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B. Sakthidoss

HIGH KEY LIGHTING and LOW KEY LIGHTING

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High key lighting, you have a much lower contrast ratio which means that between you key light and your fill and fill alone there is little difference. Usually you'd get a 1 to 2 stop difference in that case. In low key you have a much higher contrast ratio, 3 stops or more. For example, say you have a subject that is lit with a split left. Now that subject will have a key on his left face at lets say an F-stop of 2, with an 8:1 contrast ratio. So between your key light, the fill and fill alone you will have 3 stops. So his or her face will be in shadow on the right side, giving more contrast. Low key is usually used for dramatic effect, so purpose is up to the story being told on screen. Did I answer your question?

 

Kev

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A lot of people when they think of High Key, refer to TV sitcoms, which usually work within the 4:1 (2 stop dif) or 2:1 (1 stop dif.) contrast ratio.

 

Low Key is a really contrasty image, I'd say anything more than an 8:1 (3 stop difference) ratio, where you start to get really deep black and less detail in the shadows.

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Generally a high key image is predominantly midtones and bright highlights, whereas a low key image is predominantly under key with small areas at key or brighter.

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Generally a high key image is predominantly midtones and bright highlights, whereas a low key image is predominantly under key with small areas at key or brighter.

 

 

Please forgive me and set me straight if I'm being unduly cranky but I, a faithful member. post a

question in this forum:

need a fast answer on this one

Need help for ext. green screen shot Friday dawn

urgently needing the ingenuity of people on this forum for a real shoot happening tomorrow and I get

79 views and 1 reply (for which I'm grateful) and this person, in his first post, asks a question

that is answered in about a million books on lighting and is the type to which people usually say

do a search or check the archives...and nobody says that while I have read a lot and haven't found

an answer to my question. I'm not looking for a definition that could be found in the index of a

textbook but the expertise, or expert guess, of somebody who has shot a lot.

 

Even if you think Mini-DV is just wrong for this shot I want to do,

actually, no matter what format I'd be shooting, I'm still not sure how to light the green in the

situation I describe. Thanks.

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Hello Mr. Sakthidoss,

 

Like many terms in film-making, These have more than one application. David's definition is the most common application of "high" and "low" key. Here, they tend to describe the overall look of an image as well as the look of the entire film. It is not just a matter of light values. It, more, has to do with the psychological impact on the viewer. Obviously, brighter scenes for a lighter feel and darker scenes for a heavier feel.

 

Within that concept, DOPs may or may not use lighting ratios to empahsize mood. While lighting ratios are not necessarily tied to high or low key image strategies, high key to fill lighting ratios lend themselves to low key images and low key to fill light ratios lend themselves to high key images. But, for every application of that rule of thumb there's probably an example of an exception

 

The assumption that soap operas are lit high key has as much to do with the unavoidable, three (or more) camera/live switching that occurs in TV shooting. Everyone tends to be lit from many directions so that no matter what angle camera gets switched to, there's enough light on the subject. Soap operas compensate by lighting and set "break-downs". They will underlight the backgrounds and use dark set construction and dressings to enhance the low key effect, compensating for the high key subject lighting they are inherently stuck with.

 

You'd be surprised just how many times I have had to qualify, mid-converstaion, which aspect of "high" or "low" key I was discussing. This, probably more than any other I can recall. It can be a little irksome.

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High key lighting, you have a much lower contrast ratio which means that between you key light and your fill and fill alone there is little difference. Usually you'd get a 1 to 2 stop difference in that case. In low key you have a much higher contrast ratio, 3 stops or more. For example, say you have a subject that is lit with a split left. Now that subject will have a key on his left face at lets say an F-stop of 2, with an 8:1 contrast ratio. So between your key light, the fill and fill alone you will have 3 stops. So his or her face will be in shadow on the right side, giving more contrast. Low key is usually used for dramatic effect, so purpose is up to the story being told on screen. Did I answer your question?

 

Kev

 

 

Thanks sir

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Hello Mr. Sakthidoss,

 

Like many terms in film-making, These have more than one application. David's definition is the most common application of "high" and "low" key. Here, they tend to describe the overall look of an image as well as the look of the entire film. It is not just a matter of light values. It, more, has to do with the psychological impact on the viewer. Obviously, brighter scenes for a lighter feel and darker scenes for a heavier feel.

 

Within that concept, DOPs may or may not use lighting ratios to empahsize mood. While lighting ratios are not necessarily tied to high or low key image strategies, high key to fill lighting ratios lend themselves to low key images and low key to fill light ratios lend themselves to high key images. But, for every application of that rule of thumb there's probably an example of an exception

 

The assumption that soap operas are lit high key has as much to do with the unavoidable, three (or more) camera/live switching that occurs in TV shooting. Everyone tends to be lit from many directions so that no matter what angle camera gets switched to, there's enough light on the subject. Soap operas compensate by lighting and set "break-downs". They will underlight the backgrounds and use dark set construction and dressings to enhance the low key effect, compensating for the high key subject lighting they are inherently stuck with.

 

You'd be surprised just how many times I have had to qualify, mid-converstaion, which aspect of "high" or "low" key I was discussing. This, probably more than any other I can recall. It can be a little irksome.

 

 

 

 

Thank You Sir, For your explaination, Before Asking this question,I refer Some books, But your explaination is different sir.

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Thank You Sir, For your explaination, Before Asking this question,I refer Some books, But your explaination is different sir.

 

 

Something to consider:

 

 

You can make a high key lighting using soft sources (lots of bounce and soft shadows), or using hard light sources that produce strong shadows.

 

Likewise, you can make low key lighting using both soft and hard light sources.

 

The way to identify low / kigh key lighting is mostly by the amount of light or dark areas in the image, not by the type of the lighting used.

 

Hope this adds to the discussion.

 

LuciTa

 

Thank You Sir, For your explaination, Before Asking this question,I refer Some books, But your explaination is different sir.

 

 

Something to consider:

 

 

You can make a high key lighting using soft sources (lots of bounce and soft shadows), or using hard light sources that produce strong shadows.

 

Likewise, you can make low key lighting using both soft and hard light sources.

 

The way to identify low / kigh key lighting is mostly by the amount of light or dark areas in the image, not by the type of the lighting used.

 

Hope this adds to the discussion.

 

LuciTa

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