Four Considerations: Mood, Depth, Texture, Shape

(Cinematic Lighting Lesson 07)

Summary: Ryan discusses four aspects to consider as you light your set, and how they apply to your project: What lighting style should I use? What are some ways to create depth? And what are some strategies to reveal texture and shape?

Length: 5:04 minutes

Video Lesson

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In addition to the elements, roles, and functions of light, there are four things to consider as you light your scene. What mood of lighting should I use? What approach should I use to create depth? And do I need to reveal texture and shape? In this video, not only will I answer those questions, but I’ll show you how they apply to your project.

Lighting Style: High Key and Low Key

The mood or the tone of the scene is determined by your lighting style. There are two general styles: high key and low key.
Four Considerations: Mood, Depth, Texture, and Shape (LC107)
High key lighting is for those bright ratios, like 2:1 and 3:1. As you might remember from the previous videos, these ratios tend to be used for happier scenes with less dramatic content. Low key lighting is for those dark ratios, so like 4:1 to 8:1, a better fit for dramatic and mysterious content.
Low Key Lighting (LC107)
Once you have determined the tone of the scene, and have picked a lighting style & ratio that supports it, that ratio should never change within that specific scene. If is does…

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Lighting Diagrams

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Tools We Used

How To Cinematically Light A Corporate Video (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 20)
How To Light Quickly (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 19)
Lighting For Extreme Frame Rates (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 21)
12 Crucial Questions Before Lighting Your Set (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 15)
3 Strategies For Lighting Your Night Exteriors (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 14)
5 Essential Strategies To Lighting Day Exteriors (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 12)
10 Tips To Lighting Day Exteriors (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 13)
How To Light A Small Commercial (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 23)
Where To Begin Lighting Your Set (Cinematic Lighting Lesson 18)
5 replies
  1. Rich49er
    Rich49er says:

    You referred to an One Shot Chart in a previous lesson. I have discovered there is a matt and glossy version. Please could you write a few sentences explaining the difference between the two. I am wondering which is more appropriate for our purposes.

    • Tim
      Tim says:

      We originally used the matte version of the One Shot Chart, but when it came time to buy another one we bought the glossy version. We much prefer the glossy version since the surface seems much more durable and can be wiped with a damp cloth. The matte version can’t be cleaned since the surface of the board has a paper-like texture. If you are careful on-set the matte chart can last years. But if your set is rough on the gear and not in clean environments, you will probably want the glossy version. There is obviously an issue with glare with the glossy version, but if you slightly rotate the chart while on-camera, your colorist will be able to see all chips at some point. (Some say this takes more time, but in reality if your Second AC is on their game you can still do it quickly.) The matte version does create some flare from the texture, so be sure to keep an eye on that if you chose that version.


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