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Rick Gates

Eye light in Westworld

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Though I know it's not to everybody's taste, I really like the small, hard eyelight used in Westworld.  Particularly for the hosts (robots), I think it makes them feel colder.

I'm working on a short production that will be shot entirely at night, and I'd like to do something similar.  Usually, my key or fill serves as an eye light.  However, in the following images, I'm not certain the key or fill is the source of the eye light.  At least it doesn't look like it.  Any idea what they're doing?

Thanks as always for the collective wisdom.

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Fine for me. Just looks like a single point glint in their eyes. Some small light generally off to camera right?

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Now I see them. The first and the last have a low fill / eye light, the rest have the key light, even if underexposed in some cases, reflecting in the eye.

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Wow David!  That sets me back to square one.  In the close ups I've shot so far, I can always see the shape of the light (a softbox or tube light or whatever) in the eye.  I'm blown away that these all come from keys or fills.

Here's a thought.  I'm a very small producer and the largest light I have is an Aputure 300D II.  Because I have such low powered lights I'm generally getting them in as close as I can to bring up exposure, which would allow the shape to show in the eye.

Do you think it's likely that in Westworld the reason that we're not seeing the shape of the light in the eyes is because they are very powerful lights that are set way back from the talent?

Thanks for any response.  I'd love to get that same tiny point of light in the eyes but at an affordable price.

Cheers!

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33 minutes ago, David Mullen ASC said:

Now I see them. The first and the last have a low fill / eye light, the rest have the key light, even if underexposed in some cases, reflecting in the eye.

That was my guess! 

I like how the catch lights look in the first and the last frames. How would you achieve this look without brightening up the face too much?

Lone dimmed 4 foot kinoflo on the floor? LED panel? 

I've heard of people putting white diffusion or black nets or muslin over catch lights, but each approach seems to contradict the next.

How would you go about achieving this? 

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The eye will reflect any light in front of it, being a shiny globe.  You dim or knock it down until it down until it doesn't add much fill and you increase the contrast in the color-correction.

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I took part of a frame I shot from my show and did a lower-contrast and a higher-contrast correction -- you see that when the contrast is increased, the shadow detail drops but the white glint in the eye gets brighter (along with the rest of the whites), which is closer to the color grade for "Westworld." 

I used a low Litemat 1 as a fill/eye light.

eyelight7.jpg

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Aha!  That makes a lot of sense to me David.  And of course, since the reflected eye light is at the upper end of the exposure, increasing contrast will really make the light pop against the pupil.  To me, Tony Shalhoub feels more intense in the second shot.

I'm also wondering if bringing up just the whites would do the trick without having to crush the shadows more.  Off to Premiere (and possibly Resolve) to try this out.

Thanks so much!  This forum is the best.

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15 minutes ago, Rick Gates said:

I'm also wondering if bringing up just the whites would do the trick without having to crush the shadows more.  Off to Premiere (and possibly Resolve) to try this out.

That sort of works against the idea of getting an eye light without adding fill.  If you just increase the whites, you'll lift the shadows a little. The eye light always adds fill, if you want to counteract that, you need to color-correct for less shadow detail.

You often saw great sparkling eye lights in movies that did a skip-bleach look and had to use more fill to compensate for the increase in contrast.

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11 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

What's the key on that?

There's a chandelier above his head and I think I screwed in a Litemat 4 on each side of it to create a softer top light for the master, which had a Steadicam move that backed up and saw the chandelier, so I couldn't hang anything around it that was too low.  So given the Litemats for the wide, I probably turned off the deeper of the two Litemats just armed a 4x4 diffusion frame under the nearer Litemat & chandelier for the tighter shot to soften further. I don't remember exactly.

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