Having not long returned from Japan where we shot all the documentary footage, we’re currently in the thick of editing it, but as it’s also part drama, we’re also burning the midnight oil on the script re-writing and art design stage of the drama sequences.
One area we always spend a fair amount of time working out in the pre-production is lighting. As a film-maker understanding the impact of good lighting is crucial. Don’t just light for the perfect exposure, use lighting to help tell the story you want to tell, use it to create mood and a sense of drama.
One of the first serious books on lighting that we read was “Painting with Light” by legendary cinematographer John Alton, and the title says it all – light is the paint of film-makers and photographers, without light we have nothing but a blank canvas, but it’s the way the paint is applied that makes the difference between something mediocre and a masterpiece.
The creative use of lighting has always fascinated us and we enjoy thinking up ways to use it in a way that serves a particular scene and helps to convey certain ideas that we have.
Often our ideas for lighting will just be notes scribbled on a piece of note paper and other times they’ll be more detailed diagrams – especially if we are working with a team.
Below is a lighting set-up design for“All That Remains”, and illustrates how we attempt to utilize lighting.
Below are stills from documentary footage for“All That Remains”. The first illustrates how we used our portable, battery powered LED light (see blog dated 6th Jan 2012) to create a natural looking light on an indoor subject. The second illustrates how we also utilised natural light sources to create an image that is visually pleasing.
Lighting is an art form, and one that requires a fair amount of time and effort to get right, but you get out of it what you put in to it, so put in the effort and you’ll results will more than make up for it and make your work stand out from the crowd.