In this video director Rubidium Wu (from crimsonengine) takes a look at the use of space lights for video and film productions and what they can be used for and how.
Let’s start with what space lights are and what they do. Many filmmakers will tell you that the ideal light is what you get outside on an overcast day. Is there a way to recreate this indoors? one of the best ways is to use space lights which produce even light over the entire area.
Space lights typically work in grids – depending on the size of the studio or space that you are working in you can have anywhere from a handful of them and up to several dozen lights hanging from the ceiling. A space light has a tube shape with all parts made from diffused fabric – the light itself can be something like a COB or a dedicated space light source.
You are going to need high enough ceilings to hold these lights high enough above your subjects to create the “light blanket” look that you are going for and each needs to be powerful enough (Rubidium showcase the Aputure 300D MKII with the Aputure Space Light Softbox – this type of light modifier is actually very versatile and cost-effective).
You might think that using a large studio with lots of strong space lights means that you don’t really need actual lights on set as the scene is already evenly illuminated. Well, this isn’t exactly the case according to Rubidium. From his experience, you will still need a key light and the space lights are more of your fill and backlights you might also need some strong backlights if you want more separation from the background.
A lot of movies use space lights when doing large scene green or blue screens – this gives them a simple way of achieving even lighting in a large area (the movie The 300 did that).
One last thing to consider – in some sets, they use a piece of black fabric called “teaser” which cuts the light and allows for separate lighting to be set for the actors while still maintaining that soft even light on the background.
You can find a lot more lighting tutorials on our photography lighting section here on LensVid.