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Lighting Basics: Creating Artificial Sunlight Indoors


On this video filmmaker, Valentina Vee from Aputure talks to cinematographer Carissa Dorson who shares her vast experience as a DP and demonstrates how she lights a scene using artificial lights to recreate the look of daylight indoors.

While daylight can be really beautiful, there are many practical reasons why it isn’t really usable on a set of a video or a movie. First, the sun moves in the skies and changes position, you can also not expect clouds or rain and the temperature of the sun changes throughout the day not to mention the fact that shooting might often occur until very late when the sun has already set. A completely different reason is that it can be harder to control sunlight (you can’t really put a grid on the sun although there are ways to cut parts of it like any other light if you really want to).

For all those reasons, it is quite common that onset you will need to make your artificial sunlight. Knowing exactly how to control the natural sunlight and place lights to fake sunlight is key and in this video, Dorson explains exactly how she has done that for a dusty library scene.

The first light (300D MKII) is placed in a different room with a gobo to mimic blinds on a wall behind the subject as she moves towards the camera. The next light is used on a wide shot when the subject is facing the window that creates a silhouette. This is made to establish the space and to show the direct sunlight. For this Dorson used a floppy and cut the natural sun completely (for all the reasons we mentioned above). Here again, Dorson used a 300D MKII to mimic the Sun but it was still throwing lights to the floor that reflected on the subject so she used Duvetyn on the floor to prevent the reflections.

Lastly, Dorson shoots a close up of the character reacting to something in the scene and she used one of the 300D MKII bounced from a beadboard going through another layer of diffusion – what is known as booklight (bounce light+diffusion) which gives a very soft light on your subject.

You can find more HDSLR tutorial videos here on LensVid as well as more of Vee’s tutorials and videos – here.

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