Light with Large Sources | Advanced Cinematography Techniques

Light with Large Sources | Advanced Cinematography Techniques

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Lighting with large sources is one of the keys to great cinematography! Large sources create a very pleasing quality of light that wraps around your subject. Some of the most beautiful lighting setups include a large lighting source. Today, director of photography Austin Sabado teaches us two different ways to light with large sources, including bouncing light, and lighting from different angles.

In this video, Austin shows us two different methods for lighting with large sources. In our first setup, he uses a long corridor of light to create an even light level throughout the subject’s movement in-frame. In our second setup, he uses light levels and a hairlight to create a stylized separation from the background.

The main techniques that we will be discussing today are even lighting, bouncing or diffusing light, and the type of fabric one utilizes. Even lighting occurs as a product of using large sources; this allows one to light moving subjects within a large space, evenly. Bouncing or diffusing refers to two techniques used to create large lighting sources. Each technique creates a different look. Type of fabric refers to the surface you are bouncing or diffusing light with. There are many different fabrics you can use in film and they all have slightly different characteristics!

As filmmakers we are always trying to tell more human stories, and the more we learn about how to light human faces the better we will be able to tell our stories. Different lighting styles and directions will create different feelings and emotions. Sometimes that means using a large lighting source. Whether it’s for stylistic reasons, necessity, or even because of the location. But, it is essential to be able to embrace the type of lighting that will complement the talent’s face and best tell the story.

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