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Theater Shoot: Hero Shot

Lesson 23 from: Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Chris Knight

Theater Shoot: Hero Shot

Lesson 23 from: Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

23. Theater Shoot: Hero Shot


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Cinematic Lighting?


Motivated & Practical Lighting


5 Cinematic Lighting Tips


Low-Key & Upstage Lighting


Control Your Fill Lighting


Show Depth In Your Image


Pre-Production for Cinematic Lighting


Grip Tools: Clamps


Grip Tools: Apple Boxes, C-Stands & Grip Heads


Grip Tools: Pins & Portable Gear


Grip Tools: Scrims, Silks, Flags & Tape


Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines


Grip Tools: Unusual Tools


Grip Tools: Filters


Grip Tools: Q&A


Theater Shoot: Concept


Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations


Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear


Theater Shoot: Motivated Lighting Considerations


Theater Shoot: Lighting Walkthrough


Theater Shoot: Capturing The 1st Shot


Theater Shoot: Hero Shot


Theater Shoot: Capturing In The Seats


Airstrip Shoot: Concept


Airstrip Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations


The Haircut: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting


Working With Scrims On Location


The Haircut: Getting the Shot


The Haircut: Shooting Plates


Staggered Planes: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting


Staggered Planes: Getting The Shot


Capturing Plates With Talent In Background


Airstrip: Environmental Portraits


Airstrip: Location Shooting Q&A


Using Plates to Create a Pano in Lightroom®


Transform Tool


Post-Processing 1st Theater Shot


Retouching Details in Photoshop®


Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3


Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®


Creating a Spotlight in Photoshop®


Adjusting Color for Cinematic Lighting


Post-Processing: The Haircut


Coloring the Sky and Removing Modern Building


Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®


Developing Cinematic Portraits in Lightroom®


Retouching Cinematic Portraits in Photoshop®


Color Grading Cinematic Portraits in Alien Skin


Lesson Info

Theater Shoot: Hero Shot

So lets move onto shot two. This was our source image. And I wanted something that was really a little bit more outward to the theater. It got to the edge of the stage versus the first one which showed the backstage area a little bit. And so this was meant to step forward. Be a little bit more of the performance and so I wanted the spotlights to create more of an obvious effect here. And so we had to reconfigure the lights quite a bit for this. We're gonna talk about this setup in just a minute but lets take a look at what that shoot looked like. For the second shot here we're doing a little bit of a variation on the space. So in the first shot we had a little bit more of the backstage area, here we're moving almost to the complete edge of the stage so that we can get more of the environment featured in this set of images. For this we're lighting quite a bit differently. So in the first setup it was a little bit difficult a little bit challenging to get the spotlights to have their spo...

tlight effect in the shot. So for this one instead of having them far back away and on the mezzanine we've actually brought them to the stage and they are just situated outside of frame of the camera. And they're gonna basically, we're kind of cheating it into the frame. So instead of it actually being somewhere mounted high it just gives the illusion of being mounted high and it's just slightly out of edge. And we're running the haze machine in here so you'll be able to see kind of that hard edge to the beam in these spotlights. And from here I mean not much else has changed. So we've brought the spotlights around. We're still using the octabox as kind of a rim slash key light. We're also, we've rearranged a few of the lights in the theater space. Not so much in any theoretically different fashion. It just, since we're shooting the opposite side of the stage we kind of had to move it to the opposite side so that the lights themselves weren't in frame but the result of them across the seats is in frame. Other than that not a whole lot has changed between sets. But visually they're gonna look pretty different and technically the motivation behind them uses a different philosophy when it comes to creating the lighting effects. So we got our lights dialed in. We did a few more tweaks to the direction. Really getting the specifics of what these spotlights are doing kind of in place. So we've created what looks like a beam from the rafters. Which is is kind of up there. And so it's coming directionally from it. We can get this, the haze has kind of settled in really nicely. So the beams are coming in and they're really nicely defined. We also have a nice little flare on the left hand side of the camera which gives us a little bit of visual balance and then we have our lovely subject in this satin dress and we've created kind of this rim light across. You'll notice we still have the five foot octa on the other side which is kind of faking doing what the spotlight would do. So if you could imagine that spotlight were actually coming from that direction it would be lighting her face very similar to that. And so that's kind of what it's in the place of doing and I think it fakes it really beautifully. We also have a little bit of a rim light over on the left hand side which you can see on the dress. And again doing what the spotlight from the left is supposed to do. So all of this is motivated by what is practical or what would appear to be practical in the scene. And so now that we have that in place we can ahead and we can start taking some pictures. Alright Madeline, do me a favor can you, lets see. Its gonna be a little bit, 'cause I'm shooting at such a low angle, if you can kind of lean back to me a little bit. Just to kind of fake it, exactly. And then go head up a little bit more, very nice. And it is a little bit dark in here so just make sure that the posing in between is very slow. (clicking) Beautiful, can you, lets bring that knee. Yeah so almost kind of like, push it across that way. So it, bend this one in and then can we re-clamp this maybe? Yeah of course we can. So yeah you're gonna go kind of in a little bit. And then up here, and then do do do, good. Good? Is that better? Uh-hmm. And turn your shoulders to me just a little bit. Good, and then turn your face to the light a little bit. Good. (clicking) Put your left hand just like right here. Uh-huh, good. Then slide that right hand up the leg a little bit, elbow back. Good, elbow back into the body. There you go. Uh, go the other way. There you go, that's fine. Nice. Good, that's nice. Lean just into me a little bit. Thank you for the focus. Little bit, there we go. Lean to me a little bit more. Tilt the head down a little bit. There, and then turn it back to the light. Beautiful, that's great. Beautiful, that looks really, really nice. Let me get you to move over just a little bit. That's good, yeah great. (clicking) Good. (clicking) Good, can you cross maybe your feet at the, yup good. (clicking) Good, lean forward on me again please. Good, really nice. Let me kinda do something like, uh-huh nice, great. Good, lean forward a little more. Good. (clicking) Close the eyes, head up. Good. That's great, I love that, really pretty. Because I'm shooting with a really wide angle lens everything is exaggerated when its close to me and I usually like to create a bit of balance. So what I'm having to do is have her lean toward me so that she's on a more even plane with her body. And that's generally what I'm trying to adjust here. Its the same with the head. When the head tilts away it looks really far away. So I'm again, trying to create a little bit more balance with this. But I'm also trying to figure out a few different narrative elements and pose the dress in a way that's, you know the most flattering to her and you know that's always the consideration when you're working with dresses and gowns is how can you best make it look for the person. So one of my favorite ways to do that its a very quick and easy way is to do a clamp on the back of knee because it tapers the dress to a much more flattering shape. And that's usually like one of the quick, easy go to ways to make a dress look quite a bit better. Can I see the back of dress again please. Do you wanna find a rough pose and then I can clip it? Yeah, so let me get you. Yup that's good and then you can kinda give me that slink. Yeah that's great, elbows are great, that looks great. Turn the face a little bit more this way, very nice. (clicking) Is that okay or do we need it tighter? We can do tighter, huh. Yeah I think you can go tighter. Can you slink a little, just a little bit more to me with the top? So you're not, your shoulders aren't tilting away from me, sorry. Can you kinda like, there, meh kinda. I know its super awkward to do in that pose. There you go, good. Can you bring that elbow across? Uh-huh, great. Good. So I got the wide shots. I'm gonna go to the 55 again. That again was my preferred lens for the last set. Just I wanna make sure for safety that I've got my wide angles. So I'm gonna pop that on, go back to the vertical. And back up just a touch. So I got to go back to two eight which allowed me to pop to a lower ISO which looks nice. But I also like this 'cause I get to shoot at that, I get to shoot at that, not just more narrow depth of field. I also get to get her a little bit higher. So I don't feel like her face is hiding behind her shoulder as much because I had to shoot her from almost the ground. Okay I'm gonna see if I can back up just a touch more. 'Cause I'm losing some of those lights a little bit. (clicking) That's better. Okay. You know what I'm gonna see if I can do 'cause I'm getting this spotlight on the ground but because I've changed my focal length I should be able to get away with moving it a little bit further on both. So this should give me a little bit more leniency to shoot a little bit more of the ground. Yeah, I likes. (clicking) Turn this back up. I dropped it down a stop but I want it to be a little more poppy. Poppy? (clicking) Yeah, that's cool. Its nice, nice. Alright. (clicking) Try one with the eyes closed real quick. Good, chin down a little bit. Nice. Alright turn to the side a little bit more, just a hair. Little bit less. There you go. Good. And show me the back again. Good, give me that S-curve with the body. Really kind of curve it up. Nice, really nice. Can you bring that right elbow back, how you had it. Yup, good. Beautiful, really nice. Slide the hand down just a little bit on both. There you go, yeah perfect. Nice. I'm just gonna work on the body pose and the hand pose a little bit. Looking for some, you know, why don't we try to be aware of like the elegant lines and the elegant shape of the hands and the arms and everything. So I'm just kind of looking for that traditional S-curve right now. Which I think we're right on. So now once I have it I'm just kind of working through different variations on expressions, head tilt pose. Just kind of giving myself enough options. Okay. Can you give it a, can you readjust the seat on it? Just a little bit. Okay. Thank you. Perfect, that's great right there. Can you lean back just a little bit? Great. Lean back a little more, head up. Beautiful. Head up a little bit more, nice. Good, can you go right hand on the hip for me? Good, beautiful. Swing that elbow out just a little bit more. Yup, perfect. Head up. Great. Lean back a little bit. Ah back, there you go, yup. And then head up, good. Give me hands like on the same, on both sides. The left hand is right. Give me, do that on the right hand. Yup, good. Elbow up a little bit more. Uh-huh. Good, head back, good. Head up even higher, good. Even higher. Good, beautiful. Alright stay right there, that's great. I'm gonna get some plates. (clicking) And can you pull out that octa please? Great, you can turn it off as well. (clicking) Try it off. (clicking) Oh sorry. There you go. Its great. Alright, so this is the visual breakdown of what we were looking at. And so I kinda wanna walk you through those lights one more time from this diagram. So we still got the D one with the five foot octabox that's creating my key light on our subject. Its also kind of faking what that spotlight is supposed to be doing. Its just a slightly prettier, softer version of that. At the top of my frame we can see that spotlight dropping in to create those flare effects and they are boomed in and relatively close to frame. Obviously she's at the relative edge. I've compressed this a little bit just to kind of fit it but we moved the light that was over here on the stage to the opposite side which was also flaring at camera a little bit. Another one is hitting the seats and then technically this one was still on in the top corner, although I don't necessarily think you see it all that much but it is on in that frame technically. So this is the setup, it uses significantly fewer lights than the first one. We've turned a lot of things off. We've moved some things around. And so this gets away with, one, two, three, four, six so its half, half as many as the first one. Like I said we started with the most complicated and then continually broke it down a little bit. Now I'm gonna move over to the computer, show you what that looked like, there we go. This was the wide angle shot. And you can see there's a little bit of a light stand in the corner of the frame, not too terrible. That's an easy enough fix. But this was what that looked like pretty wide. I like this a little bit more than when her back was turned at that low angle 'cause I think it tends to, we lose her face a little bit between the two images. I think she looks much better here. I love that this spotlight looks like that is casting that light on the face even though the spotlight's in the front. I think that's a really cool effect. I think that's kinda fun. This was the shot, I think that I ended up using for the composite. You can see its a little bit wide. I've got the spotlight showing on the ground in front which I ended up, we'll take it away later in, when we do the post production on this. I'll show you guys how to do it. But this is the one that I liked and so this is the one that I chose for the plates. I ended up stitching it to plates that looked like this. You know what, I picked the wrong ones. Lets try that again. So it looked like that. Let me take these out one more time. It was this one and I think this one. Yeah, so take a look at those again. So it was basically like a combination of a few of these different images. It may not have been exactly those but you more or less get the idea. And so when they were stitched together this is actually what they looked like. This is what the stitch looks like when its put together and obviously we throw away a lot of this information. And so it gets cropped down to looking something like that, right. And so this gives me something that's relatively close to perspective so that I know coming in I've gotta erase that light stand. And when that goes away that's basically it. Its just clone stamped out. Obviously like it needs a little bit more work. I was just kinda doing it really quickly to kinda show you what that would look like. I mean I didn't even take the clamp outta the back but you can kinda see, its just a quick, quick, quick little cleanup. And you know, from there. Now that's not to say that I'm not totally fine with an image like this. I actually think this looks really nice. Its just a different way to go about it. And I think the other one matches the first image so if I were presenting them as a series they would feel a little bit more cohesive. But I think on its own totally fine and I would be completely happy with that. So I'm gonna put the lighting diagram back up one more time. There we go, and take some questions on this image if you guys have 'em we'll start. Yeah what shutter speed were you shooting that at, somebody asked. This one in particular I was at 1/13th of a second. When I was shooting it wide. I was at 1/13th and I was at 45, F45. With the other one I was at 2.8, I was still at 13th. I was just going from 1000 ISO to 2000. So that was about the difference. Yes? PJ asked, in theory considering you were shooting with such a high ISO and low aperture for these or for lots of these, could you have done these shots with relatively powerful speed lights? Could you have accomplished the same thing? Well the thing about speed lights is there's not really such a thing as a really powerful speed light. They're portable, they're really small but they're not really powerful. So you couldn't really do it with the spotlights. Those spotlights are using every bit of the 1200 Watts and there is not a speed light that is remotely close to that. As far as the other stuff, sure. Yeah the other stuff you can get away with it but not for the spotlights. That's a specialty thing. You could also if you happen to have the theater's permission, use their spotlights and then you don't have to worry about it. And then you can use speed lights for everything else and then you'd be safe. But the way that we did it you couldn't have gotten the spotlights specifically with speed lights. Yeah. Somebody asked a little bit about how you created sort of that orange glow. Is that the gels you're using? That is gels, that is absolutely the gels. Cool. You said some of those were mix and matched? Yeah some of 'em were mix and matched. That's why over on the left hand side in some of these frames its a bit more orange. That was like a super orange gel. It needs to be toned down. Its a little bit much. But I am shooting at a 5400 white balance which when you are shooting tungsten at it makes everything look warm and that's why it looks warm. If I were to change this to a tungsten. Yeah, I know it doesn't look as nice. So lets say maybe put around something close. Like 34 is probably, 35 is a lot closer to what it would probably be. Like I think this is somewhat close to, I mean other than that left hand side. But the light itself on the main is pretty neutral, I think. But man, its way prettier the other way. Like its way nicer like this. I just think the colors are a lot nicer. This just feels a bit neutral. Like I mean, I can add a little bit of magenta to it but I don't know. It just feels very neutral. I think its prettier, its more interesting when we're intentionally pushing the warmth into it quite a bit.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Chris Knight - Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture Grip Quick Reference Guide

Ratings and Reviews

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.

Student Work