Friday, August 29, 2014

Brightness and control of Lighting in Film/Video

Because this is a production class, I wanted to share some valuable information on one of the most vitally important aspects of narrative filmmaking. Lighting is something that can set the professional film apart from the films produced by students filmmakers. Even using the most expensive cameras and lenses on the market, if a scene is lit incorrectly can make it look amateur. Today I just want to briefly explain the Inverse Square Law and how to manipulate your image using a different variety of lights, but can achieve similar effects, however have distinct differences.

Inverse Square Law:

      The inverse square law (law of squares) tells us how to calculate the distance and placement of a lighthouse. This can also help determine falloff, or how dark the shadows in the background of the picture will become according to F-stops.  To put it simply you can achieve the same exposure for your subject, by having a smaller light closer and a bigger light placed farther away. Obviously though, the smaller light will not make the larger space in the background as bright as the larger light which is farther away will. We know this because you can take the illuminated space of a light ten feet in distance is a quarter of what it was at twice the distance. At a third of the distance, it is a quarter of what it was at ten feet. Taking advantage of this law and learning how to manipulate light sources with available equipment are serious things to consider in how to achieve the look for the right situation. 

Harry Box's Set Lighting Technicians Handbook

I highly recommend anybody interested in film lighting to pick up this book, it is very well written and provides an incredible amount of useful information about film and video lighting.

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