Saturday, October 3, 2009

Guerilla Film Maker Lighting Tips 101

Everything you need to light a professional looking indie-film is at the Home Depot (with a quick trip to JoAnnes Fabrics and an Art Supply Store). Period. I use work lights bounced (pointed at the ceiling so the light bounces onto your subjects) off the ceilings and occasionally defused with silk cloth (see top picture of transparent heat resistant cloth purchased at JoAnnes Fabrics stapled to a standard picture frame) for most room settings. Another trick is to maximize room lighting by changing all lights in a room to the highest bulb capacity possible (check the fixtures maximum wattage rating to avoid an accident). Video (unlike film) looses information that can not be recovered when things are too bright. Film is information is lost when shot too dark- so if you are shooting DV, changing the light bulbs in a room may be all you need to get enough light for your shot. For car interiors I use these little bad boys (see picture of lights in my hands) that I found in Home Depot. They are battery operated and can be tucked and taped up in the headliner of a car to give a nice bit of light to the cars interior. You can always try the dome lights, but they are not usually directional and have extreme hot spots right underneath. Of course clamp lights are indispensable and other style lights can add a unique effect to you subject(s). I usually carry different colored and wattage light bulbs in my light box to put in a clamp light for a little mood lighting. Always bring extra bulbs and batteries for all you lights and fixtures. There's nothing worse than shooting late at night in a remote location and having major lighting malfunctions. Keep it DIY let Hollywood die!

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