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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #1
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Film Noir Lighting

I am trying to create that classic film noir lighting look...any suggestions? I have a lighting kit that has two lights w/umbrellas and a key light. Thanks in advance.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #2
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Well, I don't think the umbrellas will do you a lot of good--you don't need soft light or any diffusion at all for this kind of thing. And you want control so barndoors or ones that you add through some means like flags will help a lot.

The look you're calling for has lots of contrasts and hard shadows. Just some hard, point lighting without diffusion is what you need. Lighting from the side, part of a person's face in shadow, etc. Cookies on a fixture (fresnel or spot are best for this) with random patterns on the wall behind characters (like the classic window or skylight pattern for example).
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Old April 17th, 2007, 04:54 PM   #3
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Old April 20th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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Definitely lose the umbrellas.
Go for a heavy key light and play with its position you'll get very different looks from bringing in the key from a high or low angle.
If you going to use a fill do it marginally, if at all.
And try just using ambient for back lighting unless your're going for a specific effect, like your lighting a door in b.g. etc
I'll try and find clips of a training vid I did at work a few years back. I shot it in film noir style. One of my first projects so it's a little rough.
I shot it with one key light...a twin head halogen work light. I obviously wouldn't recommend you doing the same, but it did deliver the desired effect and the lighting looked "right" for the look I wanted.

One note about using a heavy key, you can place practicals in the shot so when the angle there is a seeming source for all that light.

Also have fun playing with the funky angles, very deliberate OTS, lot's of up angles etc.
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