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Watch: How to Light a Scene on a Budget

Watch: How to Light a Scene on a Budget


Modern digital cameras can practically see in the dark. Because the 3-point lighting technique was originally designed to help expose light-thirsty film stock, this may cause inexperienced filmmakers to over-light their scenes and risk losing depth, realism and mood.

READ MORE: How to Determine the Right Budget Level for Your Film

Ira Cohen, one of Canada’s most experienced gaffers, claims that less is more (save for sci-fi, perhaps).  His advice to independent filmmakers on a budget? “Use your eyes.”

Often the location already comes with a great deal of natural light (sunshine, tungsten practicals, etc).  You’ll probably spend more time shaping and cutting light than actually adding it.

In this bonus episode of Raindance’s Step & Repeat (above), Ira shows us how to light a simple scene with just one light and what the location already gives us.

Visit Raindance here.

READ MORE: What You Need to Know About Lighting on Location

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