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David Daniel Doherty

Sopranos Lifhting

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Hi all, Im shooting a classical musician in an old fashioned hotel event room shortly.


We will shoot the first take and use the audio from that, the musician will then sync over the original audio to shoot additional angles.


The look were aiming for is high contrast and dramatic, and my client likes the lighting from The Sopranos, particularly the Therapy session scenes.





Red Epic, Zeiss Prime set, 3 x 800w tungstens, trace paper diffusion, indie dolly.


Im curious as to how some of you might approach this look and lighting. I understand this is a difficult question, which would involve many factors and experimentation on set, but what basic approach comes to mind?


Were shootings multiple angles and some of them are dolly moves, therefore I require enough DOF to allow for these without pulling focus.



Im thinking:


Camera, F4 minimum, ISO 800, normal shutter


Lighting, 2 x 800w to the right of the musician but pretty close in order to leave the background dark significantly dark.


Any positive contributions welcome.


Thanks, David

Edited by David Daniel Doherty

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If you take a look at the close up on 1:04 you will see the shadow right under the diagonal left-hand side of the nose, you only need to follow the shadow line high up to see where the light would come from.


In this case the light would be on the upper-right hand-side of Tony and a bit in front of him.


Just take a look at Tony's eyes and you will see where the light is positioned! ;)


1 x 800W through a diffusion frame would be enough for you to achieve that look, you might even want to get a dimmer or scrims to lower the intensity of the light plus flags.


If you can get a Jem ball that would work much better in my opinion as it will be quicker to move and the quality of the light would be nicer than that of a 800W through diffusion.

You can wrap the sides with black paper, it is not super big, etc.


They have some in Teach Solais!


Have a lovely day!

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A small softbox (under 1 meter) with a narrow angle honeycomb grid (to keep the light off of the background as much as possible) and an Aputure 100D, would also be a very cheap rental and more than enough to get you that look.


Place the light as Miguel described, get the fill side of the face to be 2-3 stops under key and the background to 1-2 under and you should be set.

Edited by Vladimir Cazacu

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Thanks for the comment, Vladimir.


We done some tests today. 1 x 800 with softish diffusion, was placed to the left of the piano player, closely.


This created high contrast, low key lighting, which worked nicely. More low key and dramatic of than that of my reference.


Since the musician is playing music which is heavy in emotion, this suits nicely.


A small back light, created a nice contrasting glow, with some tweaking and balancing.


Apologies for blabbering instead of showing you an image. I will link the final product when done.


Thanks again for the suggestions regarding gear, I am still looking into those options and what is available locally.



Edited by David Daniel Doherty
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