Reflections on Raindance Cinematography Foundation Certificate

I’m tired and I kind of want to go to sleep but also at the same time my mind is racing trying to process all the awesome things I have learned this weekend at the Raindance Cinematography Foundation Course.  By the first break of yesterday morning I already felt like I was learning a ton and that continued throughout the weekend.  There is lots of information that I will take forwards, here are some of them…

  • The key aim of lighting (other than seeing the person in shot) should be to accent their edges and create light and shadow so that they appear three dimensional within the confines of a two dimensional screen. If there is no shadow to contrast with the light they will appear flat.
  • Never have the light source in the same place as your camera; again the person will look flat.
  • If you only have one light consider placing behind the subject; it will create an outline separating them from the background and you can use a reflector to make sure that there is at least some light on their face.
  • The classic Hollywood Lighting for an interview involves backlighting, keylight and fill.
  • A good set-up is the Rembrandt triangle. Light placement is used to create a light and dark side of the face.  The darker side should be angled towards the camera.  Within the dark side, light is used to form a triangle of light under the eye. It is created by having the keylight 45o to the side and 45o in the air.
  • Interest can be added by the addition of practicals (small light sources shown in the scene) or by using colour gels to change the colour of the background. The background can be separated from the front by having different temperature lights in different zones or by contrasting colours (based on opposites on the colour wheel).
  • The highlights in someone’s eyes are called catch lights. If you can’t see the light reflecting in a person’s eyes they will likely either look dead or evil.
  • The set can be a dangerous place. There are pointy things, heavy things and hot things.  For safety always use work gloves when working with lights, always sandbag stands, let people know when you are carrying pointy things or firing up lights.  Oh, and don’t panic when the light starts a fireworks display, just turn it off and unplug it from the outlet.
  • 5 tricks of the trade that can be used to make a film look more cinematographic:
    1. Backlight
    2. Put practicals in scene
    3. Letter box aspect ratio
    4. Slow motion
    5. Haze or smoke
  • Whilst learning lots of awesome information about cinematography it is important to remember that good lighting and camera technique will enhance your film but these elements alone will not be enough to make it successful. More important are story, sound and art direction. If you nail these and the cinematography it will be all kinds of awesome.

Now I have got all these things out of my head and ‘down on paper’ hopefully I can sleep well! Thank you to the awesome Dale Sood and Jeff Becker for their expert tuition and of course to Raindance


2 thoughts on “Reflections on Raindance Cinematography Foundation Certificate

  1. Great post, Clare. I imagine you can’t wait to put it into practice. I was sooo exited when I learned the 3-point lighting technique and so so scared when I had to put it into practice during a professional shoot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Samantha! I kind of put some of it into practice on Sunday; I only had 2 lights not three and there was lots of light coming through windows that I couldn’t do anything about. Still, I think my subject looked 3D and for the dancing scene I was filming I was pleased with my use of manfrotto Lumie lights as practicals 😊


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