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Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 19 of 49

Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear


Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 19 of 49

Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear


Lesson Info

Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear

We're gonna talk a little bit about the lighting. Don't get scared cause I'm gonna break it all down for you. This is what we used, so we started with three Profoto D1s and five Profoto D1s, sorry, five Profoto B1s. The B1s are the portable 500 watt heads, and the D1s were the 500 watt monolights that plug in. In truth, like they're not changing image quality, that's just what we happened to have. They're all pretty much interchangeable. For my purposes, I'm not looking for a fast recycle time, a tremendous amount of power, so for the most part, all of my lights are around a 500 watt head. In this particular case, because we were running them everywhere in the theater, it was a little bit easier to use B1s because of the portability and the lack of having to plug them in. That was helpful for us. Also, several of these lights are not used as strobes. They are used as constant lights because it was a relatively low power situation, so know that you could have also subbed that out with s...

omething continuous, lamp, whatever, also works. It's just more about working with what ya have. I've got three Profoto D1s, five Profoto B1s. There's also a Pro8A 2400 watt pack, and the reason we had that was to power two MultiSpot Fresnels with a Dedolight DP-1 attachment. This is a very specialty thing. I said that I wanted a spotlight, okay? So, I want a spotlight, how do I make the spotlight? Well, there's not a whole lotta ways to achieve that. You need a spotlight attachment. What Profoto currently offers is they have something called a Dedolight attachment that sits on top of a MultiSpot Fresnel, and it gives you that really hard edge to the spot, so that when the light projects through the space, it gives you the definition. It gives you that actual spotlight edge. They used to make something called a ZoomSpot, which also did that, but they discontinued it several years ago, and they're almost impossible to find. So, this became the solution. Another one that I used to use that I have at home is called a spot projector, and it doesn't have the power behind it because it's a smaller modifier. You can't throw it across a big environment like an open theater, it doesn't work. It's not big enough, not powerful enough. So, what I had to use was the MultiSpot Fresnel with the Dedolight DP, and I had never used one of these before, before this day, so know that. Hey, I need to create this effect, what tool do I need to create this effect? This is all about finding the right tool for the job, right? Knowing what you have to achieve first and then figuring out the tool that you need to achieve it. This was one of those instances. I need a spotlight, great, what do I, what can I use that can throw a spotlight across a theater? That was what I found, that was what we had that was available to rent, and that's what we used. That's how you wanna really address it. Figure out what you gotta do first and then find the solution. So, it's the MultiSpot Fresnels, now the MultiSpots max out at 1200 watt, so we've got the 2400 so that we could plug two of them into a pack and split the power because as soon as you start putting more than 1200 watts into that head, it'll blow it up. You don't wanna do that cause they're expensive. Additionally, we used a Profoto XL Deep White Umbrella to create big soft light, and then I used a five foot Octabox for the main light on my subject, and just to be fun and creative, I used a flashlight. I'm gonna show you what that looks like a little bit later. The flashlight we used as a little bit of a hair light, just cause, so it'll be fun. I'm gonna show you that in just a minute. All right, so this is all the gear. If you are tabbing it up, it's 11. It's 11 lights counting the flashlight.

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.