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Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 13 of 49

Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines


Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 13 of 49

Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines


Lesson Info

Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines

Big fan of using wind machines. Now you don't necessarily always have to go out and buy a fancy wind machine fan. You can also get away with using, you know, a simple floor fan or a cyclone fan. A really good option if you wanna swing for it and you're on location, is going and buying a cordless blower from the home improvement store. Battery operated so that you're not on location you're not worried about having to plug a fan in. You wanna get the move of the dress or the move of the hair, you just have an assistant go (motor running sound effect) and throw it in and you get the nice movement and you're not worried about tethering to electricity. Really useful to use. The fan, you can use, buy a regular floor fan. Doesn't have to be anything fancy. We use one on location. There are all good options as long as you can move enough. If you are having to worry about audio, that's a very different story. But I love the cordless blower. I think it works really well, and they're relatively s...

mall and easy to kinda maneuver with. The other thing that I use all the time is a haze machine. And I wanna make a point to say that a haze machine is not a fog machine. They're different. They're really different. And so yes, they both create these particles in the air, but a fog machine creates clouds of smoke. A haze machine is not really supposed to. Haze machines make white show up, and so it shows streaks of light. It creates an atmosphere. Think of it's kinda like lowers the contrast of the room and it makes lights glow. We call this bloom; it makes lights bloom, highlights bloom. It also shows you shafts and streaks of light. And I'm gonna show you what this looks like a little bit later in a room. Again, not about showing you clouds of smoke, it's about making the lights show up and glow in the scene. Spielberg uses these all the time. And once you know it's there, you never unsee it in a film. But cinematographers use the haze machine all the time. But know that it requires a lot of, you gotta run it for a while when you're using it and then not run it because you could use it too much. It's all about like gaging what's too much, what's not enough. You also don't want the plumes of smoke to show up. You just want it to be kind of hazy. And so like when we're doing a big space, we had to come in and run it for an hour or two before the shoot to make sure everything was dissipated and moved around in the space evenly. So it didn't look like there was a toxic cloud across part of the theater, which it does for the first bit. Like, you'll see it in the behind-the-scenes video, but you can see it just kind of accumulates on the bottom floor. So we're actually having to move it around the room and use fans to spread it out, because we want it to be consistent across the space, not just lingering in one area. When you're in a small space, when you're in a studio you run it for 15 minutes and you're fine. It's just when you're in a huge environment it's a very different consideration. Also if you're in a small environment, haze in a can gives you a really effective use of this. But haze in a can gets expensive. I mean, I think one can is 15, 18 bucks. I'll do a shoot and I'd run through two cans. So it gets expensive, not as expensive as a haze machine. I think at the entry level they're around like 400 bucks. Entry level. The industrial, like commercial ones, I think start at, they're 12, 1300 bucks. I've got this one, which was around four something, and it's awesome, I love it. I think it's great. Does the job that I need. It's not filling cavernous spaces, but for the studio, for normal rooms it's totally acceptable. And they last forever on juice. I think I've had it for a year, probably run it 20 times and I've not filled it back up since the first time. So yeah, they'll run it for a while. But that's a really good one and I like that a lot.

Class Description

Most photographers get comfortable with the lighting setups they use, and tend to shy away from trying new or different ones. Pushing yourself to incorporate new lighting techniques can help to expand your photographic style. You don’t need to buy more lighting equipment to start thinking about how the light is appropriate for what you’re shooting. Learning to see and light a location or scene and bring it to life in your images takes an in-depth understanding of lighting, direction, and creative vision. Join Chris Knight, well-known photographer, instructor, and author, to learn how to create cinematic lighting that allows you to be more innovative for your clients and yourself.

Chris will explain:

  • How to think like a filmmaker but apply those ideas to a single image
  • Motivated lighting and how to incorporate the techniques into your creative vision
  • Framing and layering for your images
  • How to use direction and guidance to achieve a cinematic look
  • How to enhance the cinematic lighting you achieved in-camera through post production processes

In this class, Chris takes you through his creative process during two cinematic style shoots at two different locations to share with you his behind-the-scenes thoughts, motivations, and scenarios. Chris also takes you through an in-studio shoot to explain the importance of prop placement, intentional set design, and light. You’ll learn the confidence to develop and incorporate new thought processes and get out of your everyday routines when lighting your subjects.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. What is Cinematic Lighting?
  3. Motivated & Practical Lighting
  4. 5 Cinematic Lighting Tips
  5. Low-Key & Upstage Lighting
  6. Control Your Fill Lighting
  7. Show Depth In Your Image
  8. Pre-Production for Cinematic Lighting
  9. Grip Tools: Clamps
  10. Grip Tools: Apple Boxes, C-Stands & Grip Heads
  11. Grip Tools: Pins & Portable Gear
  12. Grip Tools: Scrims, Silks, Flags & Tape
  13. Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines
  14. Grip Tools: Unusual Tools
  15. Grip Tools: Filters
  16. Grip Tools: Q&A
  17. Theater Shoot: Concept
  18. Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
  19. Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear
  20. Theater Shoot: Motivated Lighting Considerations
  21. Theater Shoot: Lighting Walkthrough
  22. Theater Shoot: Capturing The 1st Shot
  23. Theater Shoot: Hero Shot
  24. Theater Shoot: Capturing In The Seats
  25. Airstrip Shoot: Concept
  26. Airstrip Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
  27. The Haircut: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting
  28. Working With Scrims On Location
  29. The Haircut: Getting the Shot
  30. The Haircut: Shooting Plates
  31. Staggered Planes: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting
  32. Staggered Planes: Getting The Shot
  33. Capturing Plates With Talent In Background
  34. Airstrip: Environmental Portraits
  35. Airstrip: Location Shooting Q&A
  36. Using Plates to Create a Pano in Lightroom®
  37. Transform Tool
  38. Post-Processing 1st Theater Shot
  39. Retouching Details in Photoshop®
  40. Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3
  41. Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®
  42. Creating a Spotlight in Photoshop®
  43. Adjusting Color for Cinematic Lighting
  44. Post-Processing: The Haircut
  45. Coloring the Sky and Removing Modern Building
  46. Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®
  47. Developing Cinematic Portraits in Lightroom®
  48. Retouching Cinematic Portraits in Photoshop®
  49. Color Grading Cinematic Portraits in Alien Skin


Bruce Walker

This course is simply terrific, and I highly recommend it. Firstly it arrived at the perfect time for me as I am soon to do a studio shoot very much in keeping with a cinematic or theatrical aesthetic. Secondly it's taught by Chris Knight who I swear is like a long-lost twin brother. :-) There are so many parallels in the way he thinks and works to my own style. So I avidly watched this as soon as it was available for anytime streaming. This is the first time I have made extensive use of the CL iPhone app, btw, and I love how it pretty much enabled me to seamlessly switch back and forth from desktop viewing to my iPad that I carry around the house during the day. I was able to make coffee and still carry on taking in the course, uninterrupted. The content is fantastic, delivered succinctly yet entertainingly. Some material and ideas are already in my repertoire and were reinforced and validated by Chris' demonstrations. But he also introduced a lot of ideas and methods new to me and very welcome. I was particularly glad to see how practical it is to stitch a series of tripod shots into a wide pano. I have been afraid to try that but I will now be using that in my next shoot, for sure. As alway, his post production practices revealed all kinds of tips about Lightroom and Photoshop I didn't know. Negatives. The volume level mastering is iffy. It started out at a decent level then midway through one of the early lessons dropped so much I had to turn up my sound system to compensate. And as I write this one lesson (34) is missing and in its place was a duplicate of the next lesson (35). I expect CL will have that fixed shortly though (I sent support a note).

Jeph DeLorme

One of the best classes I have viewed at Creative Live. Definitely worth the investment of time and money. The pace of the class allows you to learn extra tips and tricks throughout the process. Great instructor, highly recommend this class to anyone looking to step up their creative game.

a Creativelive Student

excellent class in all regards. outstanding instructor with experience in complicated cinematic shoots but who also is willing to thoroughly cover the basic nuts and bolts. i wish all creative live classes were of this quality.

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