Lighting the WunderTRE(k)
We had a lot of fun lighting this WunderTRE(k) Brandfomercial for WunderTRE! Lighting is so important to help drive emotion along with camera movement. This will get technical into the processes and gear we used on this project. It may be more entertaining to film industry folks or those wanting to learn lighting, but it can be fun and informational. We covered the actual locations in the Locations Blog, so you may want to check that out before diving in here. Let’s jump in!
Warming the Fireplace
This fireplace was an amazing location and we actually took advantage of some of the practical light above the mantle. The lighting didn’t change between the original wide shot and the close up of Coby facing the same way. The lighting was pretty much basic, 3-point lighting. We decided to play to the warmth of the atmosphere which was landed somewhere near a color temperature of 2900k. We chose to shoot the camera around 3200k just to white balance properly then give a little warmth in post. Our key light on Coby was an Aputure 300D mk I with a full CTO (color temperature orange). We also used the mk I light dome and the light dome silk. That light was set to 100% output. For the back light, we used a Fiilex LED P360 at 100% output on about 4000k. Our fill light was another P360 on about 75% at 3200k firing into a white circle bounce just above camera. As mentioned before, the lighting wasn’t changed between the wide and tight shot from this angle.
We did move our set up based on where Coby was looking. In the WunderTRE(k) Brandfomercial, Coby looks to his right (camera left of the main wide) several times to drive a particular line home. In this setup (the tight to Coby’s right: Over the laptop screen, Mysterious Voodoo Magic, the Dating Line, etc.) we brought all the lighting around to keep the lighting consistent on his face, even though in reality it wouldn’t be that way. This kept the Rembrandt light (small triangle patch of light) on his cheek. In these situations and in most filmmaking situations, it’s more about keeping the light consistently good looking rather than what might be natural.
Some Mysterious Voodoo Lighting Magic
Lighting in the WunderTRE(k) project was largely minimal. Ha! Oxymoron. A great example of this is the lighting for the Voodoo Doctor! We utilized the actual illumination coming off the fire and really only needed a little bit of a moon motivated back light. For our back light, we chose the Aputure 300D on full blast with no diffusion. We really only wanted a kiss of moonlight, and that’s exactly what we got!
Theatrical Lighting to Make Your Money Disappear
The Magician’s Theatre was definitely the most involved lighting setup due to being a green screen shoot. Our parents were gracious enough to let us deconstruct their living room in order to put up this green screen. We will go into much more of the process of a green screen in the WunderTRE(k) VFX blog, but we’ll suffice it to say that green screen is NOT a magic bullet to solve all our problems. How did we light this setup? I’m glad you asked!
The green screen is only one color of green, but the light intensity determines the exact shade of green. If you have two different shades, the software can only pull whichever shade you select and will result in what we call a “dirty key.” This means not all of the green screen will be removed from the shot! See? Not so simple. Therefore, we have to have an even throw of light across the green screen in order for the VFX to be done in a timely matter. After the green screen was lit, we had our second step of the process.
Step Two – Lighting Everything Else
We had to look at the environment in which we were going to digitally place Coby and Scott and then understand what kind of lighting situation a Theatre usually is. Older theatres like the one in the Brandfomercial were tungsten lit at around 2900-3200k. And they had a lot of spotlights and par cans hammering from every direction. Our choice was to shoot a tungsten balanced Fiilex P360 from camera left and camera right at 100% for Coby and Scott. After that, we planted our key light, a tungsten balanced 650w Fresnel, and blasted it through a 4x4 ¼ grid cloth. This gave a full feel to the lighting and executed our intent for the Magicians Theatre.
First things First – Lighting the Green Screen
First of all, once the green screen was set up, we knew our first task was getting it evenly lit. This means having an even throw of light across the portion of the green screen where Coby and Scott would be standing. Why is it important to have an even throw of light? Also a good question! The process of chroma-keying (better described in the VFX blog) is built around the software selecting a specific color and removing that from the scene.