Have you ever looked at a certain photograph or still frame of a movie and asked yourself how the heck did they do it in terms of lighting? Look no further, as Swiss-based lighting company Broncolor has released a series of lighting tutorials based on actual photographs, including lighting schematics and specific descriptions of how they did it.
Lighting Tutorials with Photographs
The section on their website called “Shoot this Photo” is full of photographs, and with them you’ll get a detailed lighting setup along with a description of that certain shot and the intended mood.
This might look a little off topic to the cinematographic world as these lighting tutorials make extensive use of (well, guess what?) Broncolor’s own photographic lighting tools. But think about it, a lot of cinematographers rely on creating certain moods with the help of photographs which they dig up in old photobooks as an inspiration or – nowadays – even Instagram. Have a look at acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s Instagram account for example. Lots of portraits there.
To me, this approach is really nice because it’s really WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Just search for your intended mood and learn how to achieve the according look.
Photography vs. Cinematography
A lot of the lights being used are strobes and other photographic lighting tools, but they can be easily translated to the cinematic world. Need a kicker? Just use a Dedolight instead of Broncolor’s own photoflash. Use a Chimera instead of a Beautydish, you get the idea.
Sure, you can’t translate photographic lighting schematics 1:1 to the cinematic world, but you can learn a ton from these lighting tutorials along with the finished result in terms of usage (or absence) of light. Direction, intensity and quality of light are a few of the characteristics you should know about if you want to master the art of lighting.
Learn How to Light
In the end, these lighting tutorials are a marketing tool for Broncolor and their products, sure. But I appreciate their approach of skipping the usual ads and banners to try and create something of value. Well done!
There is another website where you can search for and even upload your own photographs along with their lighting schematics. Check out www.strobox.com, but be aware that the community approach results in a slightly more confusing selection of photographs. On the other hand, you’ll find a vastly bigger selection.
Let us know if you find this helpful in the comments below!