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Old May 26th, 2017, 11:46 AM   #1
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Light theory in dark spaces

I ran across this article on Google when I was trying to rethink I shoot I did. I thought it was helpful. I thought I'd throw it out there. Lighting for darkness and avoiding grain is something we all have to deal with. I watched the 'making of' a movie the other day and I do think Hollywood uses the approach of filming the scene lighter and then darkening in post. I figured others would have input.

https://productforums.google.com/for...be/GICvopHAycI
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Old May 28th, 2017, 11:33 AM   #2
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Re: Light theory in dark spaces

That's pretty much it. I like to shoot my dark scenes about 2/3 - 1 stop brighter (opened up) from where I will ultimately want them to play, so we have some room to bring up faces or any given tone a little if needed. I mostly shoot comedy, so this is an expectation I've learned to live with. On set, I try to use a LUT that will replicate the final look, or I'll light to the stopped-down setting, and point out to the director that I will be exposing hotter and show him the difference so they will understand the intention.

Since that response you linked to was written in 2011, cameras have broken the low-light barrier significantly so it is now possible to get clean images in very little light. Regardless, the same rules apply.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 12:23 PM   #3
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Re: Light theory in dark spaces

Thanks Charles. I shot something recently that was full of grain in the shadow/full dark areas. There were many dark/dark grey tones. I pulled my shadows down to get rid of the grain, but was disappointed with my results. Essentially everything was different dark tones of black dark grays. So I'll run at it again, probably lighting each equipment item separately a stop over exposed, so when I bring the levels down, the equipment in the shot will still be seen. Thanks for responding.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 01:01 PM   #4
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Re: Light theory in dark spaces

Back when I was cutting my eye teeth in broadcast studio work, we did a lot of things without me having a deep understanding of the lighting concepts that supported the approaches we used. I just did what the studio supervisor told me.

Studio cameras weren't particularly sensitive. Post color correction was extremely limited. Lighting almost any set started with "base light", usually with several 2k softies/scoops. Then, whatever lighting approach was desired was built on top of the base. In other words, the base brought the entire scene up with around 8,000 to 10,000 watts tungsten (!), then the 2k fresnels came out for key (fill by the base), and perhaps some 1k or 2k backlights, depending on the look.

And crank up the air conditioning!

As I think back on it, and some of the productions, we were able to create everything from inky blacks without noise to 3:1 or 4:1 key/fill ratios to soft all over, using this base+key approach.

Haven't thought about it much until teaching more and more head-to-toe greenscreen with modern gear. A local studio provides a base/screen light with six to eight 3k (?) space lights in the grid for their big screen.

Is this to the same discussion - it seems to me this thread is to the concept of base light for later color correction, with good post control of shadow and black levels...
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Old May 29th, 2017, 07:13 PM   #5
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Re: Light theory in dark spaces

It's funny, I always imagine everyone on here is in their mid 20s. Not sure why. Thanks for the tips on the dark stuff. Happy Memorial Day!
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