Using light to tell the story
The use of light (either natural or artificial or both), shadow and color can be used to tell the story visually. Lighting is an incredibly powerful tool. You have the ability to set certain moods and reach viewers on an emotional level you otherwise might not be able to. This gives you a way to affect your audience subconsciously, while they're also following the story. Few tools can reach that deeper emotional level than the use of lighting in a creative way in a film or video. And often it is not so much about what you light, but what you don't light, as well.
For instance; imagine for a particular scene that we are looking at a stand-off with a good guy and a bad guy. You could decide to light the 'good guy', while the 'bad guy', who is opposite of him, stands in the dark. Good vs Bad. Or you could leave part of a face in the shadows, hinting visually that this character has got something to hide that will later be exposed. You can also use light in such a way to direct the eye of the viewer to where we want them too look, as seen in the images 7 and 8 that I shot some years ago.
These are just some simple straightforward examples perhaps, but light can be used in so many (creative) ways that I'll write an article that will solely focus on both the creative and technical aspects lighting a scene.
Image 9 is a still from a short film I DOP’d for years ago and was shot completely in natural light. We had about 20 minutes to shoot the whole thing during an actual bus ride. I researched what the best time of the day - in terms of natural light in accordance to the bus route - would be, to still be able to achieve the look & feel that I was going for. So even though with natural light you can’t plan everything, you can prepare for every possible situation and base your decisions on that. This short was shot on a Canon EOS 5DMII, so the lack of Dynamic Range (we'll come to that in later articles) left much to my desire. But with proper lighting (natural light), you can do a lot to make it look as good as it can possibly be.
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