The concept of 3 point lighting touched upon in the lecture was not something unfamiliar to me but it was good to revisit the key principles of lighting as it was something I had completely forgotten about. It’s amazing how you forget about such basic things and terms such as “key light” and “fill light” if it’s been a long time since you have made a film. It’s very easy to think that you can just turn up at a location and shoot without changing the lighting whatsoever and it’s interesting to point out that on shoots I’ve been on in the past it often took a lot of work just to make the lighting look ‘natural’. I distinctly remember having to stand next to a light with a big diffuser during one shoot so the light would bounce onto the actor and look more natural. Often the task of lighting is to be completely unnoticed. For our film there are many scenes where this will be the case, but we also want to implement very stylised, harsh lighting in the surreal sequences. Harsh lighting can have a very dramatic effect as it creates shadows and can accentuate features. While the lecture itself didn’t do much to expand on what I already knew about 3-point lighting, it reminded me of a component of a previous course I’d undertaken and the lighting exercises we did to familiarise us with the concept of hard (direct) and soft (diffused) light along with lighting the scene to look like different parts of the day. At a stage lighting course I did at NIDA many years ago (admittedly it was lighting for stage not for film, but the principles are similar) we had the task of lighting a scene to fit a brief. The scene needed to be lit several different times – one exercise was to light the scene as if there was moonlight coming through the window (for which we used a diffuser and experimented with various coloured gels, finally choosing a violet gel). The next exercise was to light the set as if it was daytime, where we used a coloured gel that had the same colour temperature as sunlight. One thing I noticed doing this exercise was that while the light itself might have looked very constructed and fake from the human eye, when you viewed the same setting through a camera it had a very different effect. Gels were picked up different as were the harshness or softness of lights. I think its very interesting that there is such a big discrepancy between what the human eye picks up and what the camera does. I suppose this is why lighting is so important on set.
Question 8 (Our Lenny can be viewed here)
Our Lenny exercise taught me a lot about the group dynamic we have and how this will relate for our shoot. To be perfectly honest, I was pleasantly surprised with how well we worked as a group and how the Lenny turned out. I was doubtful that the shots would edit together coherently, and although the shot angles could have been better chosen to cut together more seamlessly, it still wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It did make me realise that we need to be more considerate when choosing our shots and angles and go into the shoot with a very clear idea of exactly where we will be placing the camera for each shot before attempting to shoot, we were limited by how close we could get or how far away to get the shots we wanted, especially considering we filmed our Lenny up against a wall so some things (for example a proper reverse shot for the female actor) were physically impossible or awkward to shoot. I am pretty impressed with how we all came together and the level of professionalism that was implemented on our shoot. I was 1st AD on the shoot which is a role I am quite familiar with and I believe having this experience definitely helped my team to get the whole shoot done on time. I know it is strongly advised against that a member of our team should be 1st AD on the day of our actual shoot, but I am fairly confident that if our shoot is going to be successful like the Lenny was, that I’m probably the best person to do it for our group because of the dynamic we have and how well it worked out for the Lenny. I don’t think as a producer I could sit by and watch someone else come in and 1st AD who doesn’t know the script as well as I do or understand priorities that we have made. I also know, without sounding arrogant, that I’ve had a lot of experience 1st ADing and I don’t have trust that someone else would be able to come in and do a better job.