Sunday, January 29, 2012

Canon Digital Film Making, Basic Lighting

Canon Digital Filmmaking, Basic Lighting

    I started out with the assumption that everyone knew the basics of film making and all that I had to do was to look at cameras and suggest the best one for the job. Well after fielding almost a hundred questions on a stack of different subjects I thought that I would go back to the basics and review it all.  And post links where and when needed.
    First you will need a script.  A script is like a road map and when going on a long journey you must have a road map. If you do not think so then watch the amazing race and multiply that by ten.  Then go online and do a free read of your favorite movie in script form.  I am not going to teach you how to write a script here.  I have a blog dedicated to that subject, just visited 
and you will get the basics along with list of free and or low cost software that you can use.
    Let’s talk about lights next.  This subject is at least equal and perhaps more important than the camera.
    Hey isn’t this whole site about making movies using a Canon camera?
    Yes and no.  It is about making quality movies using the Canon Hv and Vixia cameras and to do this you need quality lighting.  Let’s get the lights and we will go over how to use them later.  First if you can afford it get yourself a softbox lighting kit.  A kit that comes with 3 separate lights for the classic 3 point lighting set up.  It will probably cost in the two hundred dollar range.  There are even some kits in this price range that come with a boom stand.  Another type of kit in this range is a set of two lights with barn doors.  I like the sets with the barn doors because you can attach color gels and control the look of each scene better.

    Now lets drop down below a hundred dollars in budget.  Many movie makers like to use work lights.  Heavy duty work lights.  They have them at home depot, usually on sale for fifty to ninety dollars.  With these monsters you are looking at two thousand watts of light.  If you choose to go this route do not use them for direct light.  Some people have and like it.  I do not like the look that it gives to a shot.  Use them and bounce the light off of poster boards and or reflectors to soften the light.  If not that then use gels or parchment paper to soften the light.  They are my last lighting option. But if you are just starting out and you got a few gathering dust in the garage or basement then go ahead and use them.  We learn by doing things.
    Let’s drop below sixty dollars.  Let’s go to home depot and get some clamp lights.  They sell for 7 - 10 dollars each.  Get three of them.  Next get some energy saver bulbs, 200 watts equivalent if you can find them.  Pick up some S clamps while you are there to steady these guys and we are all but ready to light our set.  Since this is the ultra low budget way of lighting, get yourself some C47s (clothespins) and a box of parchment paper.  Clip the paper over the clap lights to soften the light and we are ready to light our digital feature film.
    Below you will find a basic low budget lighting tutorial.

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