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Lighting for Woods (1 reply)

Anthony Kearney
1 month ago
Anthony Kearney 1 month ago

Hello Roger, 

My name is Anthony and I am a 17 yr old aspiring cinematographer. I am preparing to shoot a short film with some friends. The film is supposed to have a dark/mysterious feel. The entire film will be shot in the woods, i was wandering if you would recommend shooting with just natural light, or to set up a rig, or both?


1 month ago
gabj3 1 month ago

Re setting up a rig or not. A forest especially a dense one is quite dark however your going for that look. It all depends on multiple factors. The story and the general way you wish to shoot the film. You could shape natural light but if you want to go for a deeper stop and natural light doesn’t give enough you may need to supplement it. Time of day is also a large factor.

Also like I said earlier your shooting style. Do you want full freedom and to shoot relatively 360 on the forest floor at night... rigging lights in the trees may be your best option. You can get away with wall spreaders however that was my relatively botched method. But with that in a forest power and cable management and so on. I shot a night exterior in a cane field a week or so ago. I only used a series of par64 cans with a few fresnels on the end and we got to 20kw’s pretty quickly. That’s a few generators that are a pain to move when you have no money. 

Something more basic for a night time forest shoot could be using a fire or a lantern as a source. I once had to shoot soldiers walking through a forest. I considered augmenting China balls on their vests emulating a torch however ended up dummying a large fire. 


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