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One Light Setup

Lesson 34 from: Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

34. One Light Setup

Lesson Info

One Light Setup

The contrast ratio slide here, it's just gonna give us a rule of thumb, kind of understand what my contrast ratios are. One to one, two to one, four to one, eight to one. We'll talk about that, and refer that in a little bit. One light. 'Kay, let's move this guy. When you're working with one light, it can be very neat to work with a light that's single because it's very simple, it's easy to use, you know where the light's gonna fall. I oftentimes will use one light for an interview just because I don't have a lot of space, I don't have a lot of time. A lot of the questions I get, when you start with lighting, and let's go to the camera here really quickly, is, "Victor, I read lighting books, "and they always tell me just to set one of my lights "at a certain power, meter it, "and light by the number." Let's see here, give me a second, I'm gonna move my camera. "They tell me just to go ahead and light by the numbers." What I want you guys to look for, whenever you're lighting, is where ...

that lighting is sitting, where that light is, and how it's working. If I were to take this, and tilt this light down... I can meter here, get a number, set my camera to it, and make a picture, but is it compelling? Is it a pretty picture? No, no, it's not. I can do this. I can set my light and flatten her out. Is that a pretty picture? There's no shadows, right? We gotta light for shadows, and that lighting is just way too flat for me. What we want to do is, a good place to start is, you want to start about 45 degrees off. We're gonna start this about 45 degrees off, and we're gonna lift the light 45 degrees up. I'm gonna tilt this light down 'cause I know that, when I lift it up, I'm gonna need to angle it down, tilt it down. I want to lift it up. How's this lighting feel to you so far? We're getting there, aren't we? We're getting there, aren't we? If we're just using one light, Javier, just give me a reflector, please, what we have here is, I've got bright, I've got shadow. I've got highlight, I've got shadow. Then we're gonna take that same technique that we had earlier and fill in that shadow, light her up a little bit, just like that. When you're using one light, you treat that one light exactly the same way that we treated that window. What if I just want to use one light and not a reflector? What are some of the options that I have? Javier. Some of the options that I have is, I can do what's called a paramount, or a butterfly light. A paramount and a butterfly light with one light, it's gonna be very high, and it's gonna be angling down. Give me a second here. You know you've got it when you have that little shadow underneath her nose. That's a butterfly shadow. You see it a lot in older movies, very high, very hard light, but it's beautiful, you get a definition to her chin, you get a little butterfly underneath her nose, it's still flattering light. Where is the light? It's high. It's very high. Look how that shadow starts to disappear when I start to move the light down. See how it starts to flatten out a little bit? Okay. What's more compelling to you? What looks better? This, or this? I personally like this. I've got shadows, looks like something I like. Maybe that's a little too high. Yeah, there you go, okay? One light, very simple, isn't it? How are we doing? Sorry, have I even broken out a meter yet? No, what have I done? I've looked at the light, I've seen what my subjects looked like in the light. Once I get a feel for what my lighting pattern should be, and what the position of my lights are going to be, then I'll break out a meter, because for example, I could've metered this at f as a butterfly light. I could've metered this at f8 as a flat head on light. I could've metered it off the side as at f8. That's all f8. That's all f8, but it looks different. A lot of books say, "Meter your key light at f8," but they forget to tell you, look where the light's falling first. You gotta look at the light, and then you meter. Questions. One thing that we can do is, let's say I've got a high light position just like this. Let's go ahead and bring that reflector back in. If my light is straight above head, and I've got a butterfly scenario, I can actually come in, and look at how I can fill in some of those shadows just with a little bit of a reflector. We call that clam shell lighting. Why? Because it looks like a clam shell, doesn't it? Look at the top light, look at the bottom. It's just a clam shell. I'm gonna go ahead and just keep moving that light, moving that in and out so you guys can see. Now, I like the way this looks, but maybe I just want to fill in this shadow just a little bit 'cause maybe there's too much separation between her head and her neck, and it looks likes she's headless. We're gonna go ahead and bend that reflector in just a little bit. Oops, sorry. There you go. I still have shadows, I'm still lighting for my shadow, but I'm filling that in just a little bit, just so that I can go ahead and create a neck for her. With one light, you go here, add in your reflector for your clam shell, and that's a pretty beautiful lighting scenario, don't we? Let's meter that. Where's my light? Here. So where am I metering? Right here. 'Kay, good job. Would I meter here? No. No, good. I'm gonna go ahead, and I'm at f9. Let's go ahead and set this to f9, and then we're good to go. It's just about looking at light, not getting freaked out because I'm using different equipment, treating this light exactly how we treated that window, and then actually coming in there and filling her in with a little bit of fill from a reflector. Javier, come here and help me out. Yeah, just hold that, and fill in her neck for me. Just a little more, there you go. There you go, just like that. Any questions before we move on? Any questions at all? What's up? I understand your thing, but are you covering how to get rid of the magenta? Are you covering that? Certain lights have a certain shift, and as LED technology improves, this is a newer LED light from a company called Limelite. The light itself is called an SLED 4. The bulbs inside of it actually neutrally balanced, so it doesn't have a shift. That's why, when you're looking at it, there isn't a green cast or magenta cast. It just looks right. What I didn't do prior to is actually white balance properly. If I was going from a daylight scenario to a indoor LED scenario, I would need to re-white balance. What we're gonna do is, we're gonna do that right now, and then continue on. Let's go ahead, hold that to your face for me, please. Javier, you can step off, bud. Give me a second here. Let me switch over to spill. I don't want you to move, so I'm just gonna go ahead. Okay, one second. I'm gonna go ahead and push this back on Now watch. I just took the picture. I'm gonna go to custom white balance. I'm gonna select the image that I want, click OK, and I've just white balanced. It's very simple, it's very easy, that's exactly how long it would take. Let's go ahead and pop back over to video. There you go, looks much better. I'm gonna keep talking one light for a little bit. How we doing? We good? Excellent, now, if I'm gonna go with this high butterfly light, maybe I want to push it off here, there's enough separation because the fall-off on the back of her head is actually happening here, but if we get that reflector back over here, Javier, remember what we learned this morning, was that, if we stand in the shadow, we can actually accent the background a little bit. See what happens to the background? If I want a little more light or a little less light on the background, I can just reflect whatever's light hitting that fixture, and actually reflect it on the background, or reflect it onto her. Look at her left cheek. See that? We can do quite a bit of work with a reflector in shaping that light, even if we have one light. Here's a cool thing. I took one reading. My light here is at f9. If I add any reflector in, do I need to re-meter at all? Do I? No, I don't, because if my lighting is staying the same here, and all I'm doing is just reflecting the light that's coming off the fixture that I metered for, will this fill light ever be more intense than the key light? No, it will never be more intense than the key light, because it's just taking the light that's coming off the fixture, and reflecting it back into your subject. You take one reading towards the light source, and then you can proceed to have your assistant fill in those shadows with the reflector for aesthetic purposes. What's up? Is this all applicable if the one light you have is a small LED light that sits on the top of your DSLR? Or is that a totally different scenario? Explain. Some of the lights I've seen for DSLR video, if it's just one light, they'll have, it's a small light that's about this big that sits on the top of your DSLR camera. I don't know if you can do a lot of the reflecting, or even if it's necessary, and being able to raise it above. What we're talking about, all these basic concepts can be applied to all types of lighting, but when a light fixture is fixed to the top of the camera, we'll actually do that right now. If I pretend that this is a light fixture that's part of the camera, let's make believe that this is my camera here, and all I'm gonna do is shine it straight on her, I don't have an ability to raise or lower that fixture. If I go ahead and blast her forward with light, I've got a huge problem cause I can't shape that light anyhow. It's on the camera, it's on top, it's straight ahead. If I try to move the light over, well, it's on top of my camera. I move the light, and it's still shooting straight ahead. When the light's fixed to the top of the camera, and you can't separate that light from that camera, it gets very hard to shape that light. Just because it's a whole new world to me, LEDs, are there light modifiers like light boxes for LEDs, or no, if you want to make it larger? There are light modifiers for LEDs, and panels, and that kind of stuff for one by ones. When it comes to a guy like this, you can get a grid for it. You can get a set of barn doors for it. You can get a bunch of stuff. That's like modifying it with innate modifiers. It's probably like a 103 class. Got you, okay. We'll talk about this stuff in the sense of, let's teach you how to look at light. Let's teach you how to investigate how different lighting patterns look, and we'll go from there. In this case, I'm gonna go ahead and talk about two lights. Before I move on to the two light scenario, do we have any other questions? We sure do, yeah. Cassandra would like to know, what situations would you use the different types of lighting? For instance, this clam shell lighting, would it be for a corporate interview type shoot? I know we're gonna add lights as we go along. Maybe if we could just talk about the best instances for each type of light. Okay, let's get this back into the right position. Excellent. Let's get that reflector back in her, Javier. Why don't you stand on the other side of her for me. You're gonna be right in front of my camera, so step to the side, and then reflect on in. Just like that. Look at the lighting, look at how she looks, and you pick, tell me what you think that would be good for. Cosmetic commercial. Yes, absolutely, a cosmetic commercial, anything where I need the client to look as beautiful as possible. This is a very flattering light. It's very flattering for a wide range of people. It's flat, it doesn't accentuate any details in their face. I mean, she's got flawless skin to begin with, but if she had imperfections in her skin, moving that light off camera would actually make those imperfections more apparent. Let's see here. If you're gonna be doing an interview for corporate, and maybe it's an interview of someone in broadcasting, or journalism, they always need to look really young, and really well lit, and that's a great application for this type of lighting. High school seniors, great application, even in photography, great application of this type of lighting. Let's say we make the mistake, and we make the mistake of not metering for the light that's coming from top, and we make a mistake, and we meter from the light coming off the reflector. We're gonna do this, meter. It sets at 4.5. If I go ahead and change my camera to 4.5, what happens? Completely blow out the image. Completely blew out the image. If I go ahead and re-meter up here, let's see here, I'm at 11. Let's stop down to 11, and I got myself an image.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Victors White Board Notes - High Resolution
Pre-Production Planner
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

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!

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