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Lighting breakdown - commercial spot


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I really like the photography in this short film / commercial https://youtu.be/-AFIiVl2RNc 

I’d love to know how the exteriors were captured... they obviously shot in backlight but the shadows on the girl and the table/plates/food aren’t too dark. How is this achieved?

Also of interest is the moody interior shots with the man sitting at the radio (00:35) I love the soft lighting wrapping around his face yet the background/walls aren’t awash in light which helps create depth and separation. How is this achieved? Obviously the window to this left is contributing something but it seems too small to five that side quality of light wrapping around the face??
Whenever I’ve tried to light an interior shot like this i’ve used a large softbox or bounced into a white bed sheet and ended up with a very flat and boring image... the talents face looks nice but the light isn’t “dramatic” or specifically drawing the eye to the subject. 

Thanks for your time...

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It looks like the building is south-facing and they plotted the shots around the sun to give a back light. So the shot of her exiting with the plates would be late in day. The profile shot of her walking through the tables would be like 1pm. And her closeup like at 10am. They planned that well. And clearly she's been filled with a stronger wrap from key-side (sun side).

The thing about fill is it's done to taste. And in backlight situations like this, white surfaces can be anything (ex. styrene, ultrabounce). But I imagine they used 8x8 or 12x12 white frames behind camera. Someone here mentioned draping a single or double net over the ultrabounce to control the fill ratio so it's not screaming.

Those plating shots are done with a diffusion frame intercepting a backlight hard source. Either the sun or a light. If I had a big light on set, then I would prioritize the people first, and get these cutaways with the light during unusable sun hours like near dusk. The frame could be half-grid, 250, or perhaps one of the soft frosts. The diffusion is right out of frame on the far side. Again, fill to taste.

The guy in the cabin.

So his light is somewhat softened and directional. The reason why the walls aren't filled by spill is because they don't see the light. So his source may actually be outside the door, which is easily achieved with a big light and diffusion. You can see it hitting the wall behind him on the right, so it's not JUST on him. The wooden rack casts a decently intact shadow, so his source may actually be through a soft frost or opal. (As a side note, softcrates are a way to create directional soft light but they're expensive.) They may have placed a fill surface, but that's an easy placement, and again to taste. 

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When it comes to lighting faces, I could explain better in person. Not so brief with text. But I'll try.

If your bedsheet key is washing out the face. Then it is seeing too much of the face and needs to circle the subject until you get the texture you want. If you end up seeing your light gimmick in the shot, then back that source away. I almost always use walls, or back the stands up to walls. The larger and further your key is, the more it becomes a push for the whole room, not just your subject. And then it is more akin to a window. Same for kickers, if desired. Fill is different. Fill is the rest of the room that isn't the key. So by definition it is naturally larger than your key. I've filled by bouncing an LED panel into walls and dimming to taste. Some people don't worry about fill, but for commercial work, it is a must.

I hope this is helpful.

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On 4/20/2021 at 3:41 AM, Stephen Lewis said:

 

Also of interest is the moody interior shots with the man sitting at the radio (00:35) I love the soft lighting wrapping around his face yet the background/walls aren’t awash in light which helps create depth and separation. How is this achieved? Obviously the window to this left is contributing something but it seems too small to five that side quality of light wrapping around the face??
Whenever I’ve tried to light an interior shot like this i’ve used a large softbox or bounced into a white bed sheet and ended up with a very flat and boring image... the talents face looks nice but the light isn’t “dramatic” or specifically drawing the eye to the subject. 

Thanks for your time...

Flags

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Thank you Stephen and David! I definitely have a lot to learn about controlling spill/using flags. I realized the production was probably very deliberate about the dark green color of the walls in that cabin... it certainly helps create mood and background separation... 
 

And great idea about using nets draped over bounce to control ratio, I need to file that away in my memory bank. 

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