Long-time light manufacturer Dedolight has dipped its toes into video tutorials for those starting out in lighting.
Known for compact, high-output fixtures that many professionals are familiar with, Dedolight knows a thing or two about lighting. This informative (albeit corny) video by Dedo Weigart himself explains a few techniques for creating various eye lights for cinematic application.
3:23 — Basics of eye direction.
4:19 — Reflections in the eye. Here, Weigart takes a look at various reflections inside the eye and what each is expressing.
5:13 — Getting into lighting setups. The most common reflection is in the top of the iris, around 2:00. Weigart argues that the smaller and more point-sourced that reflection is, the more aggressive it reads.
6:25 — Vertical fluorescent eye reflections and LED ring-light.
7:00 — Larger sources result in smaller reflections in the eye because the eye is spherical. For large reflections, use smaller or closer lights.
7:30 — Adding a second reflection to the eye to create a "pensive" look.
8:01 — Creating a gentle, loving expression.
8:59 — The direction of the look.
10:50 — Adding colored light to the eyes for the "Dracula effect."
11:40 — The cat's eye look using two vertical sources.
11:55 — LED ring-light effects.
12:10 — Old-fashioned film noir effects (selecting lighting around the eye).
14:04 — Creating a sparkle in the eye by using a custom light source (not too small or large).
The video is no doubt partly designed to showcase the company's Eye Filter attachments when used with the Dedo fixtures, but it still has some useful information in terms of thinking about the emotional quality of the eye light you choose. Some of the formalist expressions Weigart explains here are valuable, but some—such as the subjective differences between an "amiable female eye light" and a "pensive light," for example—can be taken with a grain of salt.
In cinematography, every little thing matters; eye light is one more venue through which a filmmaker can communicate.