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Old January 13th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #1
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Simulating Soft Light WIth 2 Hard Lights?

Hello,

I read somewhere that te 'flat' lighting of television is made by using a key and a fill of equal strength.

So I started wondering whether 2 hard halogen lights of equal strength at opposite sides of the camera would come close to the look of a soft wall of diffuse light behind the camera.

What's your take?
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Old January 13th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #2
 
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It will look "flat" but it won't look "soft."

Try it yourself. Like your subject with two hard sources set equally at a 45 degrees to the subject, one light on each side. Shoot a few seconds of video.

Now, bounce the hard lights off of some white surface, foamcore, cardboard, walls, ceiling, etc., and shoot a few seconds of video.

See the difference?
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Old January 13th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #3
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Flat and soft are not the same thing although they be used for the same reason in some cases --to flatter a person's face by erasing wrinkles and bags with a lot of fill lighting, to make the face shadowless. If the light is soft and frontal enough, you don't have to use as much fill because the soft light wraps around into the shadows.

Now a LOT of hard lights clustered together start to create a soft shadow because the object is being hit by multiple sources next to each other. For example, a ceiling with hundreds of bare lightbulbs in a close-packed grip pattern would create a soft overhead effect.

Think of it as the difference between a single POINT source versus a BROAD source. A point source creates a single sharp shadow and a broad source creates a soft fuzzy shadow.
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Old January 25th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #4
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Do you think one can use two hard light to create a shadowles scene?
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Old January 26th, 2007, 01:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa
Do you think one can use two hard light to create a shadowles scene?
No. It's almost certain you can not.

You may not see the shadows all the time, if they are exactly in line with the camera, but the chances are you will some time.

In any case, it's true that TV studio lighting is usually due to small key/fill ratios. But it's not really shadowless. The shadow is there, though covered by another light shining on it.

What such a light design does not have is character, strength. It's flat, boring.

Using one large frontal soft-light may provide a different kind of shadow, which may make your lighting more interesting.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seun Osewa
Do you think one can use two hard light to create a shadowles scene?
What you are describing sounds like the type of lighting used by photographers for macro shots of bugs and flowers. While it works fine for macro subjects, you don't see it used in television because it's so completely unnatural to see people illuminated this way. There might not be shadows on subjects near the camera, but those subjects will be casting shadows on objects behind them. Some of these shadows would most likely be visible to the camera. Hard lights are best used for creating shadows, not getting rid of them.

Having said that, the best way to see for yourself is to see it yourself. Try it, then try shooting through some diffusion or bouncing the lights off a white surface.
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Old January 26th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #7
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you might end up with slight shadows on both sides of the subjects nose....
it's best that the key ( main front light ) is somewhat defused... bounced off a white fill card ( foam core ) or through a soft box. there's a site called digital juice that has some great viseo tutorials....

http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/def...how=all_videos

( I'm not affiliated with them in any way )
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Old January 26th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #8
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Why not just soften your hard lightsources? A bit of spun (diffuser) work well. If you have things like redheads, then the diffuser fits onto barndoor clips, effectively bringing the light source closer to the subject, and making it much bigger. If you don't have a proper video light, then clothes pegs or bulldog clips can work ok. A couple of diffused sources either side of the camera line can produce reasonably soft results.

The obvious artefact from hard lighting is shadows! Soft light fills them up (or almost does).

Small light sources produce more shadows. linear lamps, as in 500W flood types have slightly less shadows horizontally as the fillament is longer. Bouncing light of a larger surface also works, but is of course dimmer.
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