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Photon Management
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Old June 7th, 2006, 09:37 PM   #1
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Where to learn?

Obviously, a massive part of DPing is lighting. I have the sweet shots down... however my lighting absolutely sucks. I have no formal training in lighting. I'm also not currently enrolled in university.

Are there places around that might offer lighting courses without enrolling in a four-year university? I'm in Southern California. I can't seem to find too many junior college programs that offer this, or UC Extension... You can find private courses pretty easily on cinematography, editing, etc but I can't seem to find anything on lighting.

So can anyone point me in the direction of where I might learn some lighting for filmmaking?
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Old June 8th, 2006, 02:11 AM   #2
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One thing to do at least once is to PA on a set... that way you have an idea of what happens in the real world.

If you work in a professional environment, you'll be working with professional gear (i.e. $300k cameras, 18k HMIs, generators, etc.)... universities will never afford that gear, unless it's AFI. You will also see what other people are doing... it beats re-inventing the wheel figuring that stuff out on your own (how to hang lights, how not to set off the sprinklers, etc.). Film school probably won't teach you that.

2- If there is a union or guild in your area, they may have some training opportunities or workshops. Ultimately, a short workshop is not going to teach you something that takes years to master.

3- And of course there are books you can read... the ASC website lists some books. There's also the books forum here. Also try search through the cinematography.net website. There are also online boards or mailing lists like the CML and cinematography.com (not that much info on learning how to light though).

So basically...
Work on a set to see HOW to light.
Read books to get ideas for WHAT you want to do lighting-wise.
And get some basic lights for yourself to experiment with.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #3
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Nice post Glenn..
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Old June 25th, 2006, 11:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
[...]
So basically...
Work on a set to see HOW to light.
Read books to get ideas for WHAT you want to do lighting-wise.
And get some basic lights for yourself to experiment with.
Excellent, concise, advice.

I would add to that, get a small digital camera with manual overrides (control over whilte-balance, exposure, etc)--or put the one you have to use--and start creating a visual notebook: learn to see how light plays on objects, write down how it makes you feel, the sources, the quality of lights, the color, how exposure choices change the mood, etc. get feedback on the images and discuss them with photographers and filmmakers... writers have their notebooks, artists have their sketchpads, a new generation of digital cinematographers have their digital cameras... the more you design, shoot, analyze, and reflect on your own work and the work of others, the better you'll get.
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