We are revisiting lighting in class and learning about the different uses of it. At first, we were asked to come up with a few problems we have had with lighting in our past practical projects and the solutions. Here a The first problem that came to mind was in the “hello” project. There was a scene shot in the woods which created the wrong effect because of the lighting. The position of the sun was creating harsh lighting with a large contrast between the lit areas and the shadows. This set the mood as “creepy” or “scary” which was not the effect I wanted it to create. A solution to this problem would be using a reflector to reflect the sunlight onto the shadows. This could also be done with a bright light with a high kelvin rating. I could have also planned the filming dates around the weather a bit more to make sure the sun wasn’t low in the sky and maybe filmed it on a cloudy day so the clouds would diffuse the light. Potential problems include making a scene too bright of too dark. This can be hard to correct in post-production. Although it is possible when the lighting is too bright or dark the camera can’t pick up much detail when it is too bright or dark. This means that even if you correct it in post production you won’t get much detail.
Light can be used for several reasons in a scene. First, the obvious reason to illuminate the scene. Lighting can also affect the mood as subtle colour changes and light intensity can affect the viewer’s subconscious mood. Light can also be used like leading lines; to guide our attention to a specific place in the frame. The use of hard, harsh and soft lighting can reveal different textures of shapes. Using harsh or hard light shows a lot of texture whereas soft light shows the general shape and makes something seem a lot more friendly for example “hero’s” in films are shown with soft light and most “villains” are shown with hard/harsh light. Shadows can also be used to convey different meaning. There are two types of shadow to consider when filming: attached shadow and cast shadow. An attached shadow is a shadow that is attached to the object in which the light is shining on. An example of an attached shadow is the dark portion of the moon. A cast shadow is a shadow that is cast from that object onto another object. An example of this is when the moon casts a shadow on the earth and we have a solar eclipse.
Lighting can also affect objects in different ways creating different effects depending on the direction of the light in comparison to the subject. There are 4 types of lighting: Frontal lighting, Side lighting, under lighting and top lighting. These are pretty self-explanatory: frontal lighting is when the light is in front of the subject and lights up their whole face. Side lighting is when the light is to either side of the subject which lights half their face. Top lighting is when the light is coming from above the subject and usually casts dark shadows around the eyes depending on the person’s eyebrows and forehead. Finally, under light creates a scary effect as the light is coming from underneath the subject and usually lights up the eyes and mouth and puts your cheeks and forehead in shadows.
Although the blue colour of natural lighting and the orange colour of artificial lighting is usually taken out using the white balance on the camera sometimes it can be purposefully added. For example, if you had some green screen footage shot inside with orange lights and you wanted to make it look like it was outside then along with changing the green screen you might also want to change the colour temperature of the lighting of the subject to a more blue colour.
Lighting Task 1
For this task, we were asked to choose three screenshots from films and analyse them in terms of lighting, presentation and colour correction. Then we were asked to try to recreate one of them. This is what I came up with.
This picture from fast and furious 7 was probably digitally edited with colour correction as the colours are unnaturally vibrant. As you can see Roman Pearce’s bow tie and waistband batch the colour of Letty’s dress. The white shirt of Dominic Toretto and Roman Pearce also match. Also, Dominic Toretto’s Black jacket matches with Ramsey’s dress. This shows that they are all connected as a team because of their clothing colour matches – Black, White and Red. There is a lot of lighting used in this shot. The key light is coming from the left-hand side of the camera with the fill light coming from the right-hand side. It is a very bright scene. This could be because it was really sunny at the time of filming or it could be that they brightened it in post production.
This picture from Buried used lighting in a very clever way. It uses the in-frame light of the blue phone screen illuminating part of his face. It also used an eye light that also doubled up as a key light. This light will have a diffuser on it so it doesn’t cast harsh shadows on the actor’s face.
This picture from Transformers is using the two key lights and one fill light. There is the main key light shining on the characters left side which is what is creating the shadow of his nose. There is also a less bright key light shining on the characters back right side of his face. This light is a warmer light and has a lot fewer kelvins than the other key light it is also coming from more behind the actor. There is also an eye light slightly to the right of the camera which doubles up as a fill light. There is also a shallow depth of field with lights in the background although these lights don’t affect the actors lighting. As you can see the background is a blue colour, this is because it is shot outside. This shot uses hard light as it casts prominent shadows like the shadow of his nose onto his face. I will try to recreate this image and the lighting used.
This is my attempt at copying the screenshot from transformers. There are a few observations I made when comparing them both. The first observation is the blue key light coming from the right-hand side of the camera was too dark and I should have used a lighter gel and a dimmer light. Due to the lack of equipment (lights), I couldn’t do a fill light/eye light so I used my phone’s flashlight instead which evidently wasn’t effective as an eye light or fill light as it was not at all that bright. I think the light that’s shining on his right side of his face worked particularly well and got the desired effect. After editing it for a bit I got it to look a bit more like the picture from transformers.
In the editing, I increased the brightness and added orange to balance out the prominent blue. I also added in the background lights that were in the Transformers screenshot to make it look more similar. I also added in an eye light in the reflection of his eyes and decreased the contrast. If I had more time and a better editing software I would add the shadow of his nose and I would have added some backlight around his left shoulder.
Lighting Task 2
For this task, we were asked to demonstrate key light, fill light and backlight in using natural light and artificial light. This is what I came up with.
Natural Key light
Natural Fill Light
As we were doing this by the side of the college some of the sunlight reflected off the side of the building meaning that it was not a complete silhouette but if it hadn’t the effect would be a silhouette.
Natural Key Light, Natural Fill Light and Natural Backlight
We did this by using reflectors to reflect the sunlight in in order to do the fill light and backlight. Although you can’t really see the backlight because the sun wasn’t bright at all that day it would have worked if it was a brighter day.
Artificial Key Light
Artificial Fill Light
We lost this picture of the artificial backlight so this is one from Google that demonstrates the effect well.
Artificial Key Light, Artificial Fill Light and Artificial Backlight
A. E. Kaufman and Lei Wang. 2013. Lighting System for Visual Perception Enhancement in Volume Rendering. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.computer.org/csdl/trans/tg/2013/01/ttg2013010067-abs.html. [Accessed 23 January 2017].
Antonio. 2016. Anatomy of three-point Lighting – Where the Light Forever Shines. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.trycinema.com/blog/anatomy-of-three-point-lighting-where-the-light-forever-shines. [Accessed 23 January 2017].
Filmové novinky. 2014. Paul Walker v poslednom filme: Prvý trailer na Rýchlo a zbesilo 7!. [ONLINE] Available at: http://telkac.zoznam.sk/telkac-magazin/cl/173/534/paul-walker-v-poslednom-filme-prvy-trailer-na-rychlo-a-zbesilo-7. [Accessed 23 January 2017].
Mark. 2014. Buried 4/5. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thegoodthebadandtheodd.com/tag/thriller/. [Accessed 23 January 2017].