I looked at some social realistic films and the lighting conventions. The left hand side is inside and the right hand side is outside. I like the lighting inside because it’s very natural and low-key. You can clearly see that the lighting is all focused from coming from the left hand side of the shot, from the windows. This makes it more of a natural shot because the only light focus is from the sun outside, coming through the window. The shadows on their faces show that there’s only light coming from the window, rather than the other side of the room. In the second photo on the right hand side, you can see that the lighting comes from lights in the room. On the boy on the seat you can see that the lighting on his face is coming through the window since the shadows are on the other side. You can also see that light reflecting off the blonde womens hair and clothing, other than the other two women. These two are away from the window, meaning they’re not getting any light. On the left hand side, you have the outside shots. On these, they’re purely using the sun as light and no artificial lighting. You can clearly see the direction of the sun and how the shadows lad on the actors faces. On the second one you can clearly see the light shining onto their bodies, making a shadow from behind their backs. Overall, on social realistic films they use the sun as their main source of light. This will be difficult to use all the time, especially on evening/night scenes. Therefore, I’ll be researching into how to do it.
From doing some research online, I found that you need to learn where the windows are and how they balance light to the rest of the room. The colours of the walls depends on how much light is balanced throughout the room. For example, if the room has light coloured walls then the light is balanced evenly and well, however if it’s dark coloured walls then it’s not as evenly spread. “You’ll want to get to know the light that comes through them. Sometimes it floods the room softly. Other times it beams in, bouncing off the walls and floor.” (Haines). Haines also explained how “During midday, it has a cooler or neutral color” which helps me understand what time of day is the best to film at. Another piece of advice I gained from Haines is that I should turn the lights off because “Skin tones can look off when artificial lights mix with natural light”, meaning that when I’m filming I should film midday with no lights on. However, Knight explains that to create a natural look with artificial lights you should use distance, since the further away the light is, the softer it looks. Knight also explains how you should bounce the colours off things, like the walls. He shows us examples of how he’s bounced the light off some blinds to make it look like the light is coming through the window, and also bounced some more light from the ceiling. Both Haines and Knight explained how you should use reflectors to gain the best natural lighting, therefore you should bounce the light off either the sunlight or artificial lighting onto the characters or objects to gain a softer, natural look. For outside lighting I briefly look at that considering it’ll be a lot easier because there’s a lot more sun going into the shot. Kroll explained that you should make the sun your backlight and use a lot of reflectors. Kroll also said for any piece of lighting you should prepare and do tests.
I then did some research on how to light night time scenes. One website I looked at explained how it’s “the placement of the light which makes all the difference”. It explains how you need “little fill light” on faces and “the rim light is more exaggerated”, and finally making the background not to be completely black to create atmosphere. Since I’ve already done the dark lighting tests before this research, I now know that when I’m filming I need to being some light into the background to stop the darkness, exaggerate the rim light and then use a little fill light on faces to show expression and detail. It also says that the “key light is much softer”, which is what I’ll do with my film and also make the back light harder so the subject stands out a lot more.
I did some lighting tests in the college canteen for the scenes that are located in College. The place I’ve chosen has a very big wall that is full of windows, meaning I will gain a lot of sunlight through the windows. Therefore, this was quite a hard location to light and cast shadows onto the faces to gain a better depth. This is a picture from at first, when the white balance on the camera was off. We weren’t quite sure how to chance the white balance and were confused at why the LED light didn’t make a different to the picture. Once we had fixed the white balance, the pictures looked a lot more clear and defined. That turned out to be the look I was wanting, having the LED light filling in the shadows to make it a lot clearer. Like this image below.
Therefore, it was a technical difficulty that we overcame after tweaking the white balance on the camera. Using and LED light helped the picture since it looks a lot more clear, full and brighter. Even though not using a light didn’t look much different, I will still use an LED light in these scenes as the key light. Especially in the part where they’re walking through the corridor since the light is a lot darker. This image is what the lighting is like before using our own, only being lit up by ceiling lights. To try and add to the natural look, we used the LED as a filler light and set it as high as possible, to replicate a ceiling light. This light made it look too artificial because it was too bright and sharp, so we lowered the settings to give it more of a natural and warmer look. This is the look I was wanting to achieve.
Overall, I did two lighting tests in college since I’ll only be using these two spaces to film. There’s a clear difference between the two places considering the first pictures there’s a lot of daylight and the second there isn’t, that’s why I wanted to try and figure out the problem of lighting both places. The first problem is to light the canteen well enough without mixing with the sunlight badly. We over came this by using the LED as filler light to fill in shadows rather than as the key light, since that was the sun. The second problem was to light the corridor naturally rather than making it look artificial. We overcame this by getting the LED as if it was the ceiling light, to make the scene look more natural.
I then went to the other location I was going to film in, which is my friends house. He has three rooms that will be perfect for three of my scenes. We did the lighting tests early in the morning, meaning the sun was at good light. We also then did some tests with the curtains closed to see what the night scenes would look like, and also if we didn’t have the correct sun light. The first room we tested in is the room that will be Leo’s bedroom in my film, we tested the lighting with the curtains open.
The first picture is the shot with no lighting, the second one if the shot with a big LED on a small percentage, bouncing off the wall behind to fill up the room. I then put a small LED above Georgia’s head to act as the ceiling light and rim light, so that the light is bouncing off the top of her hair. I then turned another big LED light on a high percentage to fill the rest of the space, as a filler light. Overall, I feel like the lighting is very natural and realistic and looks as if it’s just sun light from the window behind the camera. I feel like I used my research effectively when doing these lighting tests because I bounced a low light off the white background, and positioned the other lights in places that would seem natural. AKA the sunlight coming through the window and the ceiling light coming from above.
I then shut the curtains and positioned my subject just like Leo would be like in the film. Firstly, Georgia is on the bed with a laptop on her lap so I put my phones torch in front of the screen so that it’s acting as the light coming from the screen and bouncing off Georgia’s face. I then turned the filler light down to 10% to bounce off the walls behind Georgia, filling in the background. I then had the rim light directly lighting Georgia up, to fill in the shadows and brighten the face. Finally, I then had the key light on 40% from the left hand side to fill in anything else and to define the face a lot more.
I like the lighting on both of these photos, even though they’re different. I think I prefer the first one because it had more shadow on the side of Georgia’s face, creating more of a darker look to the room. Even though the second one is well lit and brightens her face up a lot more, I feel like the first gives off a ‘night time’ vibe a lot more, which is the look I’m going for. I can’t completely make her face dark because of the light bouncing off the screen, but that’s the main like that I wanted to use for this scene. Overall, I found a way to be able to bounce the l light off her face and wall to create a more shadowed and darkened look.
Here are the rough floor plans for the lighting in this room:
I then did some lighting tests in another room that I’ll be using as Sarah’s room in the script. The room is really small to work in, however we were able to light the scene well. We first lit the room with the curtains opened, using the sun light as well as the LED’s. Georgia was sat down next to the window, however the sun light wasn’t strong enough to light the whole room. Therefore, we had a big LED as a filler light for the background on 85%, a rim light acting as the ceiling light and then the key light acting as the sun on 100%. From then looking at the stills from these percentages, we realised that the shot looked too artificial and decided to turn the key light down to 36%, to give it more of a warm light rather than harsh.
These are the before and after pictures of the lighting on 100% to 36%. In my opinion, the first one is lit better, however it does look artificial and the second one looks a lot more realistic. I’m glad we did different experiments to see which lighting looked better. I then wanted to test to see if it looked more realistic if I didn’t use any sunlight, so I shut the curtains and only used artificial lighting. We had the same lay out of lighting, and went back to having the key light on 100%. These shots did look good, however it looked more like it was evening time rather than midday. This is good because I’ll be able to light the room according to the scene, which I’m not sure what time it will be set in just yet.
This picture does look a lot more artificial than the sun lit ones, however it will do considering it’s meant to be in the evening time.
These are the rough floor plans of this room:
In this room the setting in the film is going to be the party room, where Leo and Tommy are sat on the bed in the dark basically. Therefore, I needed to dimly light the room so that you’re able to see the two characters but understand the situation they’re in. In this room, the bed wasn’t set up so I had to have the two subjects stand up for the shot to be tested. I closed the curtains, however you can still see a bit of sunlight peaking underneath the curtain. To overcome this on the shoot, I will black out the sun with a black piece of paper to make it look more real to the night time setting. I only used two lights for this scene, I used the big LED as a key light, lighting up most of their face on 55% and then the smaller LED as a filler light, acting as the ceiling light. This helped me understand how to light a scene thats set at night, so that it doesn’t look to early in the day.
I feel like this lighting has lighted the characters up well enough to be able to see the definition, but not too much to make the illusion that it’s set at a different time in the day. It was hard to get this look at first because we started lighting the scene up too light or too dark, because weren’t able to find the right natural, in-between.
This is the rough floor plan for this room:
Finally, I looked at the lighting in the bathroom because I have a scene where Leo is in the bath. I had to look at this room because I knew the sun light would be weak coming through the window. To make this room lit naturally, and not artificially, I had the filler light on around 50% bouncing off the white tiles behind and the key light facing on her face. This shoot was hard to do natural because of the amount of white surrounding the room and the lack of natural light coming through the window.
I finally was able to light it naturally, like the photo above. However we went through a lot of changing around since the lighting was too bright in some shots and too dark in others. These two pictures below are of the experimentation we did, with changing the brightness and the placement of the lights around the room.
This is the floor plan of the bathroom:
In conclusion, I have learnt a lot from my research into lighting. I have learnt that you need to bounce light off light coloured walls to create a natural feel, and have the lights shine on the subjects as if they’re the sunlight/ceiling lights, by doing this it makes it more natural. Also, the softer the lighting the less artificial it looks, meaning it’s the most natural. I’ve learnt where I can position and how well I can light the scenes in the locations I have chosen. These tests went really well considering I wasn’t really sure on how to light things properly, however they worked effectively. After doing lighting tests, I researched how to light night time scenes effectively by having a hard background lighting and softer fill lighting on the subjects faces. Overall, I have effectively learnt how to light different locations and scenes very well and realistically.