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Lighting with glasses (1 reply and 2 comments)

Martin A.
3 months ago
Martin A. 3 months ago

Hi Roger,

I'm wondering if you could speak a little to how you light a person with glasses in an interview-style MS/MCU? I often find myself grappling with glare and aside from pushing the key off to the side/further up I'm wondering if you have any best practices or tips?

Thanks,
Martin

dmullenasc
3 months ago
dmullenasc 3 months ago

The eyeballs being a more rounded surface there is a narrow window where they might catch the light but the glasses won’t, particularly if you key from the “dumb” side, the side of frame the eyes aren’t pointed at (downstage key rather than the more common and interesting upstage key)… but for the most part you have to assume that the glasses will reflect some light sources even if they have anti-reflection coatings (where the reflection is much less strong but now it has a green tint). There is no standard solution here. Sometimes the best thing is to let the face be lit by a natural source like a window or practical lamp so that the reflection is of a real-world source and not a movie lamp. Or if you are in a fluorescent office you might key with a clean-shaped softbox that if is high enough might only reflect as a sliver on the top of the lenses so that it looks like a fluorescent fixture being reflected. Sometimes you can get away with a neat white square reflected on one side that might look like a window (maybe even drape shears over it so that the reflection looks more like of a curtained window…) Sometimes if I absolutely need an eye light, I go the opposite from a soft light and use a tiny source right on the camera lens so that the reflection is just a dot in the glasses. But I think the best thing is to light the surfaces around the actor so that reflections are of real objects like the desk top, etc.

Martin A.
3 months ago

Thanks dmullenasc, I appreciate the thoughts.

tyrogers
3 months ago

It's like lighting a shiny product photography -- you need to key with a gradual diffused ball of light -- not a homogenous softbox that will be sharper lines and edges.

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