Lighting

Posted on by
Back to Lighting...

Tips on lighting a very white face please! (6 replies and 2 comments)

The Byre
2 months ago
The Byre 2 months ago

On Monday we did a technical rehearsal for a TV classical music presentation and the pianist had a very white face.  When I say white, I mean soap-powder advertisement white.  He seems to almost have been bleached.  

In the 50s I seem to remember housewives putting some sort of blue-whiteners in the washing - he is that sort of white.  Not white as in pink, but WHITE!

I can't ask him to wear makeup and I tried different gels with zero success.  Any suggestions?  

I have three weeks to get on top of this problem.

Mike
2 months ago
Mike 2 months ago

The obvious answer is make up but you have discounted that so what about position him with his back to the camera or at a slant.

Would he not be wearing a mask so give him a nice one to match the skin tone you are after. Perhaps block his face with Whisky bottle on the piano, many ways you can do this ofcourse, maybe flowers.

Empty larger tins would be cheaper.

 

 

 

The Byre
2 months ago

Mike, I have a sneaking feeling that those suggestions might not be the answer. And putting a bag over his head means he would not be able to read the score.

It gets worse - he has a totally spherical face. Creating facial shadows and side and key lighting ain't gonna work particularly well because he has neither cheekbones nor lips.

Add to that his evening penguin suit is at least two sizes too small for him and it looks as if it received bad news around 1976 and never fully recovered. It also needs cleaning - but nobody can say anything and I cannot even tell you why.

Someone, please give me some tips - anything will do. I am already working on rebuilding the set, so that there is a dark background. That might help.

Mike
2 months ago

Most pianists are reclusives but when performing they come out of their shell and need to look good on the day. I would Slap some make up On him whether he likes it or not. You are looking for lighting suggestion but like you I am stuck.

Any forum members out there with a suggestion. Help ‘the Byre’ Out please.

simon m
1 month ago
simon m 1 month ago

It seems that you've got a subject who has albino skin. There were too many to post here, but if you do a Google search for albino skin, and look under the 'images' tab, you'll get lots and lots of examples of different lighting used. Should give you some ideas.

Roger Deakins
1 month ago
Roger Deakins 1 month ago

I don't see why you couldn't use a backlight and allow the spill from the keyboard to light the face.

The Byre
1 month ago
The Byre 1 month ago

I shall experiment over the next few days and see what works!  I shall try the backlighting method, with perhaps a touch of key.  Thanks all - he is not albino, he probably just never sees sunshine and is blissfully unaware of his outward appearance.

At least I got him to stop grunting and humming to the music.  

He is a brilliant pianist though, so that is one hurdle fewer!

dmullenasc
1 month ago
dmullenasc 1 month ago

Related to how one might shoot a silhouette shot, if you had spots of light around him, on the curtain behind his head, the piano in front, etc. so that his face was surrounded by areas that were one-stop brighter than his face, then when you exposed for those bright spots, his face would be one-stop darker. 

The Byre
1 month ago
The Byre 1 month ago

Thanks!

After pratting about yesterday trying different setups, I shall follow Roger's and Dave's advice and reduce the on-face lighting and also reduce the in-camera range rather than shooting log and add coloured lights to the rear curtains.  It will be a three-camera shoot and to make things a bit sexier, I shall add a jib that will travel over the workings of the piano rather like the opening shot in the original Star Wars movie - the pianist's face doubling as the Death Star!

I shall also add some dim prime-coloured lights, reds and blues, straight onto the workings of the piano.

I actually filmed this guy about 15 years ago when he had hair and was thinner.  It was in SD and I looked at that footage - it's the same suit!  It was a bit past its prime then, now it looks as if he's been sleeping in it!

That and 4K shows up every little blemish and every spot of dirt.

Back to Lighting...