by Richard B. Glickman, Consulting Engineer ASC Associate Member
The advent of faster films has changed many of the rules for well-established lighting techniques. Feature-film photography is now routinely accomplished in "natural lighting" situations, and night scenes are photographed with only the light available from street lighting and shop windows. The speed of these new emulsions has made possible a new degree of realism, and greater freedom in selecting locations for photography.
Quality photography still demands consistent lighting. Consistency often depends on an understanding of the characteristics of various light sources. Light sources may be mixed in any lighting situation, so long as care is taken to apply the appropriate filtering to ensure a consistent color balance. The following sections will deal with those requirements.
The use of lighting filters, formerly restricted to a few blues and ambers, has now advanced to the point where relatively refined adjustments can be made in the spectral energy output of the wide variety of sources. The use of this more sophisticated range of lighting filters has been made practical by the development of convenient color temperature meters that produce relatively sophisticated information about light sources.
The actual lighting of a scene is an artistic process which is beyond the scope of this work. Those artistic decisions involve many considerations, such as the type of story being told, the desired mood and the emotional content of the material. The cinematographer's efforts in those directions, and the specific tools he or she uses, are the hallmarks of the work of any given cinematographer.
Was this article helpful?