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Lighting for Documentaries (1 reply)

Harry Gunn
2 months ago
Harry Gunn 2 months ago

Hi Roger,

I am a documentary director from the UK and it's common that broadcasters in both the UK and US commission programmes that don't have the budgets to support a crew, but demand the same level of quality, both from a content and visual perspective. This means we 'self shoot' our films and are having to adapt our skill set (not a negative, I really enjoy it). The more I learn about it, the more important lighting becomes. Obviously, every time you film it's different, but if you were to go back to where you started and film a documentary today, which lights would you have in a small, versatile and mobile kit that could fit in the back of a van / SUV? Or would you make the most of the fast cameras available like the Arri or Sony cameras (now with dual native ISOs of 800 and 4000!) and use practical / natural sources? Many thanks!

Roger Deakins
2 months ago
Roger Deakins 2 months ago

I would probably work the way I used to which was pretty much without any lights. I sometimes used to carry a small Lowell soft light or a Red Head kit if I had an interview to shoot but that was about it. With a digital camera I would see even less reason for lighting.

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