Aging with Light | Advanced Cinematography Techniques

Aging with Light | Advanced Cinematography Techniques

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Lighting people’s faces is one of the most common things you will encounter in cinematography.
Everyone has a different face, and different faces require different lighting. Finding the best way to light a face in a way that makes it look great while fitting with the character can be a real challenge. Today, director of photography Jon Salmon teaches us three different ways of aging people up and down with lighting. By using various lighting techniques you can show off or cover up parts of the face to manipulate an actor’s age.

In this video, Jon shows us three different methods for aging with lighting. In our first setup, we compose a lighting setup that creates shadows on the subject’s face to emphasize their age. In our second setup, we light a scene using techniques that bring out any subject’s facial imperfections, while still emphasizing a flattering look. In the third and last setup, we use techniques that cover up imperfections on the subject’s face, in order to make them look younger than they actually are.

The main techniques that we will be discussing today are far top lighting, wrapping the key, and using lighting like make-up. Top lighting is when the light is placed directly above the subject, which can cast long shadows on the face. Wrapping the key is when you use two or more lights close together to create a quality of light that looks like it came from one bigger light source. Using lighting like make-up is when you point a light at anything on the face that you want to cover up.

Odds are, your next film is going to have a face in it that you will have to light. Determining the best way to light your talent to make them look appropriate for their character will ensure that your film is as good as it can be. Lighting can add a lot to your character, so make specific choices on how you light them to make the character jump off the screen.

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