Thread: Query On Shooting Mixed Colorful Interior Lighting

Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1 Query On Shooting Mixed Colorful Interior Lighting 
    Member Lewis McGregor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Barry, Wales
    Posts
    58
    Hey guys,

    I’m plotting for a shoot for Sunday, and I don’t often shoot night-time interiors with mixed lighting, but we’re emulating the room of an adult gamer, so lots of blues and reds as typically donned by popular online streamers.

    I've found this shot from Mattias Troelstrup on a KFC commercial, and outside of the location, the light perfectly captures the tone. My query surrounds the key light and specifically the color temp. What should I look to use, as I don’t want the RGB lighting to completely overpower the skin tones?

    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #2  
    Senior Member Aaron Lochert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,171
    TL;DR: Color contrast and full spectrum lights on a face can help separate them from a monochromatic or dichromatic background.

    To me this looks like four lights on our subject:

    1. Low angle, camera-right, warm-colored soft light. You can see it in his left eye reflection. This light is set to be warmer than the camera's white balance. So it's either a practical at like 2700k while we're set to 3200k. Or a 3200-4400K light while you're set to daylight.
    2. A neutral, broad soft fill light which is illuminating the shadow side of his face, most noticeable in his right cheek by how much cooler in color temp it is than our key side. It doesn't appear to be bluish (only maybe a little by contrast) so I believe it's set to exactly to what the camera is set to, or perhaps a smidge cooler.
    3. A red kicker which could just very well be a titan tube or skypanel S30 or other RGB fixture hitting his camera-left side. It's decently soft but isn't wrapping much.
    4. Just barely we can make out a backlight/hairlight which might just be the practical lamp above his head. Looks to be about the same color temp as our key.

    So there's really two things that are going on here that are giving you this look. The first is the full spectrum lighting on the face where the heavily gelled or RGB lighting is for the background only or accent lights on the talent. The second is that the fill light is our neutral light and our key light is warmer than that. So this grounds the shot in reality because he's being keyed by a light that feels "warm" but isn't just a blanket wash of warm because our fill light is being our "baseline color temp." When you establish this baseline color, when you add splashes of color is what makes it feel like it's in the world of the scene and not in the grade or a filter on the lens.

    The other shots from the spot all follow the same sort of "formula" even though lighting placements might be different.

    This one:


    It's got a stronger wash of red on the faces. You can see how the passenger looks being completely washed in red and nothing else--very monochromatic red and flat. The driver is getting a mix of some amber full spectrum light which draws out more shape and definition and liveliness to the skin. There's some red fill coming from camera right to wash the car in red and warm up the shadows, some strong blue backlight which is either bouncing off and lighting up the ceiling of the car, or another lamp is in the car, and there's a green/yellow light behind the car to imply it's coming from that fixture in the upper right corner. But the important bit is the amber full spectrum light that sets a baseline for the red to exist in the reality of the story.

    This one:


    Toppy amber soft light, strong blue backlight/hairlight (might solely be coming just from the background blue light or maybe there's a lamp above), red soft, broad, fill from camera left? Hard to tell on this one. Again, the amber playing with the red is what is giving fleshtones some life and grounding them in the world of the shot.

    This one:


    Amber soft key camera right. Amber kicker camera left. Red fill below camera and to the right.

    So the theme with all of these is grounding the subject in a color that is NOT the strong color, but a more neutral, full spectrum light. It helps establish a baseline for the viewer.

    Some other examples of good mixed lighting include Joker:


    Again, take note the full spectrum light on the majority of the face with the the strong blue backlight only hitting part of his face. The amber kicker is adding interest but it's not the important role this time. What's important is the cooler-than-neutral light keying his face and not the absolutely-blue light.

    So I think the main takeaway from all of this for your shoot is that whatever "world" you're trying to put your gamer in, key them with a closer to neutral version of that. And if you can help it, make sure that light is more full spectrum so your colors don't go totally funky.

    For example, how much more boring are these two shots when the key light matches the background color exactly?




    Edit: Wanted to provide another example. Here's what these two shots would look like when you only key them with the more neutral color and don't incorporate any of the "world" colors into the fill or backlight:




    So when it comes to mixed lighting, it really is about mixing the lighting, even on the face. One color without the other makes faces look either totally separated from the world of the story, or too incorporated with the world that it just looks like a heavy tint or strong grade polluting the whole image.

    Long winded, but hopefully I've provided some insight.
    Last edited by Aaron Lochert; 12-24-2020 at 04:12 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #3  
    Senior Member Mark A. Jaeger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    SE Washington
    Posts
    116
    Aaron, Excellent analysis and examples. I am guessing you taught those interested in this thread a thing or two (or more). Mark
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #4  
    Senior Member Aaron Lochert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,171
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark A. Jaeger View Post
    Aaron, Excellent analysis and examples. I am guessing you taught those interested in this thread a thing or two (or more). Mark
    Cheers, Mark.

    Aputure, Quasar Science, and Indy Mogul put together a good breakdown of some problems you can get shooting with RGB LEDs. It's what I was eluding do when saying key with a fuller spectrum light and leave the RGB lights for the backgrounds exclusively. Always worth bringing up in a thread like this one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U-F7EhLp7g

    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn
    Posts
    8,936
    Love this thread, and this spot:

    https://vimeo.com/205209064

    Also worth noting some of the underlying messaging going on in the lighting - given how "American" KFC is, and even Roy Orbison himself, I can't help but think the RED, WHITE (key light) and BLUE lighting was also an agency nod to the brand itself as an American institution, something we can all relate to.

    Great thread, and great spot!

    This is for when Reduser is at its best

    Happy holidays everyone
    Nick Morrison
    Founder, Director & Lead Creative
    // SMALL GIANT //
    smallgiant.tv
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #6  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    320
    Fantastic post, Aaron! I think you heard "the question behind the question" and explained WHY you might make these choices. Thank you.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #7  
    Member Lewis McGregor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Barry, Wales
    Posts
    58
    Aaron, only just caught up on your reply after taking an x-mas internet break.

    Thank you so much, that's so insightful. The shoot was pushed back due to a covid issue, so I'll be implementing this info.
    Last edited by Lewis McGregor; 12-28-2020 at 03:26 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #8  
    Senior Member Aaron Lochert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,171
    Thanks, guys. I'm glad it was helpful.

    Nick also brings up a great point that a lot of this stuff starts well before setting up a single light. Behind every great frame is hours of discussions and meetings with the brand, the agency, the art department, the director, etc. I will always say that the art dept. makes my cinematography better; I have no shame in admitting that. Always be friendly with your fellow art people!
    Reply With Quote  
     

Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts