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Shooting montages is a very common challenge in cinematography. Montages can be a great way to convey information or show the passage of time. One of the most common types of montages is a workout montage. These can be found in most fitness commercials and sports movies. Knowing how to approach a fitness montage can help save a lot of time on set. Today, director of photography Oliver Lukacs walks us through how to shoot fitness montage that you might see in a training sequence or in an athletic commercial.
In this video, Oliver shows us the steps he takes when shooting a fitness montage. First, he establishes the space and the action by using a wide angle shot. This allows us to see the character, what they’re doing, and get an idea of the space that they’re in. Next, he pushes in for a close up of the action. This creates a more high energy shot and provides a good angle to cut with. Then, he includes a close up of another action. This helps with showing passage of time, or another part of the location. Lastly, he pushes in even more for an extreme close up of the characters muscles, to bring more intensity into the scene.
The main techniques we will be discussing today are hard back light mixed with soft key light, having your final look in mind, and using depth cues. Hard back light mixed with soft key light is a lighting technique where you light one side of the talent’s face with two different lights. The soft key light provides a pleasing look to the face, while the hard back light creates more shape. Having your final look in mind means that your lighting is determined by any color adjustments you’re going to make on the shots in post. In this example, Oliver had the saturation on his monitor turned down to give an idea of the final look. Using depth cues refers to accents of light in the background of a shot. These provide a greater sense of depth to a shot and create more visual interest.
Ultimately, the way you shoot a scene can tell the audience a lot about your character. Every character is different, so every scene should be different. Shooting sports or fitness scenes can be very exciting, with a lot of high energy shots and quick moments, but being unique with your cinematography can add a lot to the overall project. Even when the subject is athletic apparel, story is the most important thing.
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