[problem] Opposite shot in line with light (3 replies and 2 comments)

Stephen Clark Sanchez
7 months ago

Hello everyone. I can't imbed pictures while posting from my phone so I'm using links instead. Apologies.

I'm DPing an Indie feature to test my theories on lighting and I ran into a specific problem when shooting the opposite side on one setup.

Scene RIGHT»

Scene LEFT»

Scene RIGHT was the shot I wanted and works fine. But when shooting from Scene LEFT, the light was directly behind camera creating a flat image on her face. So I compensated poorly by dimming it and creating an ambient room light. I think it is ugly and inconsistent with Scene RIGHT. And it will likely not be used in the movie. I know I reacted wrong and I was under time pressure.

My question is how do you keep CONSISTENCY in a scenario when the camera is placed directly in-line with the light source? Do you cheat the light and move it to maintain the hotspot?

7 months ago
dmullenasc 7 months ago

If the side source is not clearly established, sometimes you can flip the key when you do the reverse, though that tends to work in night interior or exterior scenes, not a room with a daytime window that is clearly established on one side of the bed.

In your case, I would have embraced the "logical" frontal light coming from behind the camera -- to create some contrast, you could use some flags like a topper & some siders so that there is more fall-off in the background, some dark areas in the frame.  Or you could move the key around a little more to the foot of the bed so that it isn't quite in line with the camera, less flat.  But either way, I would have found a way to "box in" the frontal soft key so that there was more darkness around the frame to restore the feeling of contrast and mood that the angle looking towards the window light had.

7 months ago

This is great advice! Thank you.

Stephen Clark Sanchez
7 months ago

Thank you David. Flagging of course. Yes the contrast is what I wanted to keep and boxing would have done that. Thank you so much. I thought I was going crazy thinking I didn't have the toolset for the gig.

7 months ago
Hugo 7 months ago

I don't found your left shot problematic. There is a lot of shots in Roger's film where he embrace frontal lighting. What I like to do when I put the camera behind a Window, is to remove the lighting above the window, so that it doesn't light the back ground. Just like in nature when you go away from a window you loose the sky and you have the bounce from the landscape. If I don't have enough light for the background, I add another soft light lower. If you do it with natural light what I like to do is to add scrimm( I believe you call it "Net" in English") outside behind the window but leave a  leake for the sky that lit the talent when he is close of the window. You change the light ratio between foreground and background by changing the net density. If you want a very dark background you can even add duvetine. Sorry if my English is not good

Cinematographer Reggie A Brown
7 months ago

On "left" you could have cheated and turn on the lamp (maybe dimmed down) to create a little more separation and depth. Other cinematographers may notice it, but your average viewer wouldn't pay attention to something like that.

Back to Lighting...