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Old July 12th, 2003, 08:53 PM   #1
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Lighting for film/DV

I have been following several threads relating to making DV look like film. I want to employ as much of this "look" as I can on my next 2 projects. I have somewhat "mastered" (Ha Ha) many of the tricks found on this (and other) forums to help achieve this look as much as possible (software and planning shots to get best DOF)
I have noticed several references to "lighting like you are shooting for film". My question is.....Whats the difference in lighting for film and lighting for DV??? Lighting the background?? Different lighting for the subjects?? Help me out, please (and speak slowly and in laymans terms for the newbie)
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Old July 12th, 2003, 09:46 PM   #2
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Perhaps I'm wrong about this but as I personally understand it... "Lighting like you would for film" simply means taking the job of lighting seriously. Most people tend to half-ass lighting and audio when it comes to the dv format... I guess it's something to do with the ease of simply capturing a dv image. Dv is cheap and some people have a problem translating their time with a dv camera into "real film-making"... that is until they get back to the computer to edit all the footage and realize it's pretty crappy. Eventually you realize that it all matters...

There really is no difference between the techniques for properly lighting for film vs. dv... but since film costs hundreds of dollars a minute people tend not to take any shots for granted. But in PRACTICAL application of lighting remember that there is a HUGE difference between video and film when it comes to contrast. With film you can shoot a little flickering candle and it drops off to a grain-free black or even dimly lit background subjects... try that with a dv cam.

In a nutshell... if you want your video to be more impressive then light your shoots appropriately and as needed. This takes a lot of practice. Getting a film-look is directly related to using major production values. Become familiar with 3-point lighting... kickers... rim lighting... reflector/diffusion usage. Once you understand all that you won't wonder what goes into a beautifully lit movie.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 05:37 AM   #3
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Personally, I would like to know how they light and shoot night scenes. As Matt mentions, DV just doesn't do gradual light and dark very well.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 07:36 AM   #4
 
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Film has quite a different latitude than DV. The CMOS or CCD sensor used to capture the photons doesn't have anywhere near the range that film does. The net result is that scenes with more contrast tend to either blow out the whites or muddy up the shadows. The DV lighting man has to use more critically placed fill lights to reduce the overall scene contrast. It's pretty simple, actually. Fill the shodows and use less light on the talent. Don't be too extravagant with the backlighting.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 08:03 AM   #5
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Ok... let me throw this at you then- You have some people walking through the woods at night. You want the scene to have the feeling of dark woods at night, but not four indistinct shadows blurring with the dark background.

Do you open the iris as much as possible? Or do you use a soft widely dispersed light with blue gels? Or do you just light the sucker up, and contrast and fix it in post? I know you can do day for night shots, but I always thought those were very cheesey. I also wouldn't want the same feel as Blair Witch. And what about a dark room lit by candles?

Lighting is such a tough subject. Please enlighten me :)
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Old July 13th, 2003, 08:38 AM   #6
 
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not sure if i can shed more light on the subject...hehehe...like so many things, a balance is needed.....i think it's called creative decisions....try them all...do what looks best to you. i, personally, like to underexpose enuff to give that feeling of night. in this case, my choice would be to lose detail in the shadows. hey, it's an imperfect world.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 08:56 AM   #7
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Keith,

The "Cast Away" DVD has some behind the scenes stuff...and I was surprised that the night scene where Tom Hanks runs out to retrieve Wilson after kicking him out of the cave was shot during the day and altered in post. I usually don't like day for night shooting, expecially those awful westerns in the 60s...those are shot in the desert where the sky is big and you just can't get around the fact that it's a tad too bright to be night. I think what makes Cast Away different is that the cliff is behind him, so you don't see a "bright" night sky. If the woods you're shooting in are dense, it might look okay.
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Old July 13th, 2003, 09:10 AM   #8
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I guess I'll have to watch Cast Away after all... I would still like to hear other ideas and options. There has to be a hundred different ways to do night shots.
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