November 3, 2015

Learn How to Use a Single Softbox to Light 10 Different Scenes

Indie filmmakers typically don't have deep pockets, which is why it's so important to know how to light your scenes with as few lights as possible.

This is for several reasons: lights are expensive, DPs are expensive, and many times you're not going to have a whole lot of time or space to work with either. That's why finding a lighting solution that is as effective, unobtrusive, and inexpensive as possible is key. Sekonic's Tony Corbell walks us through how to light 10 scenes using a single light source, a softbox -- either a $180 Bowens Lumiair 80-100 Softbox or a $912 Bowens Gemini 500Pro monolight. (Technically there are more if you consider bounce cards light sources.) Check it out below:

Even though this tutorial is geared toward photography there is plenty for filmmakers to learn from each lighting setup. It shows you how to light for different effects and situations -- silhouettes, beauty shots (good for close ups), and even how to use your light as a design element -- all of which are easily transferable from photography to filmmaking.

However, keep in mind that the bigger the space your scene calls for, the more lights you'll potentially need. Furthermore, if your subject is moving around a lot, your single softbox may not give you the look you're going for. Also, these shots were captured in a studio, which means that the light was highly controlled. So, if you want to try and apply these setups in your films, make sure that other light sources, like windows, streetlights, etc., don't contaminate your scene. Either use them or eliminate them. (Sorry -- I've been watching a lot of SVU today...)

You can check out PetaPixel for lighting diagrams of all the setups used in the video.      

Your Comment

7 Comments

Great setups and examples of how simple it is to get some phenomenal lighting. This kind of stuff is fantastic for interviews and documentary work. Even in narrative film making knowing how to get so much use out of one good light source is invaluable.

November 3, 2015 at 10:46PM, Edited November 3, 10:46PM

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Haha, I just strolled onto a photoshoot this morning with a single LiteGear litemat, this is bizarrely on the nose. Lighting for photos is similar but different from motion pictures, it's fun.

November 4, 2015 at 12:17AM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
692

This gave a whole bunch of new ideas for interview lighting. Thanks!

November 4, 2015 at 12:42AM

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Alexandra
Videographer / Documentary Filmmaker
364

Amazing.. I am used to do this a lot, so i dont carry so much gear.. But not with these level of perfection.. jejejjj

November 4, 2015 at 2:22AM, Edited November 4, 2:22AM

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Chema Mumford
Filmmaker, Documentary, Cinematographer
128

now again I want to record something quick !

November 4, 2015 at 1:17PM

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Carl Bertossi
DOP Online Editor Filmmaker Gimbal SteadiCam Operator
88

Great content, V. This guy does better with one softbox than I do with three.

November 4, 2015 at 4:03PM

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Fantastic

November 7, 2015 at 7:34AM, Edited November 7, 7:34AM

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Billy Campbell
Cinematographer
161

So this thing is all about lighting with 1 light.....but in some instances you can very clearly see he is using a second light source as a back edge....look at the wide at 19:12 or at her cheek and arm at 5:47.

Not saying this wasn't a helpful video but stick to your premise man.

December 20, 2016 at 2:52PM

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