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Old January 9th, 2012, 01:55 AM   #1
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avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

i've been running into issues shooting in a warehouse with my subjects looking like they have dark marks under their eyes, see screen shot.

im lighting with two 4 bank kinos on either side of the subject at head level, so plenty of light is getting through, but i can't see to figure out how to brighten up the area under the eyes. have also been placing a silk above the subject to soften any hard lighting coming from the metal halides above
is this is a problem for anyone else, what type of solutions have you tried?
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Old January 9th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #2
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

If you place one of the lights beside the camera, it'll act as a fill. You could also use a reflector below to reflect light up.
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Old January 9th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #3
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

What Brian said.

Frontal lighting is pretty much the solution for this issue, which I have to manage all the time with actresses over a certain age (sometimes as "old" as 30...!). While there is probably a knee-jerk reaction that many have to lighting frontally because it seems flat and deviates from the classic three point lighting setup, it's a well-established glamour look...think ring light, for example.

Next time this happens, try setting one Kino just above the camera and one just below at half intensity (the top one with the stand just to the side of the lens to get it as centered as possible). Make sure to use diffusion like light grid or 250 on the unit. Good chance this will take care of the issue. If it starts to look a little too "sexy" or "studio", especially for a male subject, eliminate the backlight. If you find it really too flat, you can slide the units so that they are slightly to one side of center, still with perhaps 1/3 of their width on the other side of the lens--this will start to hint at modeling on the face but hopefully will still be filling the area under the eyes and to the side of the nose enough to avoid dark shadowing. If the subject can take it, you can raise the top Kino from just above the camera to as high as you like, within reason.

And as Brian indicates, a passive bounce set close to the person can work wonders, more so for bags and wrinkles than dark circles.

At some point, you can't do any more with the lighting and it comes down to a skilled makeup person to neutralize the dark circles.
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Old January 9th, 2012, 05:33 PM   #4
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

Charles, is there a general rule as to know when to use the 4bank kino's horizontal and when to use them vertical? would you always use them horizontal when lighting faces?
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Old January 9th, 2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

Yes, I generally will go horizontal for lighting faces; in fact one of my favorite looks is two 4x4 Kinos side by side (i.e., an 8x4) starting just off center from camera and continuing off to one side, which wraps very nicely yet still presents a certain amount of modeling due to the source being only a foot tall. I did this recently with a certain well-known female recording artist who had a bit of a double chin going on (no names!) and this setup resulted in a soft, flattering beauty light that fell off nicely at the neck. A large square source (like an 8x8 frame, or a 4x8 bounce), while nice for the facial features, would have spread the light out vertically and revealed the undesirable chin (her personal makeup artist was "supervising" my lighting with a fine tooth comb!!)

There would be very specific reasons for lighting a person with a vertical Kino: if they were dressed in a very dark outfit which required a bit of pop (the vertical orientation following the line of the figure), or if I needed to contain the spill from side to side, in which case I would use the egg crates as well as the vertical orientation. As an edge light, I might want it vertical to be able to push it quite close to the edge of the frame yet keep the light more directional than the spread of a horizontal backlight. Certainly when I use Kinos for architectural lighting, I would be more likely to pick the direction of the unit based on the object I'm lighting (a column would benefit more from vertical than horizontal, for instance).
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Old January 16th, 2012, 10:19 PM   #6
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

I always run kinos vertically for this sort of shot. it in fact prevents the very problem you are talking about - darker eye sockets. I never use kinos horizontally because its too flat looking and the spill is a LOT harder to control. ditto soft boxes / chimeras.

another really simple fix is the obi light - a single bulb flow or LED mounted on camera maybe a 1/2 - 1 stop under the key. just enough to hit the face and get good skin tones w/o looking too lit or frontal.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

I've had my eye on the catchlights in the eyes of actors in hollywood movies. I've often noticed only a single catchlight towards the bottom of their eyeball, indicating that the only frontal light was below the camera.

I think that because under-camera lighting looks so bad when it's the only light, we typically avoid it. But using under-camera light for fill only is a good tool to have in your belt.
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Old January 27th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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Re: avoiding dark under eyes when lighting

It's entirely possible to illuminate an actor to exposure without a catch appearing in the eyes--it just requires a very large, uniform soft source. Ambient daylight in a room is a good example of this. Bounce cards (or "pizza boxes"--2x2 beadboard bounces handheld under an actor for fill) tend to not show up in the eyes, while a hotter, defined light source will.
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