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Mixing different types of light


scott karos
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In most of my filmmaking experience I've always just used natural light or whatever lights happen to be nearby when on a certain location such as a lamp or whatever.

 

I want to screw around more with different types of lighting but I have a question. Let's say I buy a light that is strictly for filmmaking or photography and I use that in a scene. But, there is natural sun light shining in through the window.

 

Can I use two different types of a light in a scene? Would it affect it somehow?

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Yes, you can mix lights with different temperatures. You have to decide where the correct white lies within the mix, is it at the daylight end (tungsten looks orange), the middle daylight looks cool and tungsten warm or at the tungsten end when daylight looks blue? The right one will depend on the nature of the scene, but you should experiment before using it on a film, rather than doing it on the day.

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It also depends on if you want to match the color of the existing light, or if you want a mixed look. Generally for a day interior where there are no practicals on, most people would use daylight-balanced light sources to augment natural daylight. But you could use a powerful tungsten lamp for a warm late afternoon sunlight effect in a day interior, for example.

 

For small productions that have to deal with day and night interiors with different color temperatures, it is useful to use lighting units that are switchable between daylight and tungsten, like some LED fixtures are, or fluorescent units where you can swap between daylight and tungsten tubes.

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