Monday, May 02, 2005

Lighting the world

I got an email this weekend from a filmmaker in NYC named Manny who's shooting his film. He's using the DVX and shooting natural light and he's doing it all himself. And I completely DIG that. I really think it's a new art form (I should say craft) that is the principal benefit of the digital revolution. Films can be small and more intimate than ever.

Shooting with natural light can be really beautiful and these new cameras can capture and sometimes make it look more beautiful than it appears to the naked eye. Of course there are two kinds of naked eyes. There are the eyes that just see - and then there are the eyes that see light. Those eyes tend, in the film business to become Director's of Photography or gaffers.

Now coincidentally I happend to watch an episode of a Showtime series called, Family Business, which as you may or may not know is about a porn director/star/producer named Adam Glasser who does his productions under the name Seymour Butts. Now, granted, it's about porn, but - as I was watching it recently there was a scene of him shooting a scene for one of his flicks and there was a brief shot in the corner of his "lighting setup." This lighting setup was nothing more than a couple of yellow halogen shop lights on a stand. And although his films don't exactly look like they were shot by Vittorio Storaro, they don't exactly look bad.

The reason is because of video. You can make it look really, really good with a tiny amount lighting. And a simple trip to someplace like "home depot" will net you a whole crop of gear for little money.

A few years ago I shot my first music video like this - with shop lights and tinfoil (and of course natural light) and it turned out great. The trick - it turned out - was finesse. And those little three prong adapters because the house we were shooting in was wired with only two prong outlets. So in the next few days, weeks, months, I'm going to post lists and ideas of little lights to use. And I'd like to invite others to post here as well because we should all share the wealth as they say.

But right now, I have to go fire up Final Cut and do a little work.

1 comment:

Rick M said...

Thanks for sharing your online production diary, I've enjoyed it so far. It's nice to see that I'm not the only one taking my time shooting my current project :)

Here's my Home Depot lighting tip: 150-watt colored outdoor lights make for great fill lights. Blue fill can make a nighttime shot look great. There are plenty of fixtures that attatch easily to overhead posts or C-stands.