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Avatar of Ben Schaffer
Ben Schaffer on July 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I’m a high school filmmaker so I’ve never been able to engage in any sort of classes or workshops for filmmaking. I think techniques for cinematography, editing, etc. will come to me in a natural sense, but lighting is confusing and challenging for me to accept. I don’t understand how the lights should be arranged depending on the situation, object filmed, or time of day. Also, being how young I am, I don’t exactly own any high tech lighting systems, so some makeshift suggestions would help. Thank you.

Avatar of J.J. Petty
J.J. Petty on July 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm

If you haven’t already, I suggest going and checking Filmriot on youtube. Their videos on how to do ANYTHING are valuable. They even try to keep it simple for those out their with little to no budget (like me…). Just this past month or so they did a whole bunch of videos on lighting that gave me some great ideas…

Avatar of O'Ryan McEntire
O'Ryan McEntire on July 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Those clamp lamps from Home Depot are a great and cheap place to start with lights.

The best way to learn about good lighting is to watch your favorite movies. Maybe even turning the sound off and only focusing on the lighting in a particular scene.

Don’t over think it. Many times an effective and believable lighting setup is a simple one. Try replicating a scene from a movie or tv show by just guesstimating where the lights would be to produce the same results. then take a photo. Your camera will see light much different than your eye will. Trial and error is your friend here. Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. By failing in this situation you may actually stumble onto something cool.

Film Riot is a great resource!

Avatar of Phlume
Phlume on July 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

Key point #1… Remember… add more light to the eyes. Redirect light off of a white surface (bounce light) to reflect into the faces of the actors… helps add emotion as the EYES beleive it or not tell the story. 9 out of 10 bad lighting scenes are simply because you can’t see the eyes well. Pick up a white foam board sheet from sprawl*mart for 2 bucks and use that to reflect the sun or ambient light into the scene.. you’ll be amazed at how it adds emotion to the scene!

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