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Helpful Ways to Get a Grip on Lighting 2

(Source Article) By Bobby Marko | August 22, 2014

Lighting is an evolving art form. Not only does technique change and advance but so does the technology of how light is produced and generated. Even a decade ago the landscape of production lighting was much different from what it is today. Just like with the cameras that are coming out today, the affordability of owning your own light kit is increasingly becoming more possible. The good news is that you don’t have to own much nor spend much to have a good small light kit to use for many types of productions. Gone is the day of having to have 5K and 10k HMIs and Maxi Brutes on set for many productions. Of course these are still used for high end commercials, music videos and films but more and more you are hearing of filmmakers making full feature films with just some LED and florescent light kits.

Throughout this series I've talked about technique when it comes to using your lighting setup (if you missed the others, read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). As I close out the series I want to talk about the lights themselves so you have a better understanding of the tools you have available to you.

Lighting Tips for Cinematographers

Part IV: Types of Lighting Tools

Here in part IV I want to address the issue of knowing what lighting to get for your production. I’ve heard many times from filmmakers that they often don’t know what to get for their productions because (and thankfully) there are many choices and with each choice requires different budgets. I think many filmmakers give up on trying to decide and just get an Arri 4-light kit and they’re done. But knowing what each light is for and putting some thought into your lighting setup will help you make some decisions and be confident in choosing your lighting package. I’m going to break down the post by What are the different types of lights and then for each light talk about How are those lights typically used and Why would you use them for your production. This will not be a comprehensive list as the post would get very long but it will give you a basic understanding of the different types for you to get started. Then, as you need, you can learn more from other resources (and there are plenty out there on the web!).


Helpful Ways for Cinematographers to Get a Grip on LightingWhat: HMI lights (Hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide… yeah, just remember HMI and you’re fine!) are a standard in film and television. HMI lamps come in all sizes usually as low as 200 watts all the way up to 24,000. They require a ballast to operate and some of the low wattage lamps can even run on Edison power (home/office plugs) but most of them require generators or high amp circuits. They are one of the most expensive genre of lights so often you will rent these for your production.

How: Typically HMI lamps are used to generate daylight or a daylight effect because of the standard 5600K-6000K rating. And because you can go up to a 24k light, they can generate huge amounts of light, 4 times the lumens per watt of electricity over tungsten lamps. Most scenes you see where moonlight or daylight beams projected in the scene are usually HMI lights being used.

Why: I personally have used HMI lights for key lights as well as set lights. They are very versatile when it comes to their use. But you definitely want to use HMI lamps when you need to light a large area of your set. Also if you want to to mimc any kind of moon or daylight, HMI lights are most often the best choice. As I mentioned in part 3 of this series though, get the most wattage you can afford and the least number of lamps. You’ll be amazed how you can use one lamp and create two different light beams with some flags and scrims.

My Favorites:
Arri Arrisun 1.2k, 4k
K5600 Joker Bug 400, 800
Mole Richardson MolePar 575


Helpful Ways for Cinematographers to Get a Grip on LightingWhat: Tungsten or Halogen lamps have been used since the birth of cinema because they use incandescent bulbs to generate the lumens and incandescent lighting has been around since the late 1800’s. Just like a typical light bulb in your house, tungsten lighting is a native 3200k-3800k temperature and can run on Edison power. Larger lamps requiring more wattage (typically 2k +) will require generators or larger amp circuits. Tungsten lamps come in a many forms so they are extremely diverse as well as low cost both in purchase and rentals.

How: Tungsten lighting are used in many ways. from particular lighting, to large source lighting, stage, theater, etc. Like HMI lamps, tungsten lamps can be used to light sets and large scenes. Although not as powerful a light with the same wattage as the HMI there are some benefits for using tungsten lamps. They are favored when shooting at high frame rates versus HMI because HMI lamps typically give off a flicker effect when you slow over-cranked footage down to 23.98 or 29.97fps. Also, some filmmakers like the look of tungsten over other lights because of the flesh tones they get from incandescent bulbs

Why: Although I’ve moved away from tungsten as my main source for lighting I still use them. I will often use them for particular lighting, back or hair lights and effect lighting. Even though modern HMI lights have flicker-free ballasts, I’ve read that depending on what speed you over-crank your footage will depend on how effective that setting will be when using HMI lights. So even today, most filmmakers will use tungsten when shooting at higher frame rates, usually above 300fps.

My Favorites:
Arri 4-light kit (150w, 300w, 650w, 1k, should always have one kit on set!)
Mole Richardson Maxi Brute 9 lamp
Dedolight 150w w/dimmer


Helpful Ways for Cinematographers to Get a Grip on LightingWhat: Florescent lamps uses bulbs that are mercury-vapor filled and is illuminated when an electrical charge is omitted causing the vapor to glow inside the bulb housing. You often see them in office buildings and in modern times being used in the home. For film and video production they are used to give off a soft light and generate relatively very low heat and consume very low amounts of electricity. For this reason they are very desirable for production. Fluorescents are somewhat inexpensive to own and very affordable to rent.

How: Filmmakers typically use florescent lighting to illuminate their sets in different ways. Many times to replicate a real work setting such as office and industrial sets. But they are also used on medium to close shots to light their subject without generating a large amount of heat as well as to get into small areas such as automobiles and confined spaces. The drawbacks to florescent lights is they do not generate a large amount of light nor can throw light very far so they are often not used to light large sets or exterior lighting.

Why: I love using fluorescents for key lights on subjects when I’m shooting interviews or need to get into a tight areas. With digital cameras now able to shoot at a high ISO without much grain or noise the low amount of lumens sometimes is not a factor. Also, fluorescents give off a nice soft light so having to use diffusers becomes less of an importance. Florescent lamps often come with dimmers so they are very flexible when used as a fill light and you can obtain different temperature rated bulbs so you can match daylight or tungsten should you be using fluorescents with existing lights already in your lighting package. You can also throw some colored gels over the fixture and create some nice glow effects for your set.

My Favorites:
Anything Kino, not the cheapest but they are the best imo!


Helpful Ways for Cinematographers to Get a Grip on LightingWhat: LED lighting has come onto the scene with a vengeance. Above all the other types of lighting I’m mentioning, LED is advancing at a higher rate than any other. LED (Light-Emitting Diode) originally was used for infrared lighting but in the 1960’s began being used for visible light in electronics and small devices. Today they are now being used in film and tv in many ways, even as source lighting. LED lamps, like tungsten and florescent lights can be dimmed but they go one step further. Some LED lights can also change color temperature with simple adjustment. This creates a wider range of use for LED lighting in film and video. Many rental houses are just now warming up to LED lighting so you may not find a huge selection but like fluorescents they affordable to own and rent. With the added flexibility of use over other types of lights, the added cost makes them worth the investment.

How: Many productions today are using LEDs in a variety of ways, source lighting, fill lighting, set lighting, green screen or chroma key capture, special effects lighting and live event. From broadcast or wedding cinematography, you will see LED’s everywhere. Also, all types of productions, music videos, short and feature films, documentaries, promotional videos. LED’s are one of the most versatile lights in the industry. However, LED still cannot throw lighting no produce high amounts of lumens so you will not often see them lighting exteriors or large sets… at least for now.

Why: There was a time I swore off LED because you cannot cut or shape the beam throw. The panel style lamps deter you from attempting this so this limited my uses in my productions. But as of the last few years manufacturers are beginning to change the way you can use LED and slowly but surely I’m using more and more of them in my productions. Though still not powerful enough for long throw lighting or exterior lighting LEDs are great for lighting subjects, backgrounds, confined areas such as small rooms and automobiles and particular lighting. The more modern lamps have gotten better at diffusion so they becoming a softer light, matching the aesthetics of florescent bulbs.

My Favorites:
Socanland NOVA CTD 1x1
Arri L7-C
LitePanel MiniPlus Brick

I hope you have found this post, as well as all the other posts pertaining to lighting useful. I've enjoyed creating and writing this series and hopefully it has given you enough information and tools to get you thinking about lighting for your future productions.
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(Source Article)



Christian Worldview Film Festival 2015

The full list of 2015 Official Selections is now online!
Guild & Festival // March 10-14

Here are the films I helped with that will be showing this year.

- Polycarp (Camera, Editor, Colorist)
- Bound (Consultant)
- Roses (On-set Editor)
- Wanted (Editor, Colorist)
- Firefly (Consultant)
- Awakened to Truth (Post Production Director)
- Overcoming Opposition (Post Production Director)
- The Egg Project (Post Production Director)
- Who We Are (Director of Photography)
- Set Free (Consultant)

View the full list here!

Also, if you haven't purchased your tickets to the Guild & Festival, be sure to use discount code JOHNCLAYBURNETT to get $25 OFF!

Purchase tickets here!


TMB - Tips for Interviews

Since launching the Music Bed Community, we have interviewed dozens and dozens of filmmakers and artists from all around the world. We’ve flown to Paris. We’ve Skyped to South Africa. We’ve GChatted to Spain. And during all that time, we’d like to think we’ve not only gotten better at interviewing people, but that we’ve learned a few practical lessons along the way. We’ve written them down here.

Before we get into it, though, just a quick note about why we’re so into interviewing in the first place. It boils down to this: We think what other people have to say is oftentimes a lot more interesting than what we have to say. Given the choice between talking about what we know about filmmaking and hearing what Eliot Rausch knows about filmmaking…well, the better option seems pretty obvious. We interview because we’re curious, because talking to amazing people opens up our minds, surprises us, challenges us — and honestly, it’s usually a lot of fun.

The types of interviews we lean toward (and so, the types of interviews the lessons below are relevant to) are usually a bit more rambly, the kind that take twists and turns, that unfold, that linger a little longer on a subject than people otherwise might. In other words — they’re conversations. And while there is certainly a time and place for a more straightforward Q&A kind of interview, that’s not the type of thing we get very excited about.

Here’s everything we know about interviewing...

Make Your Subject Feel Smart

Great interviews happen when the people you’re interviewing feel confident, when they feel like they’re saying intelligent things and you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say. In some of our best interviews, we hardly ask any questions at all. Maybe four or five questions total over the course of an hour. A good interview/conversation should roll like a boulder, with you just course-correcting here or there to keep the thing on track. A bad conversation is like you trying to push a boulder up a hill. Zero momentum. A lot of times this lack of momentum comes from your subjects not feeling confident about what they have to say. They answer in a word or two. They, “Don’t know.” Suddenly you find yourself doing most of the talking, trying to put words in your subjects’ mouths, and leaving with nothing. 

Go out of your way to make your subjects feel smart. Ask them easy questions at first (we usually spend a good five minutes talking about where the subjects are from) and be very interested in their answers. Affirm them. Just simple enthusiasm for their responses can go a long way to opening them up, making them feel comfortable — “No way! You’re from Long Beach?! I grew up in Long Beach!” or “You know, I never thought of it like that.” or “You know what, that’s a really good point.” The better your subjects feel about themselves, the better your conversations will go.

Let Silences Get Awkward

There is a natural human tendency to fill silences, to keep conversations moving forward, to do anything necessary to keep things from getting awkward. When you’re interviewing someone, silence can feel particularly devastating. It’s tempting to immediately step in, ask another question, make a comment — move things forward. But this is the wrong thing to do. After someone has answered a question, let her answer hang for just a few seconds too long.

Let the silence linger. What usually happens is the subject speaks up againShe fills the awkward silence, and she fills it by reaching a little bit deeper into her answer, saying something she might not have otherwise said. Be patient. Wait for those moments. Often the thing a subject fills the silence with is a unique and much more personal observation than her initial response.

We love how Philip Bloom opened up in our interview with him in 'Making Room'.

...(read the fulll article here)


Woodlawn - BTS Part 5

In this production diary co-director Jon Erwin gives you a tour of our filming location at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama!


Woodlawn - BTS Part 4

The WOODLAWN crew has set up basecamp at a former middle school in Birmingham, Alabama. Jon Erwin (co-director) shows you around the sets we've created to fit in the period of this film!


Woodlawn - BTS Part 3

It's raining, it's pouring, it's all part of the filming for WOODLAWN in this third production diary!


Animation vs Animator

Very creative!


Tony Anderson

All I can say is wow! This is great advice for each of us to consider.

Even if you're not a composer, Tony has a whole article full of wisdom that I highly recommend.

"Essentially more content is being made than has ever been made before in the history of the world. And more tools are available than ever before. And there’s more entitlement than ever before. And when you combine all three of those things, you don’t get art. You get “almost-art.” You get a lot of people who’ve experienced very little pain, very little loss, very little depth. You have a lot of people — and I fall into this category, by the way — who start caring more about being successful, or appearing successful, than they care about making music."

Read it here.


DEFY - Cable Cam System

We’ve all seen amazing cable cam shots from sports events and wildlife documentaries. Now if you have a spare $11,950 you can try and recreate them for yourself.

Defy have been working with the Dactylcam cable cam system for several months. We’ve seen teaser videos of just what the system is capable of, but the finished kit version has just gone on sale.


The line rig system comprises a Dactylcam motorised radio controlled sled that can move a camera at up to 40 mph along 600’ of premium 7,700lb Amsteel Blue line cable (with up to 1200 ft on request). Payloads of up to 50 lbs can be carried depending on the line tension. The sled self levels and dampens camera swing.

The sled is then combined with Defy’s G12 brushless gimbal to provide 3-axis control. The pair are designed so that the gimbal can be moved from handheld to line in very little time. The setup is claimed to be simple enough for solo operators.

The Dactylcam can also be purchased without the G12, to be used with other manufacturers’ brushless gimbals.

Visit the webite


Beyond the Mask - Theatrical Trailer!

The official trailer is finally here!

Double crossed and on the run, an assassin for the British East India Company seeks to redeem his past by thwarting a plot against a young nation's hope for freedom.


The leading mercenary for the British East India Company, Will Reynolds has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he's never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte - as well as Ben Franklin - while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions. Coming to theaters Spring, 2015, Beyond the Mask is a revolutionary new family film that brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty, and the true freedom that can only be found in Christ.

Movie Website