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Side key-light - How to get eye light in both eyes


Nicolas U Hepburn

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Hello,

I'm still testing out lighting setups at home. I was wondering how to get a nice eyelight when I go in for close-ups from a silhouetted wide shot. The key light is coming a bit from the back of the actor so there obviously isn't any triangle on the near side. Would it be noticeable if I moved the key-light so that it wraps around the face and give the shadow side an eye light? If I use a white bounce to get the eye light I feel like it would look weird having the eye light asymmetrical. How would you do it?

 

 

Silhouette.jpg

side light.jpg

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I would not pay too much attention to the exact direction of the light. As long as it comes from the left side, I think nobody will notice that you changed something between the two shots. Sometimes even within the frame, a practical lamp is put to justify some lighting, but if you analyse you can see that it is inconsistent.

Two examples from "Birdman".

birdman-1.thumb.jpg.a519da29c3984564d62bf513a9a7b9ce.jpg

In this shot, it's hard to explain how the light coming from the street could reach the interior of the hair and the ear of the girl (should be darken by her own hair). The bright "St. Ja..." sign also helps selling the lighting while it is actually behind the actors.

birdman-2.thumb.jpg.31e9a103cadd1e5e66a0ae56859935d0.jpg

Here again the neon is behind the actors, and should light their opposite side. One could argue there might be other ceiling lights, but the wall on the top left simply becomes darker as if the neon within the frame was the only light source. Moreover, in the real world, who hangs this type of lighting so close to a wall anyway ?

In both cases, nothing looks fake at first sight.

Edited by Nicolas POISSON
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There are all kinds of eye lights.
 

You could leave the 1/4 soft edge that reflects in the screen left eye and add a dim 3/4 key that reflects in the screen right eye.

You could just add a dim light under the lens that reflects in the eye.

You could not worry about getting a glint in the screen right eye! The shot looks fine without it.

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On 11/1/2023 at 12:12 PM, Nicolas POISSON said:

I would not pay too much attention to the exact direction of the light. As long as it comes from the left side, I think nobody will notice that you changed something between the two shots. Sometimes even within the frame, a practical lamp is put to justify some lighting, but if you analyse you can see that it is inconsistent.

Two examples from "Birdman".

birdman-1.thumb.jpg.a519da29c3984564d62bf513a9a7b9ce.jpg

In this shot, it's hard to explain how the light coming from the street could reach the interior of the hair and the ear of the girl (should be darken by her own hair). The bright "St. Ja..." sign also helps selling the lighting while it is actually behind the actors.

birdman-2.thumb.jpg.31e9a103cadd1e5e66a0ae56859935d0.jpg

Here again the neon is behind the actors, and should light their opposite side. One could argue there might be other ceiling lights, but the wall on the top left simply becomes darker as if the neon within the frame was the only light source. Moreover, in the real world, who hangs this type of lighting so close to a wall anyway ?

In both cases, nothing looks fake at first sight.

I tend to overthink the motivation of lights a lot not realizing that you can actually get away with a lot. Thank you for posting these examples. I agree and see you point.

On 11/1/2023 at 5:51 PM, David Mullen ASC said:

There are all kinds of eye lights.
 

You could leave the 1/4 soft edge that reflects in the screen left eye and add a dim 3/4 key that reflects in the screen right eye.

You could just add a dim light under the lens that reflects in the eye.

You could not worry about getting a glint in the screen right eye! The shot looks fine without it.

Thank you for the suggestions. I guess its all about experimenting and personal preference. I'll try testing with a small MC light at 5% just to see. Thanks again!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/8/2023 at 6:08 PM, Nicolas U Hepburn said:

 

I tend to overthink the motivation of lights a lot not realizing that you can actually get away with a lot.

 

Exactly. It takes a while to realize this I think. I tend to over-complicate things to make sure it's all perfect at times too. But a lot of cinematography is tricks of light anyway. So if I feel I need something (like an eyelight that has no motivation) I'll add one regardless of where the light in the scene is supposed to be coming. As long as it doesn't look completely absurd.

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