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Overhead diffused lighting:

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So I have been testing various lighting techniques, book light etc and I have come across one in which I have really fallen for "overhead lighting".  So in talking to a DP friend of mine he mentioned that the overhead soft diffused lighting I love should only be used sparingly.  So my question to the group iso you agree with him that this technique only works for scenes are justified for it.  Such as a scene where a practical over head light can be seen in the scene.  I am working on a film  that is heavily styled and I dont care about natural realistic lighting,  I like the look gives the actors,  granted you place a reflector under them so they dont get dark raccoon eyes.   In the film Birdman I know it was justified because it was low ceilings with fluorescents visible.  I love the scene in the bar with Edward Norton and Michael Keaton as well as when he confronts the theater critic.



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I wouldn't use it for everything, but I've worked in a fair amount of office settings where it works great using the existing ceiling fixtures and low bounce. It's certainly easy to set up in rooms and just bounce off a white ceiling, but it's not as cool looking as window light in my opinion. I generally will bounce off a white ceiling when I need an ambient base in a room, but I don't key that way anymore.

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Posted (edited)

That falls under personal preference. I've gained a lot of lighting preferences. You will too as you shoot. Just don't allow them to become rules.

I think our work is flexible enough to allow us to, in a way,  make the scenarios fit our preferred lighting methods. That may spark some arguments. But my point is three DPs with the same script will light it differently, based on their preferences. Some prefer windows only, some shut windows and rely on lamp practicals, some like the overheads motivated by chandelier. The same DP with a different motivation will even light differently (compare the two Justice League versions).

There's lots of great shows with top light by the way. David Mullen's work on Mrs Maisel had a lot of top-sourced light and that wasn't out of place. There was a lot of top light in The Dark Knight as well. And I think they were motivated well. And when you get into scifi, light will come from all over the place. As long as a motivation exists, whether natural or otherworldly, I see no problem.



Edited by Stephen Sanchez
"knight" was misspelled
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