Controlling Strobe Lighting For A Cinematic & Dramatic Portrait | PRO EDU Tutorial from Chris Knight


(upbeat music) – So the methodology of lighting
is pretty simple, right, you put light where you want it, and you block light where you don’t. And so far, for the most part, we’ve talked about putting
light where you want it. And now, we’re going to
talk about controlling it a little bit more, and blocking
where you don’t want it. Now, we’re going to be look at a variety of different modifiers to get there. So, we’re going to talk about grids, we’re going to talk
about barn doors, snoots, grids on modifiers, and we’re
going to bring out the flags. And so those are just
different ways in which we can block light. So we’re going to start wit the grids, and grids come in a variety of different sizes and configurations, and, right here we have a five,
10 and a 20 degree grid. This is a 20 degree grid. It’s kind of like this honeycomb pattern, that fits on top of the light, and sometimes they’re big,
and sometimes they’re small. And it basically creates
these tiny little channels that help focus the light. What I like about grids is, they actually don’t change
the quality of light, they just make the spread more focused. And so, since we have a hard light, it’s still going to be a hard light, but you’re going to notice
how the spread changes. So we’re going to look
at it on the wall first, before we bring in our model, and we’re going to see how
those look at different degrees. Now you can also change the spread by alternating distance as well, so you’re going to use a combination of distance and grid degrees, to really tighten the
beam to get what you want. So we have the 20 degree grid, now here we have, for control, you can see that the beam is
pretty tight in the middle, I’m sorry, it’s pretty
bright in the middle, and then is spreads across the whole wall. And yet, when we put
this 20 degree grid on, that beam gets more focused. Cool thing about grids,
is the edge isn’t abrupt, it just becomes a way
to channel that light into a narrower beam. It’s not going to create
a spotlight effect, it’s just going to control the
light a little bit tighter. So this is a 20. This is a 10, and you’ll notice the honeycomb pattern in this particular instance, is, relatively similar, but the barrel, is a little bit longer. And then finally, we have the five, and the five has a pretty long barrel, but the grid pattern here, is pretty small and focused. And that creates a pretty
tight beam of light. I’m going to show you the
three of these, side by side. This is five, 10, 20, none. Another way, in which we can
focus the light is the snoot. And the snoot does kind
of a similar thing, creates a channel of light, but the difference between the snoot is, you’re going to notice a
more prominent hot spot in the middle, it actually kind of changes the quality of light a little bit, and it gives you a little
bit more of an abrupt edge. So you can see, it is
a little bit different, than the grids. Next we have, the barn doors, and the barn doors have a series of flaps, kind of on the edges, that allow you to shape
and control the light, creating either a narrow channel, or you’re able to control that light, to not be on the background, creating a small channel on the face, so forth and so on. And you can move this in a
variety of configurations. When it’s wide open, you’ll
notice no difference, there we go, no difference from the hot light. But as you can see, if we wanted to bring
some light off the floor, we could do that. You want to bring a light
a little bit off the top, or from the sides, even
create a more focused beam. You can create a totally narrow channel, and you can really fine tune
and manipulate this light to control it to be exactly what you want. Modifiers, like beauty
dishes, and soft boxes, also have grids, and
whenever you see a grid on a soft box, it’s usually
a little bit of a honeycomb, soft thing that Velcros
to the outside of it. I really like the grid on a beauty dish, which again, looks just
like a regular grid, just much bigger, because it allows you to
really focus the beam, and take a lot of spill and
light off the background. It just kind of fits
on the inside of this. And does this, and that’s
the grid on the beauty dish. So I’m going to show you with and without, how that changes. Here’s the beauty dish, we’ve already seen what that beauty dish looks like on the subject. A pretty wide spread. There we go. And that creates a much
narrower beam on the background. Finally, we have the flag. The flag is one of my
favorite modifiers of light, and it’s under utilized
by a lot of people. It’s very, very powerful. Basically, a flag is just metal frame, comes in a lot different sizes, wrapped in a very absorbent black fabric, that either can darken
shadows or absorb light. So, we use it as a way
to create negative fill, when it’s next to the face, you can also use it as way to block light from hitting the background, or create intentional light, sorry, create intentional shadows on the face. Now, the thing about barn doors, was the modification was really close to the light itself. So that makes it very soft, with the flag, you can take that flag, and move it pretty far off of the light, and you can create a much harder shadow. So the closer the modification
is to your subject, the harder it will be. So by taking the
modification off the light, we have a lot more control about what that shadow’s going to do. So we can either use it
as a way to block light from hitting part of the
image, like the background, or we can use it as a way to create intentional shadows on the face. And I’m going to show you a couple of different ways to do that. But basically, it blocks the light. Alright, now we’re going
to bring our subject in, and we’re going to
demonstrate all of these with an actual person so we
can kind of see a little bit, better how they are applied to a person. Okay. Great. You can put that right there. Perfect. Make sure we’re woken up. So, we are going to position this light, a little bit higher, we’re going to do more
of an angular light, so we can make it a little
bit more flattering. A little more dramatic on the face. Bring it down a little bit. Okay. Alright, let’s get a control. I’m going to get a little meter on here. Get a meter. Go ahead. Okay, so we’re 11. This is going to be a
control with no modifier. Great. Now, we’re going to start with, 20 degree grid, and we’re
going to lose a little bit of light on these grids as we go, so we’re going to make sure we re-meter, and we’re going to try our best to keep the light pointed at the face. Eight. So we already lost about a stop. Great. Okay. And then we’re going to swap that out, with the 10. Okay. About the same. And then one more, really tight on the face. Same. Alright, so let’s take a look at the four of images side by side. So, in the first image, we’ve got no modification whatsoever, it’s pretty open, pretty hard. Then we move into the 20
degree, then the 10 degree, then the five degree, and you can see, by the time we get to
the five degree image, the sweet spot of light is pretty small, you’ve got to be careful when you’re using that tight of a pocket of light. Sometimes the bottom of the, the face may not have enough light, and that can run into to
some problems for you, it changes the color of skin a little bit. So you really want to
be super aware of that. Alright, so let’s put the snoot on, and take a look at what that does. Just hold that up there for me please, Right there, perfect. And we’re going to do
a little meter on that. The snoot is a little bit brighter, we’re at f/10 now. Alright, and you can see in this image, it is actually noticeably
brighter on the face, we do have a definitive hot spot, in that kind of a modification. Alright, now we’re going
to put the barn doors on. Put that, this way, alright. So obviously, wide open, it’s going to look the same, let’s go ahead and get
a meter on this light, just so we can confirm, 11. It is going to be the same as wide open. But I’m actually going to move it a little bit to the side. So that I can block that background light a little bit more, and make it a little bit of a better use for the barn doors. Alright so, at the moment, completely wide open, right. And as we close these in, you’ll notice, you get a little bit more
shadow on the background, while basically our threshold is right about when it starts
to appear on her shoulder, that means it’s going to be right about where we want to cut it, and
you see right around then, it starts to get a little bit darker on this side of the face. And we’re going to bring this
in a little bit more as well, just to give a little bit of control. Get that extra spill off the background, and if we want to bring it up off, a little bit off the bottom, we can, and same with the top. So it’s basically going to
cut light from the background. And we lost a little bit
of light on the face, but it’s still pretty close. So we probably want to compensate that, and brighten that exposure
up just a tiny bit. Let’s double check that meter, just so that we can make
sure we’re in the right spot. Okay. So we lost about a stop. And there we go, that looks much better, when we compare the two. Okay. So the first one is wide open, the second one is, we’ve
created a little bit more a tight channel using the barn doors. And you can isolate how that
light looks pretty simply. Alright, let’s take that off. Alright, next we’re going to take a look at the beauty dish, and we’re going to move
it in a little closer, because the beauty dish really shines, when it’s pretty close. So we’re going to move
it in nice and close, nice and tight, give it a really soft, contrasting light, and then
we’re going bring in the grid, and show you how it’s going to isolate the subject from the
background in that way too, and the grid’s going to give us a little bit more control. – 13. – Okay. Alright. So with this beautiful light, super soft, super pretty, but it is definitely lighting
the background, alright. And there are different
ways we can manipulate this if we wanted, if
we wanted to bring her way off the background, we
can isolate it that way. But sometimes, you only have
a limited amount of space. So a grid, allows you to focus that light, and get a little bit more
that light off the background. – Seven. – And the core lighting on
the face doesn’t change, we have to compensate exposure, but it allows us more
control in a tighter space. That’s pretty cool. Alright, last thing we’re
going to take a look at is the flag, and the flag is unique to a lot of these other modifiers, because it works with whatever existing model of modifier you have. So whereas the barn doors is going to be a pretty hard light, the grids are going to
be a pretty hard light, the flag works with whatever you have. So we could technically
use the flag with the beauty dish or the grid, or we could use it with
hard light by itself, or you could use it with octobox, you could use it with the scrim. We’re going to make the light hard, only to make it easier for
you guys to see the shadow, but know that the flag can be used in a lot of different configurations, with a lot of other modifiers, and it plays really nicely. Okay. So, Let’s also keep in mind, this is a relatively small flag. Flags can be very large, they can block bigger
parts of the background, so you will see a much smaller shadow, because of this flag,
the size of this flag. But just know that sometimes, you may want to use a bigger flag. Alright, so we’re going
to get a control image. – 10 Okay. Alright, hard light. Alright, good. Now let’s say, we wanted
to block that light from hitting the background. We could bring in the flag. We bring it right up. Another really useful way to use the flag, is you pay close attention to
the shadow on the background. So I know, kind of about how close I want to bring it in, as soon as this shadow starts
to interact with her shadow. So I’m actually looking
a little bit at her, but I’m also looking at the
shadow on the background. And that’s hitting that shoulder, I can see it’s hitting the shoulder. If I’m here, it’s not, okay. And how you change the angle, is going to change how things look. There, alright, so I’m going to do that. Block the background light. Turn a little bit more to me please. Great. Okay, and here I’ve blocked the
light from the background. Okay, now, you can also use the flag to create shape and shadow from the front. So, if I happen to want to create a little bit of a defined shadow on the side of the face, I bring it in. And again, the closer it is, the light, the softer it’s going to be. The closer it is to your subject, the harder it’s going to be. So when you when you want to create these little pocket channels of light, this is how you do it. Alright, let’s get a little
bit of a meter on that face, I might have lost a little bit. There you go. – Four five, yeah. – Woo, lost a lot. Turn it to the light. Alright, four five. Let’s see. Okay, and we have this very soft, beautiful cut of light across the face. Now, if you want to
make that more defined, all you’ve got to do is bring
it closer to your subject, a little bit further away from the light. I’m going to bring it down a little bit. There we go. – Right here. – Can you bring it up a
little bit higher please. Now I’m paying close aware, because this is a smaller flag, but I want to make sure that shadow is covered, pretty consistently
across my background, I don’t want to see
any of the edges of it. – Is this good? – Can you lean forward just
a little bit for me, please, perfect. Good, and let’s get a test on that. – Nine. – Great. The other thing about this, is because we’re using a more abrupt edge, it’s getting a lot more light on the face, so we want to make sure we’re paying close attention to that. Now for me, I’m not going to use this in conjunction, or I’m sorry, I’m not going to use this by itself. I’m going to this in conjunction with controlling fill and a
variety of other instances. But that’s how you
create that cut of light across the face, and you’re going to see, me manipulate that similar effect, over the course of the
shoot production days. But we’re going to do it
in a few different ways, and we’re really going
to control the fill, and put a lot of the
techniques that we learned, in terms of lighting and
fill, and cutting the light, all together to create
some more beautifully crafted pockets of light. (upbeat music)

13 Replies to “Controlling Strobe Lighting For A Cinematic & Dramatic Portrait | PRO EDU Tutorial from Chris Knight”

  1. Is this Lindsay Adler you are using to run around to switch the modifiers??

    What this world is coming down to?

  2. How do you get Lindsay as an assistant?
    Grids more properly could be said to control spill.
    A flag will not change the exposure on the highlight, unless the shadow starts to overlap.
    Really nice to have the side by side. Makes it clear. Far too often I have to drag myself back to basics, to remember what I once knew, and simple is usually better. Simple is usually harder to do.

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