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Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain

Lesson 7 of 14

Lighting a Subject

Bill Megalos

Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

7. Lighting a Subject


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:17:28
2 The Qualities of Light Duration:48:08
3 Hard Light vs. Soft Light Duration:22:54
4 Three Point Lighting Duration:12:17
6 Basic Light Safety & Gear Duration:11:48
7 Lighting a Subject Duration:15:36
8 Lighting a Room in Daylight Duration:12:55
10 Creating Drama with Light Duration:38:03
11 Lighting at Dusk Duration:18:23
12 Lighting in the Shade Duration:21:04
14 Lighting for Night Duration:11:30

Lesson Info

Lighting a Subject

Whenever I can I want I'm struggling all the time to get three dimensional images that's I'm struggling that's my biggest thing so for me as much as I can I go off access as much as I can with the camp any time I can get away with it I don't want to put it over here now obviously if I'm doing if I'm doing if I'm filming someone like uh I don't know what's a sigourney weaver who looks great but she's still of a certain age I'm going to be moving the light much closer to the axis and making it softer but in general for dramatic purposes as much as possible I'm going to try to get it off access because it makes it more three dimensional it gives me more texture it gives me more shadows and it makes everything more alive can we switch to the camera please okay can you close it down close the iris down the virus come on keep coming okay so I'm gonna be I want to be around a little bit darker still unless I'm looking off yeah I'm sorry I got this always looked so right when you get off axis ...

sorry it's fine. I trust you yeah all right, so um if I were to come in and do this straight on I didn't know ignore that ignore me this is looking this is looking almost like the um this's looking almost like that slide of the hyenas isn't it it's straight on um and it's we can see in his eyes where the light is coming from um it's a pretty small it's a pretty small light the reason I'm using a small light here is because I want to be able to move it easily but what is what is small and what is the softness that you see really has a has a has a has a relationship with how far away you are from somebody if basically if you want to get a fairly soft light it should be at roughly the size of his face at a close distance and about a foot or so away if I imagine a cone coming out of him if I wanted to make a soft light from that look as I move this light further back look how it stops being soft and it starts getting harder look at the shadows on his nose forget about the fact you know it's going to be getting darker but as they come in here when I'm when I'm here the shadow on his nose is fairly soft when I come back here it's hard all right because of that because it's the relationship to the size of the head so that if I wanted to make him look the same here as I did back here I would need to use one of a very big soft source okay so just um so so if I really wanted to make him look as soft as possible let's I was doing well who's now julia roberts who's doing is it long comb or she's doing some she's doing some you know make up company they would like her very big all the way around from below from the side everywhere from the front there'd be maybe there'd be a hole for the camera um anyway but less less let's just look at this from here so I'm going to move this camera I'm going to move this around so this is high we can get up here and what happens is we start seeing raccoon eyes right because the shadow is not the shadows cover his eyes can anyone think of a movie where where the main character one of the main characters was lit like that in the godfather when they started shooting the film a shot the whole film from lighting from above so that we're not the hole but so you couldn't see the godfather's eyes and the studio freaked out in those days they wanted you know that that was when things were very well lit no matter what and they freaked out and that they stood to their said no we don't want the audience to know what's going on in his eyes we want him to be this mysterious figure this mess that you really don't know so they shot the hole I mean it was it was a soft light but they shot the film like this you could never see what was in his eyes anyway as I come forward you're saying that the shadows air kind of disappearing as they come forward and down the shadows they're going down okay as I come down here you can see that obviously I would never I probably would never like just from here but this is what a low light below would do it would take away some of the shadows that would be coming from above so far we're doing a julia roberts or barbra streisand there would be from below and above yeah I'd make sure I would have a light coming from here. This is kind of this is kind of what we saw with my friends with the older couple with in the attic, right um but generally this is this is it if I can I like to keep the kind of the light kind of low the light being lower it is for me is it does make a longer nose then if I go like that you see the nose sometimes come across but I like to see a little bit of light in the other side can you do me a favor because normally you would never look at the camera right? So why don't you look at look at that red light or a little bit lower like at eye level for the red light so so this this gives us much more now granted you're seeing everything very extreme here maybe you could hold ah you could hold this card a little bit away so there's a little fell light on the other side and and move opposite me as as um come forward just you had that so I can see the monitor so you know this to me is a very good look all right? This is this is ah because what it's doing is it's making his face look thin there because of this black area and they're actually makes his face look fairly thin if I were to come over to here and light him from this side first of all there's no light in his eyes but it also accentuates his jaw makes him look bigger makes the jaw look bigger makes his face look rounder um so um so let's say so let's see what happens if you turn even more sideways and look at that white the top of that white paper there okay, so this is a situation where we're actually getting a lot out of you come from may be down there for this one let me see the mother you know this is a situation where we're actually getting quite a bit out of being very far off off access we're coming three quarters around but it's a really, really nice look um anybody got any? Where do you want me to put it? So we come back here let's look back here and see what you guys tell me what to do ignore the guy holding the light but look at the difference in the as the light comes around that's at this height now this is a more traditional top light like here it doesn't so now you can now there's enough light on him that you can see what what this backlight is doing see what happens if it's low if I keep it low it doesn't hit the top of his head it's just it's just kind of lighting the side of his face um if I bring it high it's really lighting more the top of his head I bring it back here but you can see what the three quarterback is doing and three quarter over here maybe look at the camera for this part but this is pretty. This is pretty nice it's you know normally wouldn't see that much of it. I keep it a little lower in level maybe something more like this, right? You don't really want to draw attention to yourself with the lights unless unless you d'oh now, of course we can change color on these right now what's happening is he's lit where the tungsten light and the camera is set for daylight that's why the light is very orange on him whereas this one is not set for daylight thats why its looking kind of more white um you want to put a bolo on there and bring it in yeah just just kind of hold that on in front of their do you see now it's it's not it's not quite as orangey yeah let's get two more people from the class let's pull these guys way back we're gonna build we're going to build one more thing that's kind of the biggest thing we're going to do today but it's um I wanted to show you you saw what happened as I pulled that little light further away the light got darker it stopped being a soft light well it's not very often that you can have a light right next to a person like that sometimes you can but very often you can't so what we need to do is we need to get bigger so you know, like in charge and jaws when they say we need a bigger boat we need a bigger boat now if we want to get further away this is called a frame this is a six by six frame okay, there you go okay, now what we're gonna do is we're going to set this up the right way to set this up is putting these one of those in each corner so we don't get hurt okay good good let's turn that around the other way and we should open up the oh you got to take that you see that middle you see that middle one in there that's got to come out that that middle that middle handle that he needs the middle handle all right and so what we've got with this is we've got so now we can make a very big we can make a very big light source with wei have different choices we can put black on it we can put a double net a double net is like this what this does is it takes the light down without changing the quality of it we can put that in there which without which we would use outdoors if we wanted to bring the sun down we can put a black one in or we can put this one in so um let's just put this one in because this one is gonna this is a silk so tie that all the way around we can take take the take the take the is there is there rubber on the bottom of yours is their elastic take the last thinking this one ok that doesn't okay just put the elastic on all right yes I just tie these guys up just usually when we tied these we only tie them with a single so the one in the corner ties into that little loop we time with a single rope a single line right rather than a rather than a like a double bow tight, tight, tight, tight tight there yes mine's a little tight take a look back there so sing yeah single bo is good like like you tying your shoes so they don't come out easy but usually we use a single beau so that taiwan pull one all the way through so you know, the short one you can take it out right away do you want to set up that uh, one k into this and we'll just we'll get reached back over here now we're just gonna hold this up for now because of the time uh but normally what we would do is we would put it on a c stand we put it on a c stand so normally we would use a clamp like this, right? That will that will britain want to hear it's designed exactly for this and you just put it on here and then we can put this in a c stand. Well, they have bigger ones than this, but usually we put one on both sides so I'm gonna take this off so no one doesn't send only gets hit with it because it's black because we're just gonna hold this virus where are you okay let's turn the lights out, please. So let's see what happens with this? So we're going to we're going to use this as wide as we can. We're going we're not going to use this spot. You're gonna flood it because we want to make as big a space is the biggest source is possible and then now look at this look at me about this soft light on him now um can you guys raise that just a little bit about what I want to do with this? Now I'm just going to take it a little higher so it's not society how's that so can everybody see the different to see how it's soft light again instead of being that hard light from the little light nice huh? Now let me just say this this we will use these outdoors very much to this would be a very good way to soften the sun but yes so these air used outdoors it can stop you, khun like we say we can put full black and we can put the silk like this which diffuses we can put a solid in like this which cuts the light or we can put in a double or a single like this usually don't put a single because it doesn't do very much you put the double in like this which keeps the same quality of light it's still the same hardback like on him, but it knocks it down. It's controlling the lighting. All right, that's and that's. What these c stands for for, for controlling lighting and cutting, lighting away with this, and also for reflecting, holding, holding, you know that board that that board that that adrian was doing with you. All right, so let's, go let's, go look in a location. Let's, put some of what we learned to use in a location.

Class Description

Young filmmakers are often taught to de-prioritize lighting. They are told that lighting takes too much time, money, and expertise to have any profound effect on their work. Lighting for Film: Simple not Plain with Bill Megalos changes that.

In Lighting for Film, Bill will show you how to light technically, instinctually, and cinematically. You will learn how to light for both interior and exterior work and how the simplest lighting techniques can produce the most dramatic effects. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Produce story-altering lighting effects with minimal equipment
  • Light for both of interior and exterior content
  • Choose instruments that suit your budget and filming goals

Bill will teach professional lighting techniques you can use on your own or with a crew that defy the everyday budget and common-wisdom of filmmakers having to tell a story "in the dark."


a Creativelive Student

This is a wonderful class with a very knowledgeable and experienced instructor. It starts with the principles you need to understand and then walks you through the process of actually doing the work on set. You can see what it takes to accomplish the work. I will be watching this over and over to let it all soak in. Thank you Bill for putting this together.

Joe Stevens

Great class, learned a lot. Would highly recommend!

Abel Riojas

great class! i've struggled with proper lighting and he broke it down in a matter of minutes. very simple and easy to understand. i would recommend this to someone that is still trying to find their "voice"