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[SMAPP] – Deconstructing Lighting A Scene Tutorial

By May 8, 2012Lighting

SMAPP is in the final stretch of beta testing and we’re so close to finishing the last of our touch ups before its launch. we know you’re just as excited as we are for its release so sign up here if you want to be notified as soon as SMAPP is available on the app store!

a few weeks ago we released a tutorial on basic interview lighting and how you can quickly achieve the look you want with just a few lights and modifiers. once you’re comfortable with the basics we invite you to continue to push your story through light. you can say so much through your lighting so this week’s tutorial will take it up a notch…

as we deconstruct how we lit multiple scenes differently based on story, all of which was shot in the exact same location. we’ll take a look at how each scene was lit and why it was lit a certain way. armed with 5 lights and the same set of modifiers, you will see how and why using different modifiers and techniques can say change the way the viewer experiences the scene.

so the next time you walk into a room or staged set, start thinking about what you want your scene to say, how that ties into the story you’re trying to tell and how you plan on achieving that through lighting.


[vimeo video_id=”41756494″ width=”640″ height=”360″ title=”Yes” byline=”Yes” portrait=”Yes” autoplay=”No” loop=”No” color=”00adef”]

Ray Tsang

About Ray Tsang


  • Anesu says:

    Truly appreciate how you share what you’ve learnt! Just to let you know…your efforts are being appreciated all the way here in Zimbabwe, Africa!

  • Oliver P says:

    You guys always put out great content. Your tutorials always give me a bit of gear envy 🙂 Are you using the 800W HMI’s? Do they reach require their own ballast and are they hot-strikable? Thanks!

    • P. says:

      when i look back and watch the tutorials, they really remind me how much your tools can shape the story. sometimes we forget just how much variability there is in what we can say with the exact same set of tools. the 800 HMI has become a staple for a commercial or event shoot. with a softbox it can light an interview and balance light outside all with the ability to have super soft light OR it can bounce and provide a strong room fill. for commercial shoots, the power is almost a minimum in many cases or, perhaps better put, we can also make the piece better in having more power in the lighting and so many modifier options. these do each have their own ballast (the HMI, not the tungsten version) and they are not hot-strike able. it takes about 5 min generally to get it back on.


      • Oliver P says:

        The combo of size, power, & especially the array of modifier options available on the Profotos sure make it seem like a great fit for daylight balanced scenes (which seem to occur quite often on our commercial shoots!)  Sure beats throwing a CTB over their already weaker tungsten cousins.  Perhaps one day we’ll pick up a few for our arsenal too.. “one day” being the key phrase!  As always, thanks for the insight and information, Patrick (and team)!

  • Davemaze says:

    Great tutorial!! thanks!!

    btw…what was up with the audio on her voice!? sounded like a ton of noise on her.

  • Sam says:

    Absolutely fantastic tutorial. A great followup to the basic lighting one done a few weeks back.

    I started looking at prices for the Profoto equipment used, and it will absolutely demolish my budget as an event videographer starting out.

    So that’s my only suggestion, is to make a recommended suggestion for gear, but also make an alternate budget alternative that may not be as slick or as convenient, but can still give very good results for the beginner.

    I remember an old blog post where you suggest the Lowell Pro Lights. Is that still your budget selection for lighting interview and basic scenes like this?

    • raytsang says:

      thanks for the feedback!

       this tutorial is just as much about how to use your lights as it is about what lights are being used so if you’re on a budget, Lowell Pro Lights and Caselights are great solutions to start off with. they are also small and light enough to travel with if luggage weight is a concern. 

      you can also rent lights at a fraction of the purchase cost so knowing what gear is available to you as a filmmaker and how to maximize its use is still valuable.