Why We are Different
Many film making workshops have between 15-25 attendees which makes it difficult to get any real hands on experience.
We just wrapped a 2 day Cinematic Production Lighting Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport.
All F-Stop Academy classes are limited in size and we never go beyond 8 people in a class. This is simply so every attendee gets personal attention from Den.
This week we did a 2 day Lighting workshop with a class size of only 8 attendees which guarantees hands on filming for every attendee. This is important because by doing you learn and remember.
The first day is entirely focussed on lighting a talking head. We split you up into production teams of 2 and each group light an interview with a 25 minute deadline. The purpose of this deadline is to create a 'real world' environment.
However we do not send you off to figure it out solely. Each team lights in turn so there is added value for everyone else to observe how each team in turn overcomes the challenges of the location.
The success of a great looking frame is not just in the lighting but also in the grading of a shot. So to demonstrate what can be possible beyond the lighting you create on location, Den also walks you through examples of how you can enhance your talking heads further using grading software. This is a relatively quick process and is really important if you want to excel to a more cinematic look to your work.
In another example , Den demonstrates how to approach really difficult lighting situations. In this situation we moved into a mixed lighting environment with bright sunshine outside, And a mixture of tungsten and daylight balanced lighting within the room.
In this example we were limited by the output of the available video lighting. In this situation you need a big light with high output and so if you do not have one available then you need to get the light as close to the subject as possible and expose the frame so your highlights outside do not burn out.
In this example you need to consider the 2 step process of lighting with eth grade in mind because just like in cinema you build the image 50% on location and 50% in the grade.
In another challenging environment, One of the attendees Rich, films in domestic environment and small bland offices regularly and so he wanted to see how to maximise lighting in these environments. This is a very common type of location and you will no doubt be very familiar with shooting in exactly these types of tough locations.
So we simulated a living room where it was not possible to create any depth whatsoever.
The key here is to create whatever contrast you can in that situation then grade the footage to build virtual lighting in post.
So What Did the Attendees Think?
On Day 2 the group wanted to look at comparing different sized sensors on the same scene. WIthin this group we had C300, C100, Nikon D800, Canon 5D Mark III, GH2, FS700 and Sony EX-3 so quite a mixture of formats.
With many different formats we shot the same scene with multiple formats simultaneously to highlight the effect of cropped sensors on lens focal length. This then lead on to Den showing the group the effect of a wide lens, standard lens and telephoto on perspective and how different lens focal lengths can distor the face if used at extremes.
Shooting Still Life
Then we moved on to shooting a 30' spot of an inanimate object. While this may on the surface seem easy, in most cases this trips up the group because you have to create the drama from scratch.