Author: Jane Good

Top 5 Lighting Techniques

One of the most important tools in staging a scene is lighting. Lighting develops the mood and setting in any production. It captures the audience and draws them into the storyline just by looking at the scene and the lighting techniques that are used.

This post will highlight the top 5 lighting techniques used in film production and their purposes for a scene.

Number 1: Soft Lighting

Soft lighting is commonly used for its aesthetically pleasing effect. It eliminates shadows and recreates subtle shades of light that has no strict definition of a light source. The purpose is to make the subject or object look less harsh. An example of this technique would be in the movie Restless (2011) where you can notice the soft light with no clear distinction between light and shadows, and has a calming effect.

Number 2: Hard Lighting

Hard lighting uses a direct beam from a light source or from the sunlight. This lighting creates shadows and harsh lines. It can also create silhouettes and highlights. An example would be in the movie The Dark Knight (2008) with the harsh tones of the subjects faces and the overlapping shadows to add to the mood of the scene and the intensity of the character.

Number 3: Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting, also known as “practical” lighting, consists of the lights that are present and natural, so this could be sunlight, lamplight, or an overhead light. Ambient lighting can add depth and dimension to a scene if used cleverly. It can also add a sense of realism to the scene that draws the viewers attention. You need to account for ambient light, especially when shooting outside.

Number 4: Three Point Lighting

Three point lighting is a media standard form of lighting, as in it is highly used in all forms of media such as film, video, and photography. Three point lighting includes key light, fill light, and a back light.

The key light is the primary light source. It is the most intense and direct light in the scene. The key light will illuminate the form of the object or actor. Secondly, the fill light cancels out the shadows created by the ket light. It adds softness to the shadows. Lastly, the back light hits an actor or object from behind. This is used to separate the object or actor from the background.

Number 5: Motivated Lighting

Motivated light seeks to imitate natural light sources, such as sunlight, moonlight, street lights, head lights and more. This technique is used to emphasize the natural lights effect to help set the story or scene. It allows the audience to believe the world that is being presented.

Lighting as a whole is complex and broad. There is so much terminology and techniques that even choosing the top most common techniques was difficult because everyone has their own interpretation. This post was a simple introductory article about the diverse world of lighting in media, specifically in film.

teleprompter Canada video film production

The Benefits of a Teleprompter

Interested in creating film content with efficiency that makes presenting look natural? Well, Big City Lights is offering a device just for that. Specifically, an affordable 16” teleprompter ideal for tablets that includes a travel case, a remote control and software. It is easy to use and works for any heavy duty tripod. Tripod and tablet are not included.

The video below shows the benefits of a teleprompter, as well as the assembly process. Take a look and find out all you need to know about a teleprompter.

Subtle Camera Work In The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 5 Episode 2 “Ballet” SPOILERS!

An intense start to season 5 of the Handmaid’s Tale, Fred is dead, June is back home in Canada with her family, and Serena is trying to take a stand after her husbands death. What will happen next now that June’s villain is gone?

I was recently watching this season and was moved by how brilliant Elisabeth Moss is as an actress and a director. One specific moment that caught my attention is Fred’s funeral in episode 2 “Ballet” and not just because he is now officially gone. During this scene, the crew added some very subtle details that develop the characters into who they will be in this season but also shocking camera work that had me thinking about it for days.

The costumes were a minor identifier to Serena and Junes characters in this episode. Serena, with her all black attire, representing the bad or evil. June, with her stunning white dress, representing the good. This choice was to establish the roles these women will play, and the conflicts of good vs evil, angel vs devil. This leads into who Serena will become this season.

Another topic I wanted to cover is the end of the funeral scene. Now the funeral was originally supposed to be small and quiet, but Serena demanded the best for her husband, so she suggested a lavish, globally broadcasted affair, for those to witness what Gilead is like to the whole world. Remorseful, merciful, human. Serena walks behind the casket, looking regal and sorrowful. This whole event choreographed for her to look like she has control. Serena does care about her husband, but it is important to note that she had her own motives for this funeral. Mostly for it to pose as a form of revenge.

While the funeral continues, June and Luke are enjoying a day of normalcy. A chance to breathe before their world comes crashing down.

By the end of this episode, we see June and Luke staring up at the broadcast at Yonge-Dundas Square, watching as Serena kisses a young girls forehead. That girl being Hannah, June’s daughter.

This moment had me reeling. I could practically feel Junes anger and desperation through the screen. Now the moment that I want to highlight is at the very end where we see Serena subtly looking down with a smirk, while June is looking up with pure rage on her face. Almost as if they are looking directly at each other.

 

The camera work was brilliant for this scene, it creates mood and displays the shift in power and control between Serena and June. These angles are a psychological manipulator that manipulates our perception. So this camera technique is a low-angle shot, from Serena’s perspective, with a high-angle shot, from June’s perspective. These methods are commonly used in a scene when you want to portray a specific power dynamic between the characters. The person looking down, using a low-angle shot, would seem strong or powerful while the person looking up, using a high-angle shot, would seem vulnerable or powerless. So this angle gives Serena strength, it shows the audience that Serena is something to fear. June, in this moment, is powerless against Serena. She has no control.

Executive producer Warren Littlefield said when talking about this scene, “Serena Joy’s stepping in and getting on the throne, and she’s masterful. She’s powerful. She’s a great chess player.” Further proving that the villain of this season is Serena. Slowly making her way to power by sharing the benefits of Gilead with the rest of this world.

I have not watched the rest of the season, but I am excited to see what other masterful scenes Elisabeth Moss made. Also what the rest of season will bring.