Doug Lee, a Motion Picture Director as well as a Director of Photography, visited my Multimedia Portfolio class this past week. After a quick monologue reaffirming that we ARE storytellers, he took a different approach at teaching – instead of telling us what to do when lighting videos, he told us what not to do.
To summarize, here are 10 things you should definitely not do when lighting:
- Place the subject next to the background. Doing so creates a super flat and boring 2D image.
- Use hard/un-diffused light, like the ones you see during news broadcasts.
- Let your lighting overwhelm your story and your subject – it’s the best way to ruin a mood.
- Ignore practical sources of lighting. ALWAYS think of the available light!
- Light all parts of the scene uniformly. Doing this eliminates any depth or contrast in an image.
- Light the background brighter than the subject. If you do so, all the viewer’s eye will see is the bright area.
- Pretend composition and lighting are unrelated – you need to lead your viewer’s eyes. P.S. never forget the rule of thirds!
- Ignore color temps. color balance, and color contrast.
- Avoid available light.
- Avoid planes, doing so will make photos seem 2D.
Lee was also able to give us a good amount of pointers for Interview Lighting, which is probably the most common set up for us in this major.
“Wrap” the light; pop the subject from the background, contrast light and dark on the subject’s face, and always catch light in the subject’s eyes.
- The shadow side of the subject’s face should be shown towards the camera.
- MAINTAIN 3D LOOK
- Keylight should be on the other side of the interviewer (keylight > interviewer > camera).
- A white card (or bounce card) is the perfect fill light for interviews.