Pre-Production Planning: Focus on lighting

If you are new to film or video you must understand that lighting for film is different than for video; the type of project you are working on will guide your lighting options.

FilmLightingEquipmentLowerBroadwayNYC060709With that said, let’s be clear that your audience’s perception of your project is significantly affected by the way you “Craft your Lighting.” Lighting sets the mood and tone, lighting enhances the color scheme, lighting defines genres, lighting enriches textures, creates depth… shall I go on??

Control of lighting is essential. Why? Because your project is all about translating your message to the viewer. You must have consistent light to do that.

Planning lighting of each scene and/or shot is vital. Setting up lights is the most time consuming task on any shoot, large or small. So, the better the planning of the lighting setup, the more efficient the shoot will be.

So, here are your Dirty Dozen considerations for lighting design:

  1. Determine required contrasts, balance of dark and light
  2. Determine use of hard light or soft light
  3. Determine the intensity, or the amount of light
  4. Determine the direction of the light in relation to the lens and the subject axis
  5. Determine the color of the light required
  6. Determine the beam pattern, i.e. the beam angle, shape and any shadow patterns
  7. Test your lighting compared to the proposed distance of the shot as this will affect the lighting
  8. Test your lighting compared to shot angles, framing of shot will determine position of lighting.
  9. Test your lighting compared to the type of lens being used this will determine type and position of lighting.
  10. Test your lighting on backdrops, painted vs photographic backdrops
  11. Keep a shot-to-shot logbook which gives the f-stop, the filtration, the focal length of the lens, etc. . . . lighting must always match for continuity
  12. Respect your lighting crew

Lighting will be a crucial element in your project. When you find a true lighting artist, don’t let them go.

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