coherent with this description, too. I see no reason for you not to be confident! It's OK to not use the proper technical words ― it is part of the skills of a DP to do the translation for you. Speak in your own language ― some of your words may actually inspire them more than you think.

Good luck with this project.

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