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Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 28 of 49

Working With Scrims On Location


Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 28 of 49

Working With Scrims On Location


Lesson Info

Working With Scrims On Location

Okay guys, so we are gonna start by getting the Scrim over the top of this. Remember they're gonna be standing up, and we wanna make sure it's out of the shot. So if we can pipe it up and make sure that that is gonna be blocking him. In about 30 minutes it's gonna continue to move this way. So that's the way we have to plan to guide that Scrim as it goes. Above that we're gonna use the Octa to start. Alright, so let's go ahead and move that into place. This is where this is gonna be. Where do you want the C-Stand so it wouldn't be in the shot? Yeah, we're just gonna have to plunk 'em around if we can, and we're gonna do a plate shot of everything not in place that we can easily overlap. Does this go on either side? Yes. Of the chair? Yeah, we wanna get as much real estate as possible covering them, so if you wanna start with it laying flat before we raise it. Then we can kind of see what best case scenario is. That's looking about right. I mean, working with Scrim's is kind...

of a necessity when you're doing this kind of stuff, but it is a tremendous pain. It's very cumbersome to set up. Usually requires a couple of people orchestrating it. I think we wanna go a little farther. Probably gonna have to go, or back as well. To more like there? That might be in the shot. I don't know if you're gonna be able to get up that high. Yeah, I think it's gonna be a little bit more like that, cause we also need to pipe light from the front. So we have to bend it a little bit. Go up in these arms first? Yep. Let me straighten it a little bit, real quick. I just want to see something. You want this? Yeah, let me just angle so it's straight. There you go. To there. That's about it, right? I think. I think that's about where it's gonna go. You're gonna have to back it up, because it's now cutting off. Cause the guy's gonna stand behind him. We're gonna raise it way up though, right? Yeah I know, but as it goes up higher it's gonna go further. So he's gonna be here. He's already in the light here. So it's probably gonna have to go quite a few feet back. Yep, exactly. Alright that's... Is is on me? Do you see it on me? You. Alright, let me do a quick little test on this. Cause it is so very much in the shot. Can I get somebody sitting on it real quick. Yeah it's good. You're a good barber. Yeah, that's nice. Okay, cool. It's still pretty bright. I have... a couple of visual considerations that I need to make here. One, I know that this Scrim is gonna have to be comped out of the final shot. So, I'm gonna need to do plates of this image after we shoot it regularly with no one in there. It's just so I can easily throw the plane on top. Two, I want that really shallow depth to field. I'm looking for something like a two eight ideally, which means I need to use those ND filters. I'm not using high speed sync. I'm kind of going the traditional film route. My camera doesn't have high speed sync, so I'm kind of here to show you that if you're camera or your lights don't actually have that, you can still achieve a visually pretty similar result by using ND filters. ND filters are kind of how filmmakers have to achieve that shallow depth of field look when they're using a lot of light, and outside we have a lot of light. They're usually shooting at a pretty slow shutter speed. Even though they're using like maybe a low iso on the film, you're still not necessarily going to get that look. Because that slow shutter speed is you know, one sixtieth of a second. One fiftieth of a second. The ND filter helps to counter that. I've got three stop and I've gotta six stop. So I'm gonna try my three stop first, and we'll see if that gives me what I want. If not I can always add the six instead of it. Can I get someone to sit? Okay. That's good. That's looking really good. This is a three stop. It's giving me a really nice soft edge to the light. Which is good. We might want to add a second layer of diffusion. It is giving me a little bit of wrap, but let's ad the light first and see how that looks. But yeah, maybe we can double silk it. Also, what might not be a bad idea is to put another one maybe side by side underneath of it, and we can at least make it even bigger. It's up to you. That might be a good way to go about it too. So where would you like this? So what we'll do is... Here come with me. We'll shift this over just a couple of feet Jonathan. Super bold. That's good, right there. That's it? Mm-hum. Good. So the reason I'm shifting the Scrim is, because I'm anticipating the sun moving. I know that the sun is gonna move this way, and I'm already starting to get it a little bit close to the edge of where they're gonna be. So I'm just basically giving myself a little bit of room to not have to move it later. Then also it's not gonna be necessarily behind the head as much. So it's kind of a twofer. This is what that lighting setup looked like. We've got two Scrim's in here. The two six by sixes side by side just to cover as much of that scene as we can in the foreground. From the front I'm bringing in a five foot Octabox. It was a D1, D2 with a thousand watts of power behind it, and that's giving me a little bit of shape to what that key eventually becomes. Again, it's meant to evoke a cloudy day, but it's just a little bit more sculpted than what that daylight would've brought us.

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.