One of the most important aspects of setting up an interview is making sure that the lighting for it is perfect. This means that not only is the shot well lit, but also that the lighting matches the content of the interview. In this tutorial, instructor Kevin Bradley discusses how to look to master painters and cinematographers for inspiration.
- A lot of the inspiration for any modern cinematography or videography actually comes from hundreds of years ago from their masters, the master painters like Rembrandt and da Vinci. For example, take the Mona Lisa. When we look at the Mona Lisa, we see that she has a very soft quality of light hitting her face, but yet there's still shadow, there's definition. Pay close attention to exactly where all these light sources are coming from. Look at her key, look at the way that it has modeling but it's a soft quality of light.
It has contrast, it has definition but yet it's very beautiful and very soft and very feminine. Da Vinci was a master of lighting in a time where lighting was really just from the sun. There were no artificial sources of light. Notice in this shot the position of the light is very similar to the Mona Lisa but it's actually having a very different effect. There's a lot more drama introduced and that's because there's a lot less fill and the light itself is a lot more sidy. So these two examples, perfectly demonstrate how I might approach an interview.
If I needed something with more drama, I might have more shadow, and if I needed something that's more pleasing, more aesthetically pleasing, more flattering and warm and inviting I might do more of the Mona Lisa approach. And that's just a way that some of the old masters of painting can perfectly relate to your work today. And these same facts are true for cinematographers. Cinematographers who are shooting both films and documentaries go and watch, watch for the lighting, watch for the interview lighting, look at the way it was shot, the way it was framed.
Where the lights are coming from, look at the quality of light. The amount of shadow versus softness. The amount of fill versus non-fill. That will really start the ball rolling on exactly where you can go with an interview and whether it's an appropriate style for your documentary. Always be inspired by what you see on television. Watch documentaries, watch behind the scenes, try to count how many lights are in a scene. Try to look at the quality of light that's coming in. And ask yourself, what emotion is the director and the cinematographer trying to accomplish with that lighting in the particular piece.
Is it warm and inviting, is it dramatic and sad? Is it powerful, is it something to inspire you? Is it something to get you to vote for them? Whatever the case may be, that is due to the cinematographer, that is due to the lighting. The mark of a professional is thinking about these deeper questions. Not simply knowing how to create soft light and harsh light, it's about asking questions. What emotions am I trying to convey to the audience by lighting something a certain way versus another? If I light something wrong, for the wrong piece it won't work.
Making the right lighting choices for the right subject matter for the piece is absolutely critical to being a professional.
- Analyzing your location
- Different types of LED lights
- Pros and cons of LED lighting
- Lighting in a fast and efficient way
- Creating DIY modifiers
- Softening LED light with silks and other modifiers
- Keeping your subjects comfortable