November 5, 2016

How to Light a Scene Without Any Electricity

You don't need electricity to light your scenes in a cinematic way.

It takes a lot of energy to power a film shoot, especially if you've got a lot of big, heavy lights to place everywhere. However not all locations are going to give you the electricity that you need to run them. But don't throw in the towel just yet—there are plenty of alternatives to powering your lighting setup through the nearest outlet, and Simon Cade of DSLRguide is here to tell you what they are, as well as how to use them to make your images look cinematic.

Filmmakers shoot in places without electricity all the time, whether it be in some abandoned warehouse or at the top of a mountain. So, generators and battery-powered lights are common go-to's for those who don't have a socket to plug into.

However, the big take-away from Cade's video is the fact that you can still light a scene beautifully and cinematically without needing electricity, something perhaps someone new to filmmaking might unduly stress over. You can (and should) take advantage of light from the sun, as well as windows and other openings through which it spills. In this post we talked about how to harness its awesome power for lighting your scenes.

But what about at night? Well, if you can get your hands on a battery-powered LED, which are great when it comes to low energy consumption, then you can use everyday lights, like lanterns, flashlights, and other practicals to sneakily add a little illumination to your scene.

And then, you know, there's fire. (Be careful. That's all I'm gonna say about that.)

What are some other ways to light a scene without using electricity? Let us know in the comments below!     

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4 Comments

I recently traveled to Kulua Lumpur to shoot a music video in an abandoned mansion with nothing more than 100 tea lights from IKEA and 2 LED hand lights from a builders supply shop (covered in cellophane). Sony A7sii and 50mm 1.4 prime were essential but I use have to use practical lighting in any form on most gigs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOZxz2l8Kjw

November 6, 2016 at 1:17AM

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Daryl Irvine
Director/Creative Director
86

I recently shot a clip in Kuala Lumpur using nothing but 80 tea lights from IKEA. Practical lighting is the basis of 90% of my shoots but that should be viewed as a creative opportunity, not a limitation :) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOZxz2l8Kjw

November 6, 2016 at 1:53AM

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Daryl Irvine
Director/Creative Director
86

Great video man! The shot on the stairwell with the teacup lights is really impressive. With ISO advances in camera tech, it's getting easier and easier to pull off low-light shoots with practicals.

Earlier this year, I directed a music video using mostly practicals - a bunch of dangling blue glowing mason jars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYwULoLUiF0

November 7, 2016 at 12:21PM

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Shooting without electricity is always the problem for me, especially in the forest and beach. After watching the clip, all the tricks are great. Some tricks are the basic one but I didn't realize about that.

November 7, 2016 at 5:51AM

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