Cinematic lighting explained – Basics,  tutorial and ultra mobile lighting kit MDEpicEpisodeS1E09

Cinematic lighting explained – Basics, tutorial and ultra mobile lighting kit MDEpicEpisodeS1E09


Hello and welcome to the Mirror Division,
this episode is about lighting If you are here, you are probably in love. In
love with the magic that is cinema. And if you are on your way to recreate cinematic images yourself, this should be a good mantra: Lighting is to film what music is
to opera. in this enlightened epic episode we will explore the basics of cinematic lighting We will teach you the terminology and talk about basic
techniques we are going to assemble a lighting kit that gives you a huge range of possibilities while being completely mobile running just on batteries and this complete lighting kit is small and light enough to fit in a small case and of course we are going to show you how to use it let there be light this episode is for filmmakers
compendium, that means it is tailored to the less experienced among you but if
you’re a pro and you’re dealing with projects where you have to be extremely
mobile or you have a very low budget this might be interesting for you as
well I often get asked, what will improve one’s work the most is that the camera… or is it maybe lenses… or is it the grade and the answer is of course… the lighting. the first step to really improve your work , should be improving your lighting
skills and your gear In the intro we already established that lighting is the most important ingredient of the magic sauce that is a cinematic image of course story and acting is always the most important parts to a story but if
we’re talking just about the image lighting will have the most impact First, let us establish what we
mean by cinematic lighting… cinematic lighting can be everything and
nothing, there’s no clear definition of the term at all and venturing for the history genres and fashion of cinema you will encounter
about every possible way of lighting including lighting with just practicals
like in the famous candlelight scenes of “Barry Lyndon” It needed the fastest lens
ever built to make that possible with the sensitivity of film used at the time cinematic lighting can be achieved using just available like here in “Arrival” and even with no lighting like here in “Don’t Breathe” Using just ambient light shows
that cinematic lighting can be all about timing
that can mean waiting for certain weather conditions like it becomes
painfully clear in “The Revenant” or about the sun to have the exact right position to fit your set or to give a certain quality that will resemble the work of
an artist like in “Mr. Turner” Cinematic lighting can establish a palette like “Drive” does to symbolise the fight of good and evil or to pay homage to another filmmaker like “Crimson Peak” is inspired by the lighting of Mario Bava To put it in a nutshell cinematic is what you and your audience consider cinematic but generally it is the emotional approach to lighting that makes lighting cinematic from our point of view Cinematic lighting is more than
illumination… it is tailored to help telling the story Of course, lighting has to suit technical
needs, like the limited sensitivity of film or sensors or the need to shoot with high f-stops to give older anamorphic lenses a bit more bite
causing a distinctive look on its own for example in “The Hateful Eight” the
roof of the set was missing to be able to light the whole scene at the same
time freeing the extremely wide ultra Panavision 70 camera to look around at will, but also it created a lighting that is very unrealistic Would an oil lamp or a candle create something remotely as hard, as shaped, or as bright as this? No, it’s not the sun you see through the window that it’s nighttime Tarantino loves stylistic lighting and very often lights from above this is Remember those scenes in “Django Unchained”? This is a set photo from that scene showing the lighting setup………. say what?!? while many cinema lighting setup look
ridiculously complex, There are many examples for light that,
while not simple on their effect, are simple in their setup. For example, this iconic scene from Blade Runner used just one big light of screen. It is bounced into a reflector to fill the shadows in her face Okay that’s one other light, the
light that reflects in their retinas to give us the famous replicant eye effect… and by the way if you want to reproduce that effect we made a tutorial just for
that… I’ll put a link up in the corner Thanks to the ever advancing technology, like improved sensitivity of the sensors and brighter, cooler, more
versatile, and less power-hungry LED cinematic lighting setups can be simpler
and more achievable for low-budget productions and even for hobby filmers, of
course modern lights come with their own bag of problems, like pulsing or bad
color rendition but since LED lights have vastly
improved their quality and dropped in price we have completely switched to use
only LEDs a while ago the benefits just outweigh problems by far. The lighting kit we are going to assemble, is going to be LED only Let’s recap: you don’t need 40,000 watt lights with a generator truck for good
lighting lighting doesn’t have to be realistic and simple lighting can be good lighting to understand what we are talking about you need to understand the following terms: the key life is usually the main source
of light in your scene and it helps you to give you a subject form and dimension
in this case the key light is very much on the side it helps me to separate my
face from the background and gives it its shape the fill light is the light
that helps to fill the shadows that your key light generates in my case it’s on
the other side and it’s a bluish light that we just put on the side and reflect
it to fill the shadows up A practical light is a light that is visible within your set so in this case lamp right there it can be just a desk lamp or whatever and it helps to bring life to your set An effect light is a light that helps to
establish a certain location, or helps to make an effect more believable Ambient light or available light is the light that is in your scene by nature it could be sunlight, moonlight, street lights or maybe the lights of a whole city light can be defined by its position… there is back light there is side light and this of course frontal light light can be defined by its quality it can be soft light or it can be hard light soft light is usually from a large light source a big surface that gives off diffused light you can additionally put in diffusion or use a reflector to bounce it back into your scene we just call that bounce hard light usually
comes from a very small light source you can use it to shape light light does not have to be realistic but often it makes sense to use lighting in a motivated way, which means for example if your talent has a window on his left side, the key light should come from the same direction because it just makes more logical sense when a light comes from where natural sources are but of course
rules are there to be broken lights can be defined by their mood we
define it as high key for bright scene and low key for a darker moody scene of
course different settings or genres lend themselves to be shot either in high key
or in low key for example a horror movie is traditionally low-key and a comedy
would rather be high key but it sometimes it’s very interesting to play
with these perceptions if you find our work entertaining and useful please like the video and consider subscribing to our Channel And while you are at it, bing
that bell too so you don’t miss any of our epic episodes if you want to know what we are cooking for the next episodes and get some exclusive
behind-the-scenes and tips for your youtube lighting setup and the likes
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episodes condensed and mobile-friendly before we will assemble a lighting kit
and show you how to use it episodes like this take a lot of work
and we are happy to have a little help from our sponsor NordVPN so let’s see what we find in our ultra
portable cinematic lighting kit with a Soonwell FB 21 we have a super flexible
and strong bi-color LED as our key light as our fill and effect light we have the
amazing color spike a programmable RGB LED light don’t leave home without a hard light we pack an aperture mini LS light that has a built-in Fresnel for flood and spot modes next is a tiny LED panel light called
the tile light… it is the joker, filling in where the others can’t our last ingredient makes your light itself part of the scene a little bit of haze, in a can that is, and of course and like always we carry the fitting batteries
diffusion and gels all lights in the kit are small light and are able to run on
battery it for extended times and they have very good light quality with a high CRI
as we want to use this kit without C stands in a mobile way you always carry
a bit of gaff with you so you can stick lights to the walls two doors two tables
two two ladders or whatever, just be creative with your surroundings.
Of course I will put all the links to the lights and the other gear in the
description of this video let’s start with our key light you would want a
soft light as your key most of the time it is nice to use a large surface light
with a softbox our choice for this kit is the Soonwell FB-21 because it has
a very very good bang for the buck while still having a high output and great
light quality flexible LEDs are very versatile you can easily stick the light to the ceiling, to a lamp, a chair, just about anything you can even shape it to fit in confined spaces. A very cool option is, that you can shape it to a double sided or round source being an ideal source to light multiple
characters or objects in a scene at the same time it is bi-color so you can
change the light temperature to match your scene the light quality is rated at 95 to 98 CRI depending on the chosen light temperature the 100 watts of power draw gives you 3660 lux at one meter the power module has a large screen and doubles as a controller for brightness and
temperature and if you want to include it into a studio setup it has DMX support. The module can take v-mount batteries and can switch between DC and battery mode it comes with everything required to
keep the light in flat shape if you want to use it on a c-stand allowing just the
same and better control than what one is used from an ordinary light panel the Soonwell includes the softbox for
diffusion giving the desired large soft key light we are after. A grid lets you
make the light directional meaning that you will have less spill on top of that
the Sonnwell FB-21 is rainproof so you don’t have to worry about using it in
combat the very low weight of a flexible LED makes it the ideal light for a boom
light what is the boom light, well it’s a bit like a microphone on a boom stick so you just use a pole and stick a light to it and you can use that
to bring it close to your subject let me show you how that works here’s the behind the scenes from the beautiful Apple ad “welcomed home” by Spike Jonze who shows how effective a
boomed light can work The Soonwell is perfect for stunts like that as well as for being used as a simple alternative to a classic LED light panel of course
no light is perfect so let me give some fair criticism.
I wish the power cord would be longer if you place it under the ceiling your
power supply often hangs mid-air but nothing that you couldn’t fix by getting
an extension cord Like many LEDs the lowest setting will still give you a lot of light often overpowering the scene Be ready to apply more diffusion to bring
down the output All in all, I think a flexible LED is a “must have” and the Soonwell FB-21 is a great light at a good price costing slightly north of $400 Next is our fill an effect light the “Colorspike” this is a light that compares to about nothing else out there it’s an RGB light stick that lets you program and use even animated lighting
effect for well about everything you can possibly think of. To better see what’s
going on we remove the diffusion We see three rows of light with a middle one hosting the RGB lights and the outer ones hosting daylight and tungsten LEDs
combining all LEDs the Colorspike can reach 1400 lux at 1 meter. Colorspike can
be controlled with a mobile app which you are going to need just by the
complexity of the possibilities that this light has to offer, just dial in a color, or a temperature, a brightness choose a motion pattern of a preset
modify the preset just turning one candle to 2, or 3, or 4, all at the touch of a
finger. And all that in a confined system that includes the battery. Simply amazing
just place it, or hang it, or stick it, wherever you would need a light… and
again no light is perfect. The internal battery is used up very quickly too quickly to rely on it on serious work better bring that power cord with you.
The app loses contact all the time and needs to be restarted to reestablish the connection to your Colorspike spike and the included diffusion doesn’t
seem to fit the light I managed to break it right away, still, I don’t want to miss
this light on any shoot and if it’s just for placing a super quick fill with the
exact right color Colorspike can be ordered for $450 Next up is our hard light A large sources are nice for soft light, but you can’t really shape them, so we are packing an Aputure LS mini 20-D The D stands for daylight and this
is not a bi-color light, but as you will need all the power and such a small
light, we choose the D as the more powerful variant delivering 10,000 Lux in the spot mode from a meter distance The LS mini has a Fresnel with an adjustable beam angle, so you can go from spot to flood Pretty amazing for such a compact
light the included barn doors allow to shape the lights for nice eye lights and
many other cool uses The odd thing about the LS is the light temperature of 7500 Kelvin so we will have to carry some gels to match the LS mini with
our other lights taking away quite a bit of punch also the barn doors are very fragile, I managed to crack one of the flags almost instantly Still a good option for mobile filmmaking Next up is the “Tile Light”… it is always good to have a very small light in your kit it is amazingly bright for such a small
light so it can be used to fill and even as a key light if it has to. It is an
ideal light to put accents in the background as it is so small, that you can
easily hide it it’s the obvious choice to put in your car’s dashboard to light up your driver Overall, it’s a good light, but it is not single source like Blind Spot Gear claims when the light shines into the lens and when the lens flares individual LEDs can be seen of course it’s important to always carry enough of the fitting batteries for all your lights and never forget your Gaff… let’s
talk a bit about how we could use this kit in the real world with some examples this is part of my office space and I think we can all agree that there’s nothing cinematic about this room Our challenge will be to shoot something
cinematic looking using parts of the lighting kit we just assembled, first we
will bring down the light shining through the glass wall, that glass wall is
tricky as lights and reflections can easily reflect back into the cam
breaking the illusion of natural light A vintage project in the back will be our
practical to make the background somewhat interesting. We are just going
to need our key- and our fill light for this little experiment. We are going to
leave the Soonwell in the panel configuration with the softbox and the grid. On the road we could easily attach the LED to the wall, but as we have
the light stands available let’s use them for convenience. We are going to
place a large foldable diffusion in front of the already soft Soonwell for
extra nice wrapping of the light By the way, if you want to fold these back for transport, here is how you do it but back to softening our light. Instead
of another diffusion we use a foldable reflector that could also be used as a negative
fill if placed the other way around we’re going to use that to reflect the
fill back on me, we put both lights and the camera to 5500 Kelvin. Now, to add a
bit of cinematic poetry we are going to add an anamorphic adapter to soften up
the image. Super sharp images have the dreadful video look… it will also give us
some flares that will make J. J. come The matte box contains an additional diffusion filter, a ProMist with a quarter of density Our haze in a can will make the
light from the projector visible and give the room a moody look. We dial the
brightness and sharpness down with our grade We apply a Kodak film emulation
with a bit of grain to make it a bit dramatic, we add a prop gun… don’t worry it’s not real I think that worked quite well
considering the starting point of course, this lighting kit is not limited to
cinematic lighting you can use it for ordinary interview three-point lighting
if you wish so and of course you could use the lighting kit as your mobile
lighting kit for your YouTube channel the Soonwell is right here behind that
diffusion and that is the Aputure and here on the side is our Colorspike. Like
always you find all the links to the products the music and all the gear used
in this episode in the description of this video this is it for today and I hope you found this helpful Please let us know in the comments how you achieve good lighting on the go if you haven’t
subscribed please consider do so we are very very honored to have you hanging
around with us my name is Nikolas and I hope to see you soon here in the Media
Division until then… shoot something amazing bye


100 thoughts on “Cinematic lighting explained – Basics, tutorial and ultra mobile lighting kit MDEpicEpisodeS1E09

  1. Amazaing! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I just love the quality you go for in the details and every aspect of your video. Keep up the good work! I am impressed! 🙂

  2. I want to like this, and agree that lighting is a key ingedient. Then again, I don‘t find the lighting of your primary headshot too compelling. No catch light for your eyes, the dark and hollow look of your eye sockets. Really? Ok for a horror movie, but for me, it just does not feel right for what you are trying to say here.

  3. I knew this channel because of the video of Blade Runner's eyes, at present I enjoy to hear and see the aesthetics of each of your videos.

  4. A great video,can you tell the camera you used at last scene with that prop gun??

  5. Superb tutorial. Excellent kit recco's without breaking the budget. I watch VERY few 20m+ vids but this series is worth it. Thank you!

  6. Fantastically put together! And thank you for highlighting some excellent, well priced lights I wasn't aware of before. I think my kit needs an upgrade ⚡️

  7. Fantastic work sir. I wish all DP's would see this. I am a colorist for over 20 years and work on a lot of projects that miss this every time. Lighting is so important. It is how you paint your cinematic canvas.

  8. Ich finde wieder keine Worte für deine exzellente Arbeit ein Perfektionist penibel wie immer und ich verstehe einfach nicht wie fantastisch immer deine Videos aussehenich weiß da steckt eine ganze Menge Arbeit dahinter die du wahrscheinlich gar nicht hast trotz allem mega gut Punkt

  9. It's interesting to watch how lighting has evolved just for YouTube bloggers. It was all about 3-point lighting, then the ring lights to keep everyones face soft. I then started to see everyone using fairy lights or groups of other small old-fashioned bulbs – to have multiple spots of bokeh light. Today I'm seeing neon colored lights in the backgrounds – neon blue and purple most commonly with a regular white light on the subjects face.

  10. Great video. Since I come from the entainment industry myself i know well away lighting is key. That and music and editing. And editor can kill a good script fast. Thank you for the video. New subscriber here for sure

  11. I'm in a far away country, but it doesn't matter, I think I'm watching you and I'm taking an example.

  12. Coming from NoFilmSchool article. And your content for this lighting topic is top-notch. Instant subscribe!

  13. Jeez, there's so much information in this video, and it is all for free! Seriously, in 20 minutes you just demystified lighting for me (which was the part I most struggle with).
    Keep making these, they're awesome!

  14. I can't believe this guide is free, and I don't have patreon greedy payd wall, THIS IS EDUCATION. I thought that in the cinema they used a kind of black magic, but it seems that the big secret is to study and very hard. Thanks a lot Mr Nikolas I live in a third world country. This has really helped me a lot.

  15. "It will also give us flares that will make J.J. cum"
    I DID NOT see that one coming, choked on my coconut water.

  16. 21:43 "Flares that will make JJ cum" hahaha that's great! This is the kind of banter and knowledge I watch this channel for!

  17. First off, I absolutely love how you did the ad drop. Every bit as entertaining as the video proper. Bravo!

    As a stills photographer who's just getting into studio work, this video was exactly what I needed. I've been spending a lot of time just playing around with light, and this video brilliantly put things I kind of intuitively knew into a more concrete form. I'll definitely be coming back to this one for reference. And the kit you built is perfect for me; I like to travel light when shooting in the field and my studio space is small. I'll definitely be looking into those options. Thanks!

    Aside from typical speedlights used in photography, I love my QUDOS knog LED light. It's designed for use with a GoPro, so it's waterproof and I can mount it to a small tripod like a GorillaPod and place it or mount it anywhere. It's just the right size to use my speedlight gels too, and it's small enough to fit in my pocket so I can always have it handy. Battery life is a bit short and it gets hot if used on maximum power for extended periods and it's not super bright by cinema/photography lighting standards, but the fact that you can often put it close to your subject, or even hide it behind your subject, makes it super useful.

    Also…I swear, after watching every one of your videos, I want to branch out and try video production. You're killing me here….

  18. Oh c'mon! the MSRP for the anamorphic only is 79 000 U$ on B&H excluding all the rest 😉 nice setup and tips, thank you sir.

  19. This was great, very practical and enjoyed having the film references. Are there any updates since this tutorial? Also, I don't mean to sound cheap, I was wondering if there were any less expensive lights that seem to still have a great quality? As light is king, budget is queen. Looking forward to going through the rest of the videos! Thank you!

  20. I believe DSLRvideoshooter (Caleb) recently covered some RGB led bars that are much cheaper. Probably not as nice, but if you're on a budget (even more budget than this), it's probably a good option to look at.
    Very helpful, as I have 4 led panels with v-mount batteries in my kit, but it's a hassle to drag around (even though it's already much better than dragging around a bunch of tungsten lights in a coffin sized suitcase). A lighting kit that fits in a small case sounds like a dream.

  21. What about using the GODOX LED lighting instead if someone cannot afford these lighting kits???? They are cheaper and they are rated at CRI 95.

  22. LED lights do have huge advantages in terms of cost, low power requirements, portability and ease of use, however most LED produce poor color rendering. Im not sure if it is because of the color grading (in that case an artistic choice), or the LED's CRI, but your image compared to the movie samples shown, produces dead skin tone. It doesn't seem to be a matter of the color balance but rather seems to be the LED's poor Color Rendering Index (CRI). Please don't take this to mean I did not like the video. The whole video is well lighted, well written and finely edited. It is just what I see in most LED lighted scenes in mist Youtube Channel.

  23. This is the most helpful video I found to begin with cinematic lighting, thanks. Do you think you could have the same film look with a GH5 and Sigma lens than the mavo cinema camera and lenses?

  24. the quality of this video is next level.
    i honest expected to see around 7m subs.
    39k is damn good, but i cant help but feel like it is a tiny number considering my experience.

  25. Great video, I would just recommend not using tape, especially gaff tape to stick lights to objects. Its not only unsafe for the light and other people, its also a potential fire hazard depending on what lights you are using and where they are mounted. Gaff tape is also very effective which makes it a danger to things when being removed like walls with paint or wall paper. Invest in some cardellinis or even some mafer clamps. Or make your own mounts by welding a baby pin onto something.

  26. My god this is good. Even if I was not into video or lighting, I would have watched this for pure enjoyment. You brought my favorite movie, Blade Runner into it. Thank you for that.

    The ending was absolutely epic and the Nord VPN commercial in the middle was great! Absolutely amazing content. New sub.

  27. Most YouTube lighting tutorials that claim cinematic lighting, ad way tomuch fill light and make it looks like 90s TV shows.. Not you. Your light looks great, nice job!

  28. Great advice. Light / lighting is to the visual arts what flavor is to cooking; equipment just dictates control / workflow. Thanks for another fantastic video Nikolas.

  29. Thanks to the internet, thanks to you guys for this type of content and biggest thanks to my mom who forces me to take english classes as a child lol

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