When filming, we often hear these words 'Lights, camera, action!' but little do we know about the stuffs behind making a wonderful movie or series right? Studio and field production lighting is very important. It is both an art and a science; but not all rules of studio lighting apply to field lighting for something created for television. For field productions, portable equipment can be utilized entirely. No production will be successful if the audio and video specialist does not have the proper knowledge on the techniques of lighting. Just as a soldier should be flexible in battle, an audio or television specialist should also be flexible in applying techniques to the production.
Defining Basic TV Lighting Techniques in the Studio
1. Lighting is an art and a science.
- Ingenious lighting influences the audience and their point of view. This would include their perception of size, shape, weight, and color. Clever lighting can enhance and improve the illusion of 3D or three dimensions.
Poor lighting, on the other hand, can result in a boring footage or one without character dull. Thus good lighting is necessary to a high quality television production.
2. The camera works like the human eye.
- Similar to any human eye, the television camera needs proper lighting to be able to function well and see properly. Unlike the human eye, however, the television camera is more demanding on the color of the light, the amount of the light, and the relative austerity and direction.
a. Flashlight. Humans can see fairly well even with only a flashlight or bright sunlight as an illuminating source. Albeit that, the television camera may not operate properly under these circumstances because the flashlight may not radiate enough light for the pickup tube to provide enough electricity. If so, the resulting picture will lack signal strength and suffer from excess video noise known as picture snow. Too much light can also damage the outcome of a picture as at best, it may look washed out; and at worst, it can destroy the camera pickup tube.
b. Lamp. The lamp which may appear visibly white to any human eye can look so red to the camera that it can result in a reddish picture on the television. There are also lamps which looks a bit bluish to the camera although the human eye perceives it as normal white light.
c. Shadows. A harsh light or lights coming from various angles can create shadows that hide, instead of showing, the real shape of an object.
3. Lighting is a photographic art.
- Just like any other photographic arts, television lets you encounter two different lights and illuminations. There is the directional and diffused light; and the outdoor and indoor illumination.
a. Directional light it illuminates only a small area with a definite beam. It produces a shadow that is well-defined with a fast falloff. This means that the lighted area changes rather quickly into a dense shadow area. To achieve this, spotlights are used.
b. Diffused light opposite the directional light, this illuminates a larger area with an indefinite beam. It creates a soft, undefined shadow with a slower falloff or reduction. To achieve this lighting, floodlights are used.
c. Outdoor illumination is predominantly attained by utilizing the most reliable lighting source we have, the sun. However, the sun does not at all times emit the same amount of light. On an overcast or cloudy day, the sun works like a floodlight producing a diffused type of light. On a cloudless day, it acts as a spotlight. Although special lighting equipment are being used to adjust the type of lighting when outdoors, there is little control over outdoor illumination, generally speaking.
d. Indoor illumination will most likely always need the use of different lighting equipment. If the room is full of windows, matching the amount of light and illumination becomes more of a challenge. The lighting equipment to be used will vary from one handheld light to complete lighting grids which permits a precise and more control over the light.
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