Painting with light and shadow

We’ve said it many times before and will continue to say it, we paint with light and shadow. When it comes to lighting for video, the balance between dark and light is of the utmost importance. When I was much younger and still a newbie to the video production game, I approached lighting from the stance of “I am the almighty lighter. Everything in my in my wake will be touched be the ominous lights that I put forth from my mighty fixtures!!!!”

Needless to say, those videos looked like crap.

A friend of ours told us that one of the first feature films he worked on, he was asked his opinion on the lighting in the room. It was supposed to be a scary movie and he said that everything was lit and there was no depth, emotion, or mystery to the room. What’s the scariest part of a good scary movie? The things we can’t see and the resulting fear of what we are afraid we will see.

This resounded with us in a major way and it changed the way we have lit everything since. So, using what we have learned through our friend and mentor, we light our subject and only our subject right now. They are the focus and it stands to reason that we want them to be the best looking part of the frame.

Let’s do it.

The important thing, again, is to make sure that the subject, or interviewee looks good.

Lighting is NOT simple

To myth-bust any preconceived notions that lighting is simple, let’s look at an example of what a simple on-camera light looks like [think a live, local news interview]

So, if you own a camcorder with a light on it, this is effectively the result you will get. Kind of nurply…

And what does look good:

In this photo, the light has been placed strategically and other “light modifiers” have been added to really make this a really pleasing look.

And that’s not all!!! (please, read that in your best infomercial voice).

We add this second light. (notice how it adds sparkle to our subjects eye)

And top it off (no pun intended) with this last light to really separate them from the background!

Now that we’ve got our interviewee lit and looking fantastic, it’s time to make their environment really pop!

You can check out last week’s post here, and next week’s here, available 11/14/16.

In the next post, we will turn the ugly room into a visual masterpiece in which our subject will reside.
If, at any point you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] or you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Hamil Bros Studios is a high quality video production company based in Lubbock, TX. Their work spreads throughout West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, and beyond.


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