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Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Lesson 29 of 39

Ambient Light Part 1

Victor Ha

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

29. Ambient Light Part 1

Lesson Info

Ambient Light Part 1

We have preset some of my camera positions so that's why I'm up against the wall here. I'm gonna go a head and turn this camera on. Hopefully you guys will get a feed here in just a couple of seconds. Now, just because we haven't really gone over it in a real life situation yet... Alright, give me a second. Okay. Let's just go over really quickly the camera settings, okay. So, I'm back into my camera menu. I'm gonna come over here. Let's just go ahead and before you shoot ever guys you gotta check your camera settings. So the first thing I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna check my picture style, which is wrong, right. So, I'm gonna go ahead and set my picture style to neutral. I'm gonna go ahead and take down the sharpness take my contrast down to negative two take my saturation down to negative two and then I'll bounce back out. And then I'll go over to my next set of settings. Okay, I'm at the right frame rate and resolution and I'm in the low compression, ALL-I setting. And then , oh my...

sound recording is on auto I wanna change that, alright. So I'm gonna go ahead and go to manual and, you know, let's always pretend we're gonna be recording sounds so you wanna get a good level here. So I'm gonna go ahead and just decrease my level so that I'm actually at negative 12. Check, check, check, check, check it, look at that, okay and right there. Okay I'm gonna go ahead to my next set of settings. There is one here that I gotta make sure and it's for the screen. Because the screen sometimes is on the LCD brightness is on auto. Okay and you don't want it on auto 'cause what will happen is based upon what the camera thinks is too dark. It will brighten and darken your LCD and then it'll kind of mess with your head a little bit. So, you gotta make sure that the LCD is on brightness and then, you know, you can't really trust the LCD so I'm gonna keep it at four and just kind of trust my meter. I use this, I use the LCD for framing reasons I don't use it for exposure, okay. Before we go on, any questions? No questions at all, okay. So Danielle why don't you come up. So, I want you to step up right here for me and let's go ahead and get your reading. Okay, so... Yup, there she is. Okay, so what I'll do is I'll check my framing here and I'll check my focus. So, I'll, go ahead and use that in camera tool check my focus. See how... See exactly how that use of the camera tool for magnification can help you check focus? I'm gonna try tripod guys. I'm gonna studio setting Let's pretend here, that I'm just gonna interview her that allows me just to make sure that I'm in focus, okay. I'm gonna go ahead and pop back out. Now before I even do anything I mean we have a beautiful image here, right and we'll talk about this image and why I think it's gorgeous here in a second. Before I even do anything, I'm gonna go ahead and have Danielle hold this target right in from of her face alright, so go ahead. And I'm gonna zoom in and okay, give me a second. Danielle, I want you to do me a favor please and take a step forward and just look at the framing get it nice and big, okay. Come on up, come on up, come on up, okay and pull it down, then up, there you go just like that. Okay, so what I'm gonna do here guys is I'm just gonna get a quick little reading that's of a light falling on this target set my camera to that, take a still image get a custom white balance, alright. So, at this point what I'm gonna do is measure, okay. I'm gonna go ahead and switch to still. I'm gonna move my aperture to F10, take a picture and then come back into my menu come over here to custom light balance select the image that's compatible, set it, okay. Now I'm just gonna set my custom light balance my right balance to custom in the camera. So, lets go ahead to videos, you guys can watch me do that. Okay, I'm gonna hit light balance and then I'm just gonna move to custom light balance. Alright, so here is the thing guys. Go ahead and let's have you step back to your mark, okay. Now watch this guys. Here is white balance differences. Here is the actual white balance, that I just customed, okay there is a difference in Kelvin. Here is the difference in auto light balance. Can you guys see that? How the difference in auto light balances versus my custom light balance. She looks alive as opposed to so blue, alright. So, that's why you custom light balance because right now, I know I'm spot on. Now all this stuff that we've done prior to how long did it take to set that custom light balance? Half a second. You give than a target, you take a picture. If I wasn't even talking about it, I just do, boom done. Okay. So, the reason we're starting off like this for right now with this specific lighting. Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and get a reading. So, I'm gonna measure for her So I put the meter under her chin and it's coming out at 6.3. Okay, so I'm gonna take my aperture and I'll open up to 6.3. Okay, so the first question I wanna ask you is how does that lighting feel to you? Does it feel good? Does it look good? To me it looks a little specular. Okay, this looks (mumbles) because you're looking at a screen, right. So the immediate comes, well it looks am little hot it looks a little bright it looks a little over exposed right. So, if you were trusting the monitor on the back of your camera you could be incorrect because, how bright is that monitor? How dark is that monitor? You don't really know, do you? Okay, so when you take a look at a reading maybe I'll get two different readings. I got 6.3, I got 6.3, I've got 6.3 all over the place here. So I know that this meter I'm trusting this meter to be right. I know that when I trust my meter, I'm always right. I cannot trust the screen because this screen will look different than the screen on... That I've got on my camera will look different than the screen that you're probably gonna look at. It's... If you think about the thousands of screens or hopefully the tens of thousands of screens that people are watching on at home and are they color managed? What percentage of SRGB or DOBI RGB does that display you know, represent? There are so many variables that that you can't control. The one variable you can control is this, right. So, now that we know to trust this let's talk about how this lighting looks to you, right. How does this lighting look to you? And the lighting to me is flat. However, there's a purpose for flat lighting and we'll talk about that in just a second. But do you agree it looks alright? It looks alright? Yeah? It looks beautiful yeah. Okay, so. We'll do a little bit of a change later but the reason I prefer flat lighting some of the time okay, is because if I'm going to be capturing a female, someone who's elderly someone who, you know has a lot of blemishes on their face flat lighting is the way to go. You have to light them flat because you don't want any shadows cast on their face that will accentuate any imperfections in their skin, okay because, think about how long it takes you edit an image in Photoshop to remove blemishes and think about how difficult that would be for a moving picture, like, or for a capturing motion. So, we have to be very specific and very, very careful with how we like people because the post aspect of it is so entirely different. And yeah, there are plugins you can use that will work and soften peoples skin, yada, yada, yada but that's always at an op... That's always at a cost of something, right. It looks fake, it looks plasticky, you lose sharpness yada, yada, yada, okay. So, the reason I like to start with flat light and explain flat light is because more often than not it will be a type of lighting that you will use extensively, because if you're capturing interviews of elderly people or females who have you know, issues with blemishes or they are older and have wrinkles. These are all really important things, okay. Now... Hey Victor. Yes. A quick question if you don't mind. Word Critter, so why doesn't the white balance change with the distance to the camera, doesn't the amount of light on the subject affect white balance or does it not? Okay, the distance to the subject doesn't affect white balance because the color of the light will stay the same. If you noticed, I took an exposure here for that card and I set the camera to the exposure and created an image and that created the white balance for this light in this space. If I moved her back I'm still going to have the same white balance because it's the same light that's hitting her. Now, if I put a blue gel in front of this window it's an entirely different light now, right so it would then change the color. Or if I change, let's make belief that this it's no longer nine o'clock in the morning here in Seattle if it goes to be like 6 pm and the color of the light changes and I'm still trying to use the same white balance, it wouldn't work, you guys see that? White balance is basically applicable to the type of light that was cast on an individual at the time. And yeah, that if you really wanna be stickler about it you know, you're gonna get some variance some variance but it's so negligible that it's okay to get the person here get that targeted into frame and then move them back, okay. Alright make sense? Cool. So, when you're in a situation like this and Danielle is is rockstar because she's gonna be on camera just standing here all day. Can I just say that, I don't mind looking at that woman's face all day long? Yes. Do you see how beautiful this girl is? She looks absolutely phenomenal. She's stunning, she's a PA here at CreativeLive so you guys maybe have seen her on camera before. Okay. And she's just an an all-round wonderful human being. Look at that face. Alright, so give me a second (chuckles). Alright (mumbles) just a little second Danielle I me get you on focus here. Okay, good. So, what I'm gonna do, is now I'm gonna turn Danielle on this light. So, I'm gonna turn her slightly this way, okay. I'm gonna turn your head back to the screen, okay. See this light is so broad, these windows are so broad that it's actually wrapping all the way around her face. It's wrapping all the way around her face and no matter how much I actually turn her head she's still gonna be really beautifully lit. So, if I was doing an interview of someone who was elderly and someone who's having, you know needing that flat lighting if I was working in this room, I'd be so happy because I can literally place them in any direction and allow them... And capture them from any direction in this light, okay. What we're gonna do here is I'm gonna pull Danielle back. Keep back until you actually fall off the light just a little bit. Okay, just look at the floor okay, alright. What I'm gonna do here is point the camera to her. Okay. I moved her out of the light, right guys so what was my reading here? I was at 50th at 6.3. Here, my reading is gonna be, it's gonna be a lot less. So, I'll get my meter up. Okay, 4.0. Okay so I'm at 4.0 now. A little over a stop difference. Okay, let's go ahead and focus on her. But you can start to see here as you pull her back, you start to see there's more of a shadow on this side now whereas opposed to when I pushed her all the way up there it was just nice and flat all the way round. So, what did we just learn there? We just learned that when we have a large wall full of windows, when you keep... When you look at the lighting pattern and you pull them off that lighting pattern a little bit you can create contrast without a second light without any kind of modifier here, alright. If I pushed her towards this window and pushed her into the light it would start to wrap around okay. Wrap around a lot more. You can do the exact same thing I did here I can't do it over there because I've got all that production stuff over there for CreativeLive but if I were to move her all the way over to the edge of this window and do the have the exact same thing happen I would actually get a harder shadow on her face just like that. Okay does it make sense? What's up? (mumbles) I know like in the target view you know, we like to short light somebody. Is that... Does that work in interviews or would you rather go broad lighting, is it, does the audio appeal to it one way or another? Okay, so there's two types of... There's short lighting and broad lighting, right. And short lighting and broad lighting actually look differently on different people, okay so you wouldn't short light my face because I don't have enough angles on my face. You'd broad light my face because I've got a round face and round features, right. And typically, rule of thumb, women are broad lit and men are short lit but I kind of go against that. Now, we'll take a look later when we do lighting 'cause it's a lot easier to explain short light versus broad light when we have lighting that we can control. In terms of ambient light you just wanna do what looks good. Okay, that's your go to. Does it look good, does the client look good? That's what important. Does the client look good? That's all I care about. If you get in your head space about short light verses broad light, again, remember the first day we talked about left brain versus right brain? If I'm starting to think, short light, broad light I am no longer trained about my client I'm not longer caring about how that person looks on screen. Ask yourself first, Danielle look at the camera for me. Do I like the way that she looks? Absolutely. Is she gonna like the way that she looks? Absolutely, right, because she looks great on screen. We've lit her properly, we've actually kind of metered properly we've placed her in the light properly and we did all of it properly because we stopped for a hot minute, look at the room and read the light in the room. Now just for giggles, okay we're gonna put her up against the wall just to see what that light looks like, okay. We're gonna put that light, put her up against the wall here and go ahead and meter here. Okay. Okay. Alright, give me a second. And it's not fair 'cause Danielle looks really good all the time, okay. But you can see here how it just the lighting just deads, it just falls off and it just dies. There isn't... It's something that's missing out of her face and out of the skin tone and how the way that she looks right, versus when we just took her and moved her up just a few paces here. Alright. You need light to create an image and if you take someone and stick them in the shadow when you have a room full of beautiful light, you've not done yourself any favors because now, let's make believe I can actually make an image here that was pleasing, where can I move her? Where can I mover her? I can't move her anywhere, right. She's against the wall guys, I can't move her anywhere I can't even turn her to make it look pleasing. So let's go and turn her. Okay, I can turn her this way, I can turn her that way but then my options are sop limited and what if I need to use a reflector which is what we're gonna talk about next? I can't use a reflector here, okay. So, I'm gonna move back, Danielle back over here, okay and we're at 6.3 there. So let's go ahead and move it back to 6.3. Okay. Okay, alright. Can you guys see how much I'm actually always zooming in and rocking that zoom to make sure that I'm in focus? Right, you always have to do it. It's like second nature at this point. Alright. So, Danielle has wonderfully beautiful locks. Unfortunately they're falling off into the background and you can't see them in the background, can you? There is no separation. If I were to stand behind her, can you see where here hair can you see where her hair all of a sudden starts to pop out? Right, so let's go ahead and bring out a reflector and do what's called a rim light. Alright, now when we talk about reflectors guys I'll talk about it more when we change the camera position but if you go ahead here and just like her up just to touch you can see how it starts to affect her hair just a bit okay. And we can go ahead and move it back and forth and if we take it away, come over here we take it away it starts to go away. So, what we want to do is when we take a reflector and we use it as a rim light, we wanna make sure it comes high and when it hit then and get just a little bit of separation and highlight on the back of their head, okay. And it really pays to have an assistant to kinda help you out. I've got Javiera here, he's awesome, so I'm rally excited. So, before I change my cam position and before we talk about how turning a subject in light can create an instant contrast for us and issue a different look do you have any questions, how are we doing? One question would be drop off topic but I think everyone discussed this one point (mumbles) one of the lunches is how much focus, how much dance do you have how much lee way do you have at this distance like when you have the same person stand totally still don't move, I have your eye in focus or at this F stop (mumbles). Okay, so at F 6.3 right now, okay. So, I'm gonna have 6.3 and I'm at how many millimeters? I'm at 200 mm . So, Danielle, I'm gonna just ask you a question answer for me and actually just kinda answer and kinda answer and move around like you'd normally move around, okay. So, could you please let me know what you had for breakfast this morning? I had apples and banana and toast. So, she's moving around there right guys? And she's (mumbles) and focused. That 6.3 at 200 mm is actually an aft of the field to capture her and have it still be acceptably in focus. Now, let's go ahead and drop that to 2. so I'm gonna cheat here, okay guys. And, give me a second. I'm just gonna increase my shutter a little bit. Okay. So, Danielle, let me just make sure (mumbles) and make sure we're in focus here. Okay, so go ahead and tell me about your favorite book. Can you see how she's moving and it's already falling out of focus? She didn't even answer the question she's already falling out of focus. So, a lot of people, so I'm gonna stand right where Danielle is (chuckles) and I'm gonna talk and people do this. See how, and they rock back and forth when they talk? And then all of a sudden they're and they're out of focus. So, when you have 6.3, okay let's get back to 6. 6.3 she can get... We can kinda rock her back and forth a little bit, right. That's great. And she still stays in focus. That's amazing, thank you. Okay? Yeah. So, is the rule for interviews then, I mean I shouldn't use the term, rule 'cause there are no rules but interviews you probably want to give that keep that freedom of back and forth but like a still like for example if you really want that cool depth of field look for a plant, then you can use the... Well let's... That. Let's actually frame the question in a different way. Okay. Okay. In photography we're so used to shooting in shallows 'cause you want that shallow depth of field. Right. Is the image shallow? We're at 6.3 right now, it means it's shallow. Yeah. Yeah. We just got what we wanted guys, image is shallow. If the overall objective is to get a shallow image you should use the aperture that gets you the correct amount of focus depth, depth of field and shallow 5.6 and 6.3, its funny. Our perception when we watch video is so different 'cause we've watched so much of it subconsciously that that looks okay to us because technically in photography that's not shallow but for us watching video, that is very shallow. Okay, makes sense? Yeah. Good, good, good. Okay, so, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move my camera and I'm gonna turn Danielle 90 degrees, okay. So we're gonna go ahead. Alright. Okie dokie. So while I'm getting this set up, now would be a great time to kind of have some questions answered. How are we doing on the chat room? Doing great. Yeah, doing wonderful. So, Carls Melindas just asked, what is your aspect ratio 'cause it looks wider that 16 by 9. Is that what it is? So, my aspect ratio is 16 by 9 and the reason it looks wider is because I'm on my camera I'm actually showing some settings. So, if I were to do... One second. Oh you know what? It might be because it's going through and kicking out to a screen. So, I'm shooting 16 by 9 for a fact and I will find out on the break and explain... And give you a proper answer afterwards of why it looks skinny, okay. So guys, first thing we're gonna do is just talk about this lighting but I'm gonna go ahead and just give a reading real quickly. Okay, alright. So, if we take a look at what's going on in this scenario here, right I've got Danielle turned 90 degrees. So, already you should see that there is a key light and then now, no light. And when I say key light, key light is the largest source the brightest source. So, we're gonna reuse that term a lot. So, the key light is always gonna be the light source that is the brightest casting on your subject. Fill light is the other type of light, okay. Now, before we even pop over to the camera or anything like that let's just take a look and see if we're to turn her can you see how the light starts to change direction on her face? And now she's gotten darker and now we're back to being flat and shes back lit, isn't she? Okay. So, if I'm gonna use this type of light I can use this entire window as a gigantic soft box. So I can move her in this light and all we need to do guys is look at the floor, so I look at the floor. Where is the light the brightest in the floor? Here isn't it? Let's move over here. All of a sudden when you move her here you can see all... There's a definitive shadow. So, let me just pop into the camera I think we may be having... Here we go. So, first question we've got, basically people are asking about metering a room or like metering for weddings where people are moving around and you can't necessarily go up to everyone and get the exact of perfect meter. Okay. So, how do you do with the light in those situations? Alright, so let's break it down. So the first thing is metering for a room, alright. Now in the room, you're gonna want a meter for the brightest source in the room. Like let's make belief I am in this room and I wanna photograph somebody in this room and I need to use and I need to show that person in this room. So, it's not just a portrait style of image, it's an actual large wide image, alright. So, I guess the guy... The folks from home can benefit from this. Let's make belief that I am head to toe in frame and I have to worry about this entire room, right. I would meter for the brightest spot in the room and then I would have to light me to either match or exceed the brightest spot in the room. Because your eye will always go to the brightest spot in the picture. Okay. So, in terms of lighting, we're gonna talk about like that aspect of it later on today. So, in terms of available light if you're gonna be in using available light you have to kind of understand that your light's fixed. You can't move the sun, right and if you can, I'm scared of you. (audience laughs) Okay, so you can't move the sun but you can move your subject. So, let's pretend you can't get your subject and you're gonna send your bride and groom 50 yards off in the distance out in the sun, okay. And you're happily underneath a tree. Where do you meter? I step out of the shade take a reading out in the bright sunlight. Now the sun hitting my meter presumably is gonna be the same light hitting my subject, right. So I can get the reading just by stepping in the sun five paces away from my camera there's no need to run all the way over there and then run all the way back because that light will be the same because the same light source hitting them is hitting the meter outdoors. If I were to do it under the tree, that's a no, no, right. Why? Because the light hitting the dome under the tree is not the same light that is hitting your subjects so we learn something really important there. When you have subjects that are off in the distance you can get a fairly accurate reading if you can... If the light hitting your subject is the same light that's gonna be hitting your meter and outdoor is an available light, that's what you do. Okay. So think about it. If it's over cast, outdoors, same concept. In a room that doesn't have any windows, it's just lit with lighting, same concept okay. So where the light can fall on the subject the same light can fall on your meter you can get the reading right by where you are. That's why you see a lot of people who actually use meters and know what they're doing, they don't usually if the lighting is gonna be the same they'll just get a quick reading here and then maybe double check themselves later, you know but they can get initial reading here to set the camera up and then maybe they'll walk over and get an actual reading and it's always usually just the same. Okay. There may be some variances in the sense of this is a gigantic white wall isn't it? Right? What does white do? It reflects light. Okay, so a lot of tricks that people do outdoors and use the ambient light is if I have a sun and my sun is there and I'm gotta white wall here what should I be doing? I should use this white wall as a reflector. Exactly. Okay, and I can move my subject either closer to the wall or away from the wall to get more or less fill, right. Read your light, survey your light, look at you light. If you do that this way, now you have an ability to shape and control that light, you follow?

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

If you own a DSLR camera, you already own a powerful filmmaking tool. Ready to learn how to use it? Join CreativeLive and Victor Ha for a course that will cover the core principles of capturing video with your DSLR.

Through hands-on demos - including how to create compelling video interviews - Victor will guide you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to apply the compositional skills of still photography to taking video. You’ll also learn about how to navigate the video-capturing features of your DSLR, choose the right gear for your filmmaking needs, and incorporate audio into your shoots. From framing shots to producing simple projects to spatial relationships, the skills you gain in this course will leave you ready and inspired to create high-quality, engaging film projects.


Victor van Dijk

This course was quite a treat! I had been learning piecemeal about DSLR Filmmaking but never had the opportunity to follow a course that ties it all together. And my namesake Victor is ex-cel-lent!!! Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a very very clear (I would almost say, lucid!), carefully, comprehensively tied together course teaching all you need and wanted to know about DSLR Filmmaking. Massive PLUS is that the course is first and before all NOT about the nitty-gritty technical details and numbers, but all about the basics of what filmmaking REALLY is all about. And yes, technique and gear are part of that but not for their own sake. And Victor shares that it's all about fun, and telling your story your way in the way that you like. I truly admire Victor's carefully planned and laid out path, in my opinion he planned the course exactly and meticulously like he would a full-blown movie production. And he is very open and honest and not belittling at all. He is really passionate, compassionate and 'infectious' with his happy happy mood :-)! I HIGHLY recommend this course for anyone wanting to properly and thoroughly learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, with a strong focus on using a DSLR.

Penny Foster

This is a very well constructed course by Victor Ha, who is very easy to watch, and very knowledgeable about using the DSLR for more than just taking pictures. For a Wedding Photographer like me, who wants to add some moving images into a slideshow for my client, this course was perfect. Victor shows us that, with the equipment you already own as a working professional photographer, you can get started into video RIGHT NOW, with baby steps. This is not a course on video editing, so if you need that tuition look elsewhere, BUT, Victor shows us how to set our cameras up for success right from the start, so that when we are at the editing stage, the footage is in the perfect state possible to produce excellently exposed, perfectly colour balanced material. He goes over the use of a light meter for capturing video, and how essential it is to get the exposure right 'in camera', so this is certainly a Fundamental DSLR Filmmaking course, for anyone who is already using their DSLR for stills, but who is interested in adding something else to their skill set. Victor is so enthusiastic in his teaching style, and this is a course I will keep coming back to time after time.

Sara safajar

Excellent overview on how to think as a storyteller with DSLR video. Great breakdown and really accessible examples- fun video on the making of a peanut butter sandwich- which inspire and make it feel like the video beast can be conquered. This course is packed with great ideas on not only figuring out to how to make the switch from still to motion, but also creative inspiration on how to begin thinking cinematically. Well worth the price. Great course!