1. To learn more visit our blog at lightsfilmschool.com/blog/

    Welcome to the Lights Film School video tutorial on lighting on the "upstage" side of the camera. As filmmakers you'll often be looking for ways to add depth and dimension to your images. One way to do this is to "light on the upstage side of the camera" - meaning the side away from the camera. This will mean that your shadows will fall towards the camera rather than away from the camera.

    Shot on Canon 5D Mark II
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    Flags are pieces of black duvetyne held together by metal frames. Flags are generally held up by c-stands in an effort to cut or shape light and provide "negative fill".

    It's important to mention that when using c-stands you should first position your flag exactly as you want it with the c-stand joints loose. Then when your flag is ready, tighten the c-stand joints in order to secure the precise position of the flag. This will not only help you precisely establish where your shadows will fall, but it will also save you a lot of time during your setup.

    Many independent filmmakers rather than using black fabric flags and c-stands, will instead use tripods, clamps and black foam core. A large piece of black foam core can be purchased from an art supply store for around $10-$15 and it will have essentially the same impact. In fact, virtually any opaque object can be used to flag light.

    Where to position your flag?

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    Welcome to the Lights Film School video tutorial on framing heights. In this video we'll discuss the importance of properly cropping your subject within a frame. Three common mistakes filmmakers often make when framing a subject are:

    1. They leave too much 'room" above the subject's head which creates "dead space"
    2. They fail to leave enough room above the subject's head "clipping" the top of their head with the top wall of the frame. While this may be advisable for some close-up shots, this is not advisable for medium or full shots.
    3. They "cut off" or "amputate" their subject at the joints of their limbs.

    Full shot

    Medium full shot

    Cowboy shot

    Medium close shot

    Close shot

    Wide close up

    Full close up

    Medium close up

    Extreme close up

    Macro close ups

    Shot on the Canon Canon 5D Mark II

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    What is Head-Room? -- Head-room is the space between the top of your subject's head and the top frame of the composition

    Lead room is the space where dramatic energy is directed. For close up shots, lead room will often be referred to as "nose room".

    Anticipatory framing establishes that the camera needs to anticipate the movement within a scene rather than react to it. If you're reacting to movement you'll generally end up with jerky, reactionary shots. You want to be able to predict the movement within a frame. This is even more difficult for documentary filmmakers who often don't have the privilege of marking or blocking out their scenes. For this reason it's important that filmmakers practice camera operation.

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