“It’s 7AM on a Saturday and I’m going to school to be a documentary filmmaker!”
Saturday’s classes are reserved for exercises in editing, videography, and self-criticism. Today we experimented with lighting, which I quickly realized is an art form unto itself. Although enhanced lighting isn’t essential to making a documentary, it can effectively provide dramatic effect in much the same way as camera angles. Using a combination of oddly named lights (Tota, Omni, Mini, Rifa), we learned how to set up a three-point lighting system.
The key light serves as the main source of light, and is directed at a 45 degree angle downward from above the subject. This angling keeps the interviewee’s shadow from appearing on the backdrop. It also shadows half the subject’s face, which is corrected by the use of a fill light situated next to the camera. Finally, a third light can be shone above the subject and against the background to give depth to the image and context to the interviewee. Like this: