When we started this business, I found that for me personally, one of the most challenging aspects was figuring out the best way to light a scene. As far as I can tell, lighting is not a science. It’s slightly different every time. This can be both fun and frustrating.

Our goal in these posts is to deconstruct how we lit a particular scene and give you a peek behind the curtain. So read on to see how we set our lights during a recent shoot and why we made the choices we did.

Let’s kick this off with a screen grab from our camera. This is the wide shot we used. We’re using four lights in the shot. Two on the subject and two for the background. We’ll go into some detail with placement in the next few images.

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Here’s another screen grab from the camera. This is our tight shot. Again, this is right out of the camera without any color correction.

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So here’s a wider look at the setup. We were in a boardroom with lots of windows so we had to close everything due to competing light temperatures. We also ended up having to do a custom white balance as the preset 3200k was still a bit too blue.

Our key light (left side of the frame) was a  650 watt Arri with a Chimera soft box. We also used a 150 watt arri, (visible in the background) as a hair light.

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Now that our talent is lit, we need to take a look at the background. The chairs in the back needed a little bit of light so they didn’t fade away into a muddy mess.

As you’ll see in the next two images we used two lights to add a little bit of definition.

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To light the clock we used our 300 watt Arri. It was a bit too intense so we added two scrims to dial it back a little.

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Lastly we used our second 150 watt arri (middle light in the below image) to fill in some harsh shadow on the chairs that was caused by the 300 watt light (right corner of the frame). You can also see the hair light in the far background.

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As you can see there’s a little bit of natural sunlight that’s peeking around the corner of the shade behind the couch. Personally I like the pop of color. It comes through in the final image (see image 1 and 2) but it’s very subtle and adds just a little texture to the wall. It may be that no one but me ever notices it, but that’s ok. I still like it.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, ask away.

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