Let DP Julia Swain Show You How to Light a Table Scene

Learn how to light one of the most common shots from a professional DP.

Roundtable scenes are ubiquitous in filmmaking, so knowing how to light one is essential knowledge, and cinematographer Julia Swain walks you through how to to do it in this episode of Aputure's Four Minute Film School.

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_La4806GfA

Swain, who has worked on films such as Daily Bread, Hidden, and Flesh and Blood, demonstrates how to set up your key light, fills, and back lights. For the key, she uses a china ball to give nice, even illumination to the entire scene. She also skirts the sides of the ball in order to focus more light on the scene, rather than allowing it to spill onto the walls.

For her back light, she uses a large source, which she says she prefers instead of a smaller one, because it allows you to cut and shape the light as you need it—definitely a great tip for those who may not have access to a wide variety of lights, or who need to be more economical in terms of finances and space.

For fills, she advises to use bounce cards. One excellent tip she gives is to put a large bounce on the ceiling over your scene. This allows the light to fill the room evenly and you don't need any additional lights.

What are some tips you could give for lighting a table scene? Let us know in the comments below!     

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