If you could learn anything about lighting for narrative and documentary film, what would it be?
Earlier in the year, Blind Spot Gear unveiled the Scorpion Light, an insanely versatile minuscule LED fixture designed with professional filmmakers in mind. Since that time, Billy Campbell, Blind Spot's founder and friend of the site, has been hard at work bringing the Scorpion Light into existence and DPing films for a number of major clients. He's also working on a new educational resource for filmmakers - a series of free lighting tutorials in which the topics he teaches are crowdsourced from sites like ours.
Billy recently put together the first tutorial in this new series - the pilot episode, if you will - and it covers a basic documentary interview lighting setup.
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/113541332
Now that the first video in the series is out in the world, Billy is reaching out to the online filmmaking community to ask what they would like to learn next. Here's his open letter to readers of this site and others, as well as an overhead diagram of the simple lighting setup from the above tutorial:
Here at Blind Spot, we are in the process of developing a series of lighting tutorials to be released early next year. We shot a short pilot last week and were wanting some feedback from all you readers of film blogs. After all, it’s you we’re making these for.
What we’re really interested to find out is what techniques you would like to learn about. Is the demo the right kind of length, is it in-depth enough? We want to make this a free web series and we want it to be as useful as possible, which is why we’re reaching out with the pilot to get your feedback.
If you're interested in what we’re up to over here at Blind Spot Gear then come and check out our website www.blindspotgear.com We are manufacturing the most flexible lighting system in the world, of course the entire interview was lit using the Scorpion Lights.
Look forward to hearing what you all think
Billy Campbell, Director
Blind Spot Gear
While this series is certainly going to be promotional by nature in that it will extensively feature the Scorpion Light, it still presents an invaluable opportunity for the online cinematography community. Not only do we have the chance to grill a professional cinematographer about his lighting knowledge, but we get to tailor the remainder of this lighting series to the exact topics that we're interested in learning about, which is not an opportunity that comes along every day.
There are literally hundreds of potential topics that could be covered in these tutorials. There's the matter of situational lighting setups like the one above. That could be expanded to how to light for any number of scenarios - comedy, drama, noir, etc. Then there are technical and theory-based questions to be asked. How does color theory apply to lighting? Why do some LEDs flicker at higher frame rates and how do you avoid that dilemma when shooting HFR? What are the various factors that determine any given light's perceived sharpness or softness? What are some lesser known tips for light modification in different scenarios?
I, for one, would like to request an episode about motivating light within a scene. Is it important that light appear as if it's coming from a known natural or practical source? What are the best ways to accomplish that? Are there reasons to deviate away from the strategy of naturally motivating a light source?
What would you guys like to learn about in Blind Spot's upcoming lighting tutorial series? Leave your requests down in the comments!