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6.1 . (previous page) The basics
of exposure: a source and a light
meter. {Photo by author.}
6.2. (above) The aperture at vari+
OUS flstops.
ci nematography
Energy from the Sun comes 10 the Earth in \ isible and invisible por-
ti ons of the electromagnetic spectrum. Iluman eyes are to
a small portion or thaI spectrum that includes the \isiblc from
the longest visible wavelengths of light (Red) to the shortt.:sl \\a\ c-
lengths (Blue).
Intensity of light is measured in foot-candles (in the United States)
or in lux (in most other countri es). A luot-eandle (fc) equals about
10.08 lux (or. for a rough convcrsion. ll1ultiply foot-candles by 10
to get lux). A foot-candle is thc light from a standard eandlc at a di,-
tance of one fool. One lux is the illumination produced by one stan-
dard candl e from a distance of I meter. When a film is e'posed for
1 second to a standard candle I meIer distance. it receives I lux-sec
of exposure. What's a swndard candle'! It"s like the standard horse
in horse-power. To provide some points of reference:
Sunlight on an average day range, rrom 32.000 to 100.000
lux (3.175 to 10.000 fc)
Typical TV stud ios arc lit at about 1.000 lux (99 rc)
A bright office ha> about 400 lu\ of illumination (-10 Ie )
Moonlight represel1l s about I lu\ ( a tenth of H fuot-candle)
The f/5top is covered in more detail in the chapter on Opric.\" . but
ror Ollr di scli ss ion here it is important to kno\\ hO\,\ it fils into the
exposure system. Fstop and lighting calculations apply equall) to
bot h f"i lrn and all forms of video as much of the information in
this chaptcr.
Most lenses have a means of controlling the amount of" light they
pass through 10 the film or video receptor; this is call ed the aperture.
The I' SlOp is the mathemati cal relationship of overall sile of the lens
to the size of the aperture.
Stop is a short term lur f/stop. A SlOP is a lInit of light measure-
ment. An increase in the amount of light by one SlOp thl.!fl.!
is twice as much light. A decrease of one stop means there is half
as much lighl. A lens with an flslOp of 1.0 would theoreti call y pass
all or the light reaching through to the focal plane. The I' SlOp is the
ratio or the focal length of a lens to the diameler of the el1lmnce
pupil as shown in Figure 6.2. This works out to each stop being
greatcr than the previous by the square root of 2.
F'stop is dcri \'ed from the si mpl e formula:
1' = F' D
r stop = focal length/diameter of kns opening
I r the brightest point in the scene has 128 tiJ11 t:s morc luminance
than the darkest poim (se\ en Ihel1 we SHY it a sc\'en stop
scene.! brightness ralio.
The units \\ c deal with in exposure arc:
F stops
ASA. ISO or EI (dinercnt names luI' the ,ame thing)
Foot-candles or lux
Output ofsourccs as alTected by distance
Reflectance of objects
It turns out that all of" these can be arranged in
Tiley all lollow the same basic mathematical pHllern. The data in
these tables was compiled by "Vade Ramsey. Remember thai r .... lOp
l1uJ1lbcr!o! arc fractions. the relationship of the aperture c..lial11t'ter III
Ihe focnl Ienglh orthc lens, For exampl e. 1' /8 reall y means 1/8: Ihe
diameter is I X Ihe foca l length, FI II is 111 1, whi ch is obviously a
!-l lllalicr fraction than I 8. Each lime we opclllhc apel1urc Olle whole
r slOp lie doubl e Ihe quanlit y of lighl reaching Ihe Aim: cach lime
we close it one we halve the light reaching the film.
The I' stop ,calc (Table 6, I) is li ered 10 show that the same relalion-
ship, Ihal appl y to whole I' numbers. such as f/8 and fil l , appl y 10
intcnals between them. So the difference between f/9 and f/ 13 is
one II hole SlOp. etc, Modern digital meters measure in 1I I0ths ofa
, lOp, This is helpful for eaiculali ons and compari sons, bUI for mOSI
prac lieal purposes. thi s level of accuracy is notnecessaty. One third
or a SlOP is the practi cal limit or precision. given the vagaries of
opti cs. lab chemistry and telecinc transfer. This is not to say that
accuraLe exposure is not important. onl y that the degree of precision
in the overa ll process has limits.
The rstop scale applies to Ihe inverse square law of illumination,
in illumination due to distance with small sources foll ov,1
Ihis scale (Table 6,2), For example. i I' the lamp is II feel from Ihe
subj ccl. 1110\ ing it to 8 feet will increase the subject illumination by
I stop,just as opening the lens diaphragm from fi ll to f/8 would do.
The inverse square 1m\' applies to point sources. stri ctl y speaking.
bUI spotlighls fo ll ow it \\'ell althe di slances usuall y utili zed,
Simi larly: a gi\cn output at a ccrtain di stance: say 1.000 l'c at 10 feel.
can be used 10 calculate Ihe outpul at other di stances by di, iding by
the distancc squared. Thi s is the inverse square law in appli cation
(Tabl e 6, I).
Figure 6.3 illustratl.!s the inverse square law graphicall y. A similar
principle is the cosi ne law ( Figure 6.4). As a surface is turned away
from the source. less of the surface is "visibl e" to the source and
therefore there is less c'<posure. Mathcmatieall y, the decrease ill
exposure is equal to the cosine orlhe angle of til e surface so this is
call ed the la\\-.
Since one-third 'ltop is the minimum exposure dirTercnce detectable
by Ihe unaided eye (I'or mOSI negati ve stocks), film sensi ti vi lY is
rated in no finer increment s than this. This scale is ti ered to make the
relat ionships between intervals more easil y seen. Just as ISO 200 is
I stop rasler Ihan ISO 100, so ISO 320 is I stop faster Ihan ISO 160.
(Table 6.3),
Although this is ob\ ious. memorizi ng thi s scale makes it easier to
sec Ihc difTerences bel ween odd interval s. such as ISO 80 10 ISO
32 (I- I 3 SlOpS,) The scaic may be expanded in eit her direcl ion by
adding or subtJ"acling digits (the intcf\ als below 6 arc 5. 4. 3. 2.5, 1.
1.6. j usl as Ihe inlervals below 64 are 50, 40. 32, 25.20, and 16.
DISTANCE IN Ft. 64' SO' 40' 32' 2S' 20' 16' 12' 10'
F/Stop 4 4.5 5 S,6 6 7 8 9 10
Light 2048x 1024x SI2x 2S6X 128X 64x 32X 16X
2 2.8
2,2 3.2
1.8 25
4 5.6 8 11
45 6 9 13
3,6 5 7 10
I \
" ,
6.3. (top) The inverse square law. This
is important not only to understand
ing expsoure measurement, but to
lighting as well.
6.4. (above) The cosine law: how the
angle of the subj ect affects its expo
sure level.
Table 6.1. (left) Lighting source dis-
tance and exposure.
Table 6.2. (belowl Ught level s and
exposure. "X" represents a given
amount of light - each step to the
left doubles the amount of light at
the subject.
8x 4X
16 22
18 25
14 20
2X x
6 12 25
8 16
10 20
t lOO + 200 400 800
125 -r-- 250 500 Tl000
80 16or--- 320 640 T 1250
__ 64
Table 6.3. ISO or ASA in one-third
stop increments. The same series
can be interpreted as percentage of
reflecti on or shutter speeds.
FOOl-candies: The ISO scalc can also be appli ed 10 fool-candi es.
Doubling Ihe fOOl -candi es doubles Ihe exposure. The Ihird-slOp int er-
\ als give the intermedi ate Ie values. For example. the di fTcrl: l1 cc
belween 32 fc and 160 fe is 2 113 SlOpS.
Percentage of RcReclion: The ISO scale from 100 on do\\ n rcl al es
to percentage of reflection. For exampl e. ISO 100 can represent
100%. pure whil e. Other reAcclanccs, stich as 64% and 20
u. can
Ihen be seen 10 be. respecli ve ly. 2/3 SlOp and 2- 1/3 SlOPS darker Ihan
pure while (Table 6.4).
Shuller speeds: Referring 10 Ihe ISO scale, il can be seen Ihal . for
example. 11320 sec. is 1-2/3 SlOpS fa sler Ihan 1/ 100 sec. This can bc
helpful when unusual combinati ons of shultcr angle and frame rate
produce odd encclive shull er speeds.
It is the energy in each photon ofl ight that causes a chemical change
10 Ihe pholOgraphic deleelors Ihal are coaled on Ihe film. The pro-
cess whereby electromagneti c energy causes chemical changes to
maHer is known as photochemistry.
All film is coalCd onlO a base: a Iransparelli plaslic malerial (cellu-
loi d) Ihal is 4 10 7 Iholl sandlhs of an inch (0.025mm) Ihick. OIli O Ihe
base. Ihe emulsion is adhered where Ihe pholOchemi slry happens.
There may be 20 or more individual layers coaled here Ihal arc col-
lect ively less than one- thousandth of an inch in thi ckness. of
the layers coated on the transparent film do not form images. They
are th ere to filler light. or to control the chemi cal reacti ons in the pro-
cessing steps. The imagi ng layers contain sub-micron si/cd grains
of si lver halide crystals that act as the photon detectors.
These cryslal s arc Ihe hear! of pholographic f-i 1m. These cry>!a b
undergo a photochemical rC<lcti on \vhen they are exposed to vari-
Oli S forms of electromagneti c radiat ion - light. In addition to vis-
ible li ght. the silver halide grains can be sensitized to infrared radia-
tion. A halide is a chemical compound ora halogen (any or a group
of five chemi cally relaled nonmelallic elemellis including flll orine.
chlorine. bromine. iodine. and astatine) witll a more
clement or group. in thi s case sil ver. Sil ver halide grains arc manu-
factured by combining silver nitrate and halide sall s (chl oride. bro-
mide. and iodide) in complex ways that result in a rangc of crystal
sizes. shapes. and compositions.
The unmodified grains are on ly sensitive to the bluc part of the
spectrul11, and thus are not VCI)' useful in camera fi lm. Spectral
sitizers are added to the of the grai ns to make til (.; m morc
sensiti ve to bille. green and red li ght. (Remember. "cre talking
Table 6.4. The relati onship of f!stops about black-and-white fi 1m here.) These molecules must attach to
and refl ectance. the grain surface and transfer the energy from a red. green. or blue
1-, 13 - 2/3
., _1 1/]
-1 2/]
_2 1fl
1_3 Ul
-4 1/]
25% 12% I 6%
20% 10%
16% 8%
photon to the ,ih er ha lide elystal a, a phot o electron. Other chemi -
cals arc added internally to the grain during it s gro\\ th proct!ss. or
0 11 the surfm:c of the grai n. These chemi cals affect the li ght sensi ti v-
i t) of the grain. abo knO\\ 11 as its speed that is. how to
l ight it
The speed or an emub ion is quantified by standards set b) the
ISO ( In ternational Standards Organi zation) or ASA (Ameri can Stan-
dards J\ssociC:lI ion) ra ting. ISO is the techni call y the correct designa-
ti on. but b) tradition. mas I peopl e still refer to it as ASA. The hi gher
the ASA. the lower the li ght I ev...: 1 the film is capabl e of res p Oll ding
to. For color 11 1m. l i st the sensiti vi ty of film as EI or
b posure Inde\. When you make film faster. the trade olT is that the
increased light sensi tivity comes from the li se of larger sil ver halide
grai ns. These larger grains can rt::s uh in a blotchy or "grainy" appear-
ance to the pict ure. Phot ographic film lllanufacl1Irers arc constantl y
ma king impro\ement s that result in films with less grain. For
Kodak, a major adva nce was the int roducti on or "T' gra ins in the
70s. These tabular grai ns arc roughl y tri angul ar which all owed them
to be packeol.:loser together. thus reduci ng apparent grain.
When the shutl cr is open, light aOecb the chemi stry of the cmulsion
and a latent image is formed. When " photon of li ght is absorbed by
the spectral sensit izl.! r sitt ing on the surface of a sil\cr halide grain.
the of an electron is raised int o the conducti on band fro111 the
\<l lence bam!. whcre it can be transferred to the conducti on band of
the sil\ er halide grai n electroni c struclUre.
This atom orsi l\cr unstablc. I-Iowc\cr ifcnough photoel ectrons
arc present at the same time in the crystal latti cc. they may com-
bine with enough pos iti ve holes to fo rm a stable lat ent image sit e.
A latent image site must cont ai n a minimum of 2 to -l si l\ cr atoms
per grain to rcmain !'I table. A sil\cr halide grain contains billi ons
ofsil\cr hali de molecule::.. and it only takes 2 to -l atolll :, of un com-
bi ll ed\ er to form thc lat cnt image In color film, thi s process
happens separately for exposure to the red. green. and blue layers or
the emub ion. The reason fo r thi s b si mple there is no way to sen-
si tile a grai n to "color: ' YOli can onl y sensiti ze it to a specifi c band
of the spect rum. The image that i::. fa nned is call ed "laten' " because
it remai ns ilwis ible until chemicall y dc\cloped.
Any photon that reaches the fi lm. but docs not form a latent image.
is lost information. Most color fi lms general ly take 10 to 60 pho- 6.5. Black-and-white negative.
tOilS pl.! r grai n to produce a dcvelopable latent image. Thi s is call ed
the "i nertia point" for the fi lm. 8c10\\ the inert ia poi nt. no image is
rccOl-oed at al l. Vi deo rccl.! pt ors arc sili con based and of course dif-
fe rent in operation. but the basic theory is quite simil ar.
In order fo r thc latell t image to become \ i!'lible. it mu:-. t be ampli-
fied and stabili 7cd. in order to make a negativc or a posi th c ( Figure
6.5). In black-and-\\ hit e lilm. the sil ver halide grains have to be sen-
si liLed to all \\a\elcm!lhs or visi ble li ght so the sil\er hulide I! ra ill s
arc coated in just or two layers. As a result. the development
process is e<Jskr lO understand.
The fi lm is pl aced in developing chemi stry that is actuall y
a reducill!! al!cnl. If the j-j lm wcre le n in thc solut ion long
enough. the reduc ing agent would cOI1\'e11 all the silver ions
into :-.ihe- f metal resulting in a uniform gray fog \\ ilh 11 0
discernible image. Those grains that hmc latent image sites
wi ll tb clop more rapi dly. I I' the film is left ill the de\'clop-
ing chemi stry for the proper amount of"timc. only grains \\ ilh
latent image in formati on will become pure siher. Thc lInc\-
posed grains remain as sil ver halidc crystals.
The development process Illll SI be "stopped" at right
1110ment. This is by rinsi ng the fi lm with \-\,atcL or by
using a "stop" bath that brings the development process 10 a
After development, somc of the altered halide and all of the
unaltered si lver halide remains ill the emulsion. It must be
removed or the negative will darken and deteriorat e O\'cr
timc. The removal of this undeveloped material is accom-
plished with fixing agents, usually sodium thiosulfate (hypo)
6.6. Color negative with its distinct- or ammonium th iosulfate. The process is called fixing. The
inve orange mask. tri ck is to fix j ust enough and not too mllch. as excessive con-
tact with fixers can begin to remove some of the desirable
si lver material.
Finall y. the film is wasl, ed \vi th water to remove all the pro-
cessi ng chemi ca ls. Then it is dried. The washing must
ex tremely thorough.
When all the steps arc finished. the film has a negative image or
the original scene. Other types of chemistry can rcsult in a positive
image. but thi s is not commonl y used in motion picture applications.
It is a negati ve in the sense that it is darkest (has the I, ighest density
of opaque sil ver at0111s) in the area that received the mostlighl expo-
sure. In placcs that received no light. the negative is clear.
Color ncgati ve is basically three layers of black-and-white film. onc
on LOp or the other (Fi gures 6.6 and 6.7). The difTerenee is that caeh
layer is treated with a different spectral sensitizer so tha t it is recep-
tive to a different band of the spectrum. These translate to roughly
red. bluc and green.
\Vith color fi lm, the dcvelopment step lIses reducing chemi-
cals. and the exposed si lver halide grains develop to pure
si lver. Oxi di zed developer is produced in this reaction. and
the oxi di zed developer reacts v.,rith chcmicals call ed couplers
in each orthe image fonning layers. This reaction CHuses the
coupl ers to form a cotor. and th is color varies depending 011
how the si lver halide grains were spectrall y sensiti7cd. A dif-
ferent color forming coupler is used in the red. green and
blue sensi ti ve layers. Thc latcnt image in the different layer::,
for ms a dinerent colored dye when the film is developed.
The developmcnt process is stopped eit her by washing. or
with a stop bath.
The unexposed silver hali de grains are removcd usi ng a fixing
The sil ver that was deve loped in the fi rst step is rell1O\ 'ed b)
bleaching chemi ca ls. (Note: it is possible LO ski p thi s step or
reduce it so that somc of the sil vcr remains in the ncgati\c.
Thi s is the basis of "'skip bleach" or ENR processing. \\hich
is discllsscd elsewhere.)
The negative image is then washed to remo\c as much of the
chemica ls and rcaction products as possible. The film slrips
arc then dried.
Unlike a black-and-white' negative. a color Il cgati\e no
sih er \vi th the except ion or SIJec ial processes known as "bleach
bypass:' These are covered in the chapter on Image COJ1lrol.
The end result is a color negati ve in the sense that the more red
the more cyan dye lonned. Cyan a mix of blue and
green (or \\ hite red). The grccn scnsiti\"c image laycrs con-
tain magenta dye. and the blue :-.ensili u: image layers contain ye ll O\\
The colors formed in the color ncgati\ c mm an..' based on the :-;ub-
tracti ve (alar rorm:Jti on system. The subtracti ve system uses one
color (cyan. magcl1lu or yellow) to control each primary color. Thc
addilin..' color :-.ystclll uscs a combination or red. green and blue to
produce a COIOf. Video is based on 3n additive system. The overall
or::lI1gc hue i!\ the result of masking dyes that help to correct imper-
fec ti ons in the color reproducti on process.
In a pholograph. Ihe colors arc layered on lOP of each olher. so a
subtractive color reproduction system is used. In subtracti ve color.
each primary is afTected b) its opposi tl..' on the color wheel.
Red sensi ti ve layers form a cyan colored dye.
Green sensiti\ c layers form a magenta colored dye.
Blue layers fo rm a yello\' colorc:d dyc.
There arc two steps in thc making or a negati\ c. as represented by
the thin sli ce from the negati ve sho\\ n in Figure 0.7.
Ex posure. The lIseful propert y ofsilvcr halide is that it s state
is altered \\ hen subj ected to li ght . in direct proponi on to
amount of light encrgy absorbed. Thi s change is not \ is-
ibl e. and if film is examined be rare and aftcr cxposure, littl e
change can be seen.
Development. Silver hal ide \\ hi ch has been altered by eon-
Wet \\ ith li ght can be reduced to pure sil ver if placed in con-
laet v.ith specifi c chemical s referred to as developing agents.
The activity of" tlt e developer and time of" development \\ill
determine hO\\ much of the sensiti 7ed halidl' will be con
\ crted.
To understand film we must look at its curvc. This. clas:-,i-
cal approach to densitometry (the scientifi c analysis of exposure)
\\a, devised by lIurter and Drillield in 1890 and so is called lit e
II&D curvc or SOllll'til11cS the J) log E curve. It pl ots the alllount of
exposure "E" in logarithmi c units along the hori zontal ax is and the
amount ordcnsi ty change in the negativc "D" along thc verti cal axis.
This is sometimes , hortencd to Log E cune (Figure 6.8).
In theory. it makes sense that \\e \\Quld \\a nt the film 10 change in
densit) in exact proporti on to change in the amount of li ght reflected
by different parts of the scene. After all \\e arc trying to make an
image \\ hich accura tely ponrays the real scene. right?
Let's look at a theoreticallinear"' film (Figure 6.9). For every addi-
li oJ1nl unit of exposure. the densi ty of the negati ve changes exactly
0111: unit. That is. there i:-. an cxact correspondence between the
amount or light in the !'Irene and the change in the dcnsi t) or the

___ Blue-sensitive layer (yellow dye)

Yellow filter
Green-sensitive layer (magenta dye)
Red-sensitive layer (cyan dye)
_________ Subcoat (adhesive)
---------.. B.s.
Anti -halation backing
6.7.The layers of color negative fi lm.
6.8. The Hurter and Driffield D Log E
curve for negative densit y.
6.9. A theoretical "ideal" film - one
that exactly reporduces the
sure changes of the subject in a one-
with negative density.
StralQht hne
Qlllear) portior1

Base .. log
negative. Sounds perfect. doesn' t it? Thc slope of the line for till S
Aim would be 45 dcgrees exactl y.
The slope of thi s line is a measure of the eontrastin"ss of the film.
In a film where large changes in exposure onl y change the negative
densit y a lilli e (low eOlllrast reproducti on) the slope is very shal-
low. Where a film is very cOlllrasty. the slope is very high; in other
words small changes ill the amount of li ght cali se the fil m density
to change drasti call y. The extreme is something call ed "li tho" film
whi ch is lI sed in the printing industry. Everything to litho film is
either black or white - therc arc no shades of gray. In other words
if thc li ght is above a certain level. the image is compl etely white. If
it is below a certain level, it is compl etely bl ack. Thi s is as contrasty
as a film can get. The slope for litho fi lm would be a ven ica l li nc.
No film acts in the perfectl y linear manner of thi s first example
(i.e., the changes in the film exactl y correspond to thc change in the
amount of li ght). In thi s di agram, we see a film whi ch onl y changes
112 unit 01' densit y I'or each additi onal unit or li ght. Thi s is a "10\\-
contrast"" fi lm.
Figure 6. I 0 shows the eli fTerence between a high- contrast emul-
sion and a low-cont rast onc. In the hi gh-contrast example. for each
1Ns PIIrt 0 1 1/19 sceoo IS
too dark to I.>e ruooroad on I"m.
The problem with a perfectly linear film
nus pari 01 II>e sctIr.e '5
too bnght to be
be feoo<cIed on 111 m.
TOlal Drogn1ne5S lange 111e I,nal
r>!InI Of v>doo IS l:aPilbl/t 01
A contrasty fIlm
A low contrast fIlm
additional unit or exposure. it changes 2 unit s of negative densi ty.
Looking at the brightness range of the exposure aga inst the bright-
ness range of the negative density. \\le see that it will show more
cont rast ill the than actually exists in the scene. The
of this line b call ed the gamma of the film: it is a measlIre of its
conlrast illess.
Contrast refers to the separation of lightness and darkness (called
"lOnes") in a Aim or print and is broadly represent ed by the slope of
the characteristic curve. Adjectives slIch as flat or soft and cOlltrasty
or hard are often used to describe contrast. In general. the steeper the
slope of the characteristic curve. the higher the cont rast. The terms
gamma and average gradient refer to numericalmcans for indicating
the contrast of the photographic image.
Gamma is measured in several difTcrent ways as defined by scien-
tific organi zations or manufacturers. They are all basically a way
of calculat ing the slope of the strai ght-line portion of the curve by
morc or less ignoring the shoulder and the lac port ions of the curve.
Gamma is the slope of the straight -line ponion of the character istic
or the tangent of the angle (a) f0l111ed by the straight line with
the hori zontal. The tangem of the angle (a) is obtained by dividing
the dcn:-,ity increase by the log exposure change. G3mma does not
describe contrast characteristi cs of thc toe or the shoulder. on ly the
straight line portion.
But there another wrinkle. In the lowest ra nge of exposure, as
well as in the highest range. the emulsion 's response cha nges. In the
lowest range. the film nOI respond at all as it "sees" the first
few units of light. There is no change in photochemistry at all until
it reaches the inertia point \\ here the amount of li ght fi rst begins
10 create a photochemical change in film or an electrical change
on a \ ideo tube. A fter reaching the incrtial point. then il begins 10
:,., Iuggir;;hly: ncgathe density changes onl y sli ghtl y for each
additional unit of light. Thi s region is the .. toe" of the curve. In this
arCH, Ihe changes in light va lue arc compressed (Figure 6.11.)
At the upper end of tho.! film' s senSil i\ ilY range is the shoulder'"
lIere abo. the reproduction is compressed. The emu lsion is becom-
ing o\crloaded: it's response to each additional unit of light is less
and less. The end result is that film docs not record cha nges in li ght
in the scene in a linear and proportional way. Both the shad-
o\\'s and thc highlights arc somewhat crushed logether. Thi s is, in
fact. \\ hLlt gives film the "film look' thai video has never been able
to achieve (Hi gh Oef comes a lot doser than pre\ iOlls systems but
still trouble wit h the highlights). It is a way of compressing very
contrasty scenes so that they "fit" onto the Aim.
6.10. Differences between a high
contrast and a low contrast film.
6.11 . Gray scale compression in the
toe and shoulder.
Equal increments 01 exposure
Let' s think abollt the log E axis (horizontal) for a moment. It is not
j ust an abstract scale of exposure units. Remember that it represents
the var ioll s luminances of the scene. All scenes arc different. and
thus all scenes have different luminance ratios. What we are reall y
plolting on the hori zontal ax is is the range of luminances in tile
scene, rrom the darkest to the li ghtest.
In 1890. the German physiologi st E. II. Weber discovered that
changes in any physical sensation (sound. brightness. pain. heat)
become less noti ceabl e as the stimulus increases. The change in
level or stimulus that will produce a noti ceable difference is propor-
ti onal to the overall level: irthree units or li ght creat e" perception
ofbrightncss that isjust J101i ccably brighter than two unit s. then the
smallest perceptible increase from 20 units of light will require 30
unit s. To produce a scale of steps whi ch appear to be lIllifonn. it is
necessary to multipl y each step by a constant I',ctol'. In lact. the per-
ception of brightness is loga rithmi c.
What is a log'
Logarithms arc a simple way of expressi ng large changes in any
numbering system. I f. for exampl e. we waJ1l ed to make a chart of
something which increases by multipl yi ng by 10: I. 10. 100. 1000.
10.000. 100.000. we "ery quickl y reach numbers so large as to be
unwieldy. It would be extremely dillicult to make a graph which
could handl e both cnds or the range.
In log base 10, the Illos t COlll1110n system, the log of a number rep-
resents the number of times I must be multipli ed by IOta produce
the number. 1 must be multiplied by 10 once to make 10, so the log
of lOi s I. To arri ve at 100. you multipl y I by 10 twice. so the log or
100 is 2. The log of a nUlllber is the exponent or 10: I 0' ~ 100. the
log or 100 is 2. la' is 10.000. so the log or 10,000 is -l (Table 6.5).
This means that we can chart very large changes in quantity with
a fairly small range or numbers. Logs are lI sed throughout lighting.
photography and video.
Qur perception of bri ghtness is logarithmic and wc shall st.!t.! that tlli s
has far rangi ng consequences in all aspects of lighting for film and
vidco. If wc chart the human perception of brightness in stcps thm
appear sl1100th to the eye we can foll ow its logarithmi c nanJre. It is
appa rent that each step lip in a seemingly even scale of gray tones is.
in terms of it s measured refl ectance. spaced logarithmicall y. A<::. we
shall see later. thi s chart is in fact fundamental to the entire process
or lighting and image reproduction (Tablc 6.6).
Rcmcmber that these arc not fixed values (the darkest point on the
log E is not a cenain !lumber or candl es-per-sq-foot for exam-
ple), because \\e open or close the apenurc orthe camera 10 adjust
ho\\ much liL!.ht renches the lilm nnd we use faster or slower film and
so 011. Whnt'-rcally coullt S is Ihe 1'0/;0 between the darkest and li ght-
c:-,t. and thaL is wha t wc arc pl ouing on the log E uxis. This is call ed
the brightness range ortlle fill11, sometimes abbreviated as BR. Each
unit on the log E axis represent:.. one SlOp more light.
The \\ ord conlra!o!L di ITereIH meani ng::.. depending on \\ hether you
lHlking about the orlhe subject we are photographing or
the negati\c that \\e wi ll use to make the print. In general. COlllmSI
refers to thc relati\e diflcrel1ce dark and light areas of the
subject or negative. Subject contrast refers to the di flcrence between
the amounts or light being rclkcted by the darker. or "shado\\,"
orthe and the lighter. or "highlight." areas (for example
a dark door as opposed to a \\hite \\all ).
Negal i\c contrast refer:, to the relat di fTerence between the morc
tran::,parent area:, of the ncgativc and those that an .... more opaque.
The ncgativc is described in tenns of density. These densities can be
measured \\ ith an instrument called a densitomeLer, which
hO\\ much lighL passes through the negati ve and how much is held
back. The contrnst of photographic subjects can vary i.I great deal
from one picture to another. On clear. sunny days the contrast of an
exterior scene can be gn .... at. while on cloudy days it can be rclati\el)
10\\ in conlrast. The contrast ofa given scene depends on ho\\ light
or dark the objects in tht: picture are \\ hen compared to each other
and 110\,.. mllch light is falling on them. Let's get back to Ollr theoreti-
cnll) "idear- film. This film would change the densi ty or the nega-
ti\c cxactly one unit for each onc unit orchangc in the brightness or
the :-,ubjccl.
The iJbo\ 'e diagram :-.ho\\ s thc problem with thi s. No n..:production
mcdium 110\\ knO\\ n is capabl c of reproducing anything ncar the
brightness rang!;;! exhibited in 111 0st real world sit uati ons. Nearly all
Him cmul sion!'> arc non-linear. This linearit y nlils for two
It take:, a cennin amount of li ght energy to initiate the acti\a-
Lion of the photoscnsiti\ c c1emcnts in the emu lsion (the iner-
tia point). Thus the density ri ses gradually at first in thi s area
c[tlled the toc, finally accelerating int(! the straight line por-
tion of the curve' .
\Vith increasing cxpo:-,urc to light. more sih er halidc is con-
\crted. until it has no more sensit i\e material to actinlte.
AI Ihat point. increasing the exposure docs not increase the
ultimate density or the developed negat i\ c. This 'sat uration"
occur:, graduall y and produccs what is known as a shoulder.
The lOe 01' the film is a result or the fact tllat film reacts slowly
to small amounls of light. II is onl y when greater amounts or li ght
reach the cmulsion that the change becomes linear. This is the
straight line portion or the film. The film base itself always has
some howc\er slight. On top of this there is always a sli ght
amount of fog due to light :'caltering in the eamera_ the lens, the
cmulsion chemical fog in tl;-c processi ng. The cllmulati ve
em!ct or all of these is called base plus fog. Density measurements
arc described as x dcnsity above base plus fog. (For more on
mcasurement of density, see the section on neLitral density filters in
the chapter Fillers.)
This toe and shoulder bch:nior actunlly resu lt s in a compression of
Number Log
1 0.0
2 0.3
4 0.6
8 0.9
10 1.0
16 1.2
32 1.5
64 1.8
100 2.0
Perception % Reflectance
White 100
Middteqray I 7.5%
Black 3.5%
Table 6.5. (top) Some values for log
base' O.
Table 6.6. (above) Refl ect ance and
gray scale values.
6.12. Compression of the rea l world
brightness values so t hat t hey fi t
onto the fil m. This is what makes
it possible to make usable images
even from scenes with hig h contrast
ranges. The same pri nciple appli es
to VIdeo, whet her analog or digital. A
great deal of the progress of VIdeo as
a more acceptable imagi ng medium
has been improvement s in its abi lity
to compress the image bri ght ness in
a way t hat gets closer to what fil m
can usefully manage.
the aCLUul scene. II' the contrast gradi ent or the Aim is correct and
exposure is correct. Ihi s compress ion behavior will a ll ow the rull
brightness range o f the scene to be represent ed on the fi nal print. III
effect. it is the failure o f film emu lsion and video recept ors to accu-
rately represent the real world that all ows us to producc photographs
and video that nre usabl e. Each 111m cmul sion reacts to li ght in a spe-
cial way. Some react more quickl y to low li ght than others creating n
rather abrupt ini tia l ri se in densit y or "short toe:' Others renct morc
graduall y to increases in li ght and have what is call ed a "long toe,"
Films with simil ar sensiti vities and ranges can have quit e ditlcrclll
response curves requiring diss imi lar exposure and development.
Another impot1ant factor is the range of subj ect luminance that can
be usefull y recorded (Figure 6. 12). Low contrast 11 1ms can cOlllinlle
to build density over a long luminance range. whereas cOlltrasty
I1 lms saturat e rather qui ckl y and tend to "bl ock" at either end. Thi s
is how we can match the type of Aim lI sed to the Iype of sccne bei ng
phOl ographcd. Cinematographer David Watk in used a low contrast
111m stock ror the movie 0111 Of Africa, where he dealt with many
very contrasty situations in the harsh African SUIl . The result s \vere
out standing. Both Fuji and Kodak now make emul sions that are
more moderate in contrast than normal film stocks.
Determini ng the preci se fi lm speed. coupl cd \\<ith precise exposure.
is criti cal when the range or li ght in the scene is grealer than the
scale orthe film. In Fi gure 6. 13. we sec three exposures of the same
scene represented by the bars at the bott om of the diagram. Not
enough exposure places much orthe inrormati on compl etely olrtho
low end orthe curve. \vhil e too mLlch exposure places il offl he high
end in either case. once you are off the curve. fu rther in
c'Xposure regi ster no change in the negati ve; the film doesn't "sec"
them. The ideal exposure pl aces all of the informati on where it
makes some change all the negati ve.
I r there is 100 mllch exposure, 1\"/0 things happen. First, even thL'
<.hlrkest pa ri s of the scene are in the middl e range of the cur\'e: even
the darkesl shadows will reproduce as middle gray tones. Graph i-
call y, overexposure appears as a shift of the subject bri ghtness range
(log E) to thL' ri ght. ( In eflcct we arc making the scene \'a lue:-.
"bri ght er" by opening up the aperture.) Here wc sec that this overex-
posure places the scene va lues too I11l1ch in the shoulder. Some infor-
ma tion is lost in the nat part orthe shoulder: lost because the differ-

Total bright ness
range the II
print or Vld
IS capable
CO,,", UI>O''''.
No' enough Upo.",.
of scene brightnl.!ss valucs result in no change in the densi ty
of lhc negati ve.
Further. because c\ eryl hing is shifted to the ri ght none of the scene
,aluo, rail in the toc ort he curve: there \\ ill be no decp bl ack ,alue,
at all in the final prinl. c\-cn though they ex isted ill the origi nal
U11dcro, posure is , hOW11 as a shift of the log E values to the left.
lI erc every subtle nuance of til e hi gh toncs will be recorded because
they lilll in the st raight li nc porti on of the curve. But atthc dark end
or Ihe scale trouble. The dark va lues of the scene arc l11 ushed
together in the toe. There is litt k diffe rent iation or the medium gray
\ nlues. the da rk gray val ues and the bl ack shado\\s: in the fi nal print
they \\ il l all be a black hole. There wi ll be no detail in the shadows.
"Correct" e:\posurc. then. is t!sscnli nll y the apert ure sett ing that \\ ill
best suit th e scene brightncss range (the hori zontal axis: log E) to
thl.! characteristic cunc of the imagi ng medium. What is needed is to
slip th!.! scene comfort ably in between the toe and the shoul -
der. J\ typical sccnc \\ ith a se\el1 stop range of light \ al ues fi ts nicely
on the cune if \\c plnce the exposurc exact ly in the middlc. It is
important to remember. ho\\c\cr. that correct exposure is a purely
tec hnical thing: there an: occasions \\ here you will \\ant to dev iate
from ideal fo r pictori al or techni cal reasons 6. 14
and 6. 15). Tht: of the ga mma (the angle of th e straig ht
lino portion or the ri lm) to tho lac and the shOldclcr is what deter-
mines a 111m's ' Iatitude." It can be viewed as t\\ 0 characteristi cs: the
elll uision\ roOI11 for error in exposure or the abil ity or the 111 m to
acccpt a certain brightness rangc.
Thc problem cxacerbated ir\\(' consider a !-ocene \\ hic h has morc
than sc\cn stops of brightness (se\en stops isj ust an Cl\erage. it all
dt:pcmb on the pa rt icul ar fi lm stock). Il ere there is no aperture set-
ting \\ !lich will place all of the va lues on the lI scrul part orthe curvc.
If \\ C expose fo r the shado\\ s (open up the aperture): we get good
rendition of the dark gray areas. but the li ght values arc hopeless ly
air the sealc. If we "espose ror hi ghlight s" (by closing down to "
sl11 aller f SlOp) \\e record alilho ,ariations of the li ghtl oncs. butlhe
dark ,alues arc pushed complet ely a ir the bOll om edge.
Il o\\' do \\c deal \\ itll thi s situation? Later we will discuss
some rather abstruse solut ions to the problem (fl aShing. Vari con.
Pnnafl as hcr. etc.) but there is one soluti on whi ch is reall y what we
arc all about: we change the brightncss range of the scene so that it
6.13. Changing exposure shifts the
image up and down the curve; too
much exposure pushes it off the
shoulder and too little crushes it into
the toe.
6.14 Deliberate overexposure of the
main subject adds menace and mys
tery in tlils shot from The Lost Boys
(Warner Bros .. 1987). photographed
by Michael Chapman.
\\ ill fit the (lin e urthe !ilm. in other \\ords \\l! alter the illuJl11111.1t1on
or the scene. This is dOIli: b) lighllllg or b) modil}ing Ihl' e\lstlng
lighting. This thell. is olle of the Illost essential Jobs of lighting. and
grip \\ ork: to render the ... cene III a scale ofbrightlless value ... that can
be aceomlllodated b) the optic ... and cl11ubion ofa film camera or b)
the optil:s and dectronic ... of\ idi:o. It's \\ h) \\e get the big buck.... It
also is critical in the choice of location .... camera <.11li!ks <lnd time of
to shoot. -
\louern IlIllls haH! consistently imprmeu III lallluti(' e\L'1l a ... thc)
ha\e 1lll:I"I.:ased in speed and rcdul:ed gralll. The I1C\\ high 'pel.'d
clllub.ions in particular arc am,lIing 111 their abilit) to record ... uotle-
tic ... cycn in heavily o\l!rl!\posed highlights and in \ cry dark ... had-
0\\ ..... J\lthough there has been some improyellleni. the abilil) to
handle brii!htness ratio ... I ... still one of the 1110st crucial dilll.'n:nce,
het\\ een film and \ idi:o. I.\poslirc meters gencrally pJ"O\idl! data
tht.: as ... llllljJlion that \\ hate\ cr you an.:: mt.:asuring should ultlmatel)
print as "middle gray:' lkfineu in the Zone System as Zont.: \
So \\ I! hm I! t\\ 0 basic uhk ...
To manipulatl! tht.: brightlh.!s .... ratio of the "'Cl..":l1e ... o that It
hI! propl!rJ) n.::produced on film ur \ ideo.
To set the apl!rture .... o that the ... cene \ allies fall on thl! appro
pn<lte part of thl! cunl!.
In practicl! the .... 1! olten tum OLit to be t\\O sides or the saml! COIl1
The lir .... t task is essential Iv Ihe \\ork of li!!htinu and Iluhtlll!.! control.
the .... econtl task ill\ohf .. < Ille:huring the ...... and a IUul.!-
Illl!l1t about the best "'I!ttlng for thl! '"- . ...
hgure 6.1() sho\\s hO\\ film .... peed IS determllled by the manu-
I:lcturl!r. Stricti) spl!akil1g. this method applies only 10 black-und-
\\ hile film. The speed of color lilm is determined by testing and
is i:\prcss('d as ei ther FI (I'\posure Indc\) or ISO number (1Illerna-
lional Slandard, Organinlllon) Illr black-and-\\hiIC flll11 and a, I I
([-\po ... un: Inde\) 1'01' color film. J\lthough the) arc not 11\ c0l11l11on1)
llsl!d as thev OI1C(' \\ere. YOU \\ ill still hear referellce to "lIuhtlllu
ratio." The iighting ratio thl! relationship orthe key li ghllO ,he hI!
lichl. If\\e cunsider the a\Cnl!!1..": !llCI!. it is the dill"crencc bct\\cen
II;e IIghtl.":r side and the darkl!r ":--idt.:.
The 1\\ 0 1110st ... ic too!.... of thl! cameraman's trad(' arc the IllCllil!nt
I1ll!ter and Ihe spot met(T. There IS a thll'd t) pe of metl!r. thc \\ Ilk
angle relkclance meier (\\ hat stili \\ould call
a "Iight I11l!tl!r"). hut it has limited lISC in film.
rllc Incident meter mcasures i Ilul1l illation onl \. In other \\ ords.
thl! amount ofl ight nliling on the ... celll!. To aCCOml)lish this purposl!.
1110st incident meters lise a hemispherical while plastic dome \\ hich
CO\('f:-. the actual cell.
rhe dill'u'-ling. dome accolllplishc.:s sc\eraJ pUI1"loses. It difTuscs and
hCIKT a'crage ..... the light \\ hich IS falling on it. h also 3ppnJ\lmatt::s
the gCOI11CII) oj'a t),picalthrce-dllllcnsional subject. Unshich.kd. the
dome \\ ill read all ofthl' fronl lights and c"ell some oflhe side-back
hack light thai might hI.! lallTng on the subject. Left 10 ilsclL the
hcmi'lphcrc \\ ould pro\idc a reasonable u\ eragc or all tht:: :-.ourccs
tillling on the subject. In practice. many people liSC their hand 10
..,hidJ the bal.:k light ol1'll1c rcadlllg and usc a combination of hand
shll.:lding and turning the meier to read the backlight and sometimes
the key. fill. SIlk lights and back I ights separately (Figure 6.17).
('he cbssica\ practice. 110\\C\l.:r. is (0 point the hemisphere t1in.x:ll)
at the lens and dilllinatc onlv the backll1!.hh. then takc a rcadllH!
c\i.ll:ll) at the \ub.lcct positi0J1. Reading k;y. 1111 and backlight sep;-
ralci\' is in lilet ol1h a \\<-1\ ofdch:rminil1!! the ratios Hlllllookllll!. for
out t;r balam;e SOUI:CCS. Tile actual which \\ ill the
aperture selling is the averaging one. Later we \\ill look al applica-
tions \\ hich go beyond the simple claSSical approaL:h and arc useful
in dcalill!! \\ ilh unusual situations. \10s\ meters \,hieh arc LISCO \\ ith
the dome also come \\ ilh a nat dilTuslIlg plate \\ 11Iell ha ... a
o 1 .. ty O. WI rog
Base .. log
6.15. Lee Garmes regularly lit Mar
lene Dietrich one stop hotter than
everyone else, as in this scene from
Shanghai Express (Paramount Publix
Corp., t 932).
6.16. How speed (ASA or ISO) s
determined in black-and-white film.
11 7
6,17. A reflectance meter with dome
receptor, This one also runctions as
a flash meter, wide-angle reflectance
meter and has a mini-receptor ror
macro work.
much smaller acceptance angle {about...J.5 to S5} and a
response rather than an u\'craging Olle, This means that the angle of
the light falling on the plate has an etfect on the reading. just it
does in illuminating a subjecl.
The flat plate makes taking readings for indi\'idual lights simpler
and is also useful for measuring illuminntion on nat surfaces. such
as in art copy work, animation plates. etc. Incidellt meters are g\!l1cr-
ally abo supplied "ilh a leJ1li cular glass plale "hich eOll\erllhelll
to wide acceptance relkctance meters. These see little usc on mo:..t
sets as they ha\e \cry \\ide acceptance angles and it is dilTicuit to
exclude extmneous sources rrom the reading.
For the most part, incident afC set for the film speed and
shulter speed bcing used (either electronicall y or by w'Iing slide-in
plates) and then read out directl y in r numbers. Sume meters ha\ e
an alternate mode whi ch reads fOOl-candies directl y; the lIser is thcn
able to calcu latc exposure separatel y. This is useful if there is 110
slide lor Ihe exposure inde\ (EI) being used.
Rcflcelal1l:e meters read the actual luminance of the subJcrl. \\ hirh
is itself an integration of t\\ u Iflt.:turs: the light le\cI ralllJll.! on
seellL: and the of thl! subj ect. 6.1 X).
On Ihe tllCC or il. Ihi s lIould seem 10 be Ihe mosllouicalmelhlld or
rc:ading the scene. but there is a catch. Simply put. meter \\ ill
tcllu!'l how much light a subject is reflecting but this Icmcs olle \ CI)
big ul1ans\\ered question: ho\\ much light do you \\all! It to rel1eel')
I Jl othcr \\ ords: incident meters pro\ ide absolut c rcadouts (I' stops)
\\ hile :-.pot meters pro"idt.: rcl ati\c readouts \\ hich require intcrpreta-
tion. \Vhile most wcre fonne rl ) cali brated in \,.'\posure
\ ailic (EV) unit s. somc of the nc\\ electron ic spot mcters prU\ ide
direct readout in but it \\ould probably be beller if thl.!)-
didn't as they arc a sourcc of Illuch confusion.
Think or it thi s \\'ay: you arc llsing slleh a meter and photograph-
ing a \cry fair ski nned girl holding a bo\ of delergelll in li'om ora
sl1 lbl.! l. You read the girl's fact.:: f 5.6, the bo\ reads f -L the SK\. IS
r So \\ here an.! 1\ot 0111 ) do \\ e not kllU\\ \\ here to set'thc
aperture. we don't e\-en knO\\ if the situati on is good or bad. Ll!t's
step back a Illoment and think nboul what it is that light meters arc
telling liS. To do \\ e ha\ e to lIlH.krstand the cycle of tOIlC rcpro-
duction and lay do\\n a basic system of thinking aboll tlt .
\.ve must reml: mber that the c\po .... urc \ alues of J scene an: not repn:-
.... e\lted by one :.. impk number: mast scenes conta in 11 \\ J(.k rang\,.' or
light \alues and n:ncctances. In e\al unting e"poslIn: \\c must look
at a subjcct in terms of it:-. light and dark \alli es: the subjcct range
or For purposes of simpli cit)- we \\ ill ignore Its color
\a lu('s for thl! moment and analY/e thl! subject in terms of its mono-
chromatic \alues.
Let's \ isuali zc a continuoll s scale or gra) from completel:
black to compl etely white (Figun: 6.20). Each point on the gra:
scak represents a CCJ1ain \ alue \\ hich is equi\aJcnt to a tonal
\alll\! in the scene. In e\eryday language \\"C hmc on ly \aguc adjec-
\\ ith \\ hich to describe the toncs: "dark gray:' "mcdium
"blinding \\ hitc" and so on. We need morc precise descriptions.
Us ing Ansel Adan"s class ic terminology \\e \\ ill call the most C0111-
pJelCly black seelion Zone () and each lOne" hi ch is one r SlOp
light er is one 70ne "highcr." For cxample, a subject area \\hich
renec ts three stops more li ght thal1 thc darkc:-.t arca in the SC(,I1(,
\\ould hI.! Zonl.! 1\. It crucial to remember that th..:sl..:!
an: all lone 0 Ilot pn:c.ktcrlllincd numhcr of foot-
II i"i the arca III this scene.
Still photographers might bc acclistomed 10 thinking of tl.!l1 lones
III all. but If Ihl.!lT is a contrast ran!,!c in the scenc. there mi!.!ht
\\ell be 101ll>. \11. XIII or morl.!. (Zone ':-YS1CIl1 purists \\ ill no
10 "illch an c\.lrellle 'Iimplificution of the method. but it is suffi-
cicnt for thc prc:-,clll since fc\\ do their
0\\11 darkroom \\ork). \\hal \\e arc is subject brightness
\\ Ilich can \ ar) in tWD \\ays: its inherent n:ftct:lance
and the amount of light that nllb on it. Rcllectance Is a proper!) of
the material lise! r. Black \ I.!l\et reflects about 21) 0 of thc Ii gh! that
nilis on 11.:\ \ cr) Shill) C<tll rdlect lip 10 981)0 orthe.: light that
r"ll, on it. 1"11i, i, a brighlno" ralio (flR) or I AX.
thl' is the n:l1eclallCC ratio if thc same amount of light
",II, 011 bOlh ohjoe". III roalil). dilleronl allloun" oflrghl 1,,11 Oil dif-
tcreIH in the frame.: (indeed. \\c make Ollr li\illg making 6.18 The reflectance or spot meter
... lIre do). In naturallighl ,illialiom. the reflectance ratio call be
a:-. l1lllch as 3200: I. Picture the most c\.(rCllle c\.3mplc pos ... ib1e: a
piece of c.\ln:ll1cly \'l!I\e.:t in deep ,hmiLm in the same
... celle \\ ith a mirror reflecting thl.! SUIl.
The brightness range 01" a t) pit:al outdoor ,ubJect about 1000: I.
I'hls is 15 Hnd hl.!re\ the rub: imaging syst":Jlh cannot rcpro-
dw.:c rang!.: of brightne.:ss, ju ... t as the humun l') l' cannot
<.Hxol11l1lodatc such a runge.:. Re.:call that thl.!' human C) e re.:ach in t\\ n
dilTcrent \\ays. First. Ihl' iri, (the aperture orlhe eye) expands or con-
tract:-- to :.lIlm\ 1110n.: or less light 10 Se.:cond. the ..,hin ... 11\
IInaging rrol11lhe 10 the rod!). Thi ... is like s\\ itching to a higher
spced film. (It I ... ab.o. in e ... S\\ itching 10 hlack-and-\\ Illte film:
,ce the chapter Oil Color Theon )
I \amine a t) pical SCI.!IlC \\ nh tht' spot Illctl.!r ",ce Figun: 6.21. I r
\ ou assil!1l the darkest \ aluc to ZOlle 0 YOU call the.:n find \\ hich
I. J. t 5. 6. 7 and rerhaps slops brighler lhan the darkest
area" Thl .... e.: are ZOIll:..., I through IX. ThiS i..., all IInportanl e.:\creisc
and is \ ital to I.:\posurc COl1trol. Ignol"ll1g the d"fect of
cl)lor can be cumbersome. It t:UIl be hl.:lped by \ k\\ ing the
...,celll.' through a \it."'\\ ing glass. \\ hich a nClItral den,ity filter.
'0\\ pictun: ortht:se tonal \ arranged In ascending order
""hal )OU ha\c is a gra) "calt.:. and fortunately it i ... a comlllonl) :.1\ nil-
ahle.: ill.!l11. Most gray scalc..., arl.! made to re.:asonable ngortlus dcnsito-
metric standards and arc lIst."'J"ul calibration tools. Le.:'s wkc a look al
\\ hat it rcall) i .... (rigurl.!
6.19. The secret of a good silhouette
shot is to properly expose for the
background, as In this frame from
Nine Ti2 Weeks, ShOl by Peter Biziou.
6.20. Zones 0 through IX. a stepped
g r a ~ scale and a continuous gray
sca e. By convention zones are repre-
sented in Roman numerals.
Pure white
Very light gray
light gray
Lt. middle gray
Middle gray
Dark middle
Textured dark
Very dark gray
Nearly black
Zone Grayscale
There arc a great many gray but they all h3\"c one thi ng
in COl11l11on: they vary frolll black to white. Most arc divided into
six to ten steps but they certainl y don't have to be: many ure 20
or morc. How white the while is and hmv black the black is
varies some\\ hat depending on the printing quali ty and the materials
ill\olved. Some scales include a piece of bl ack vel vet sincc black
paper can ne\ cr be trul y black. For our purposes, we wi ll consider
onl y gray scales where each step represent s one fult 'stop" incre-
ment over the previoll s. Ihal is: where each step is ...)2 times the
reneclancc of the pre\ iou, one (Table 6.7).
WHY 18%7
Zone V i s the middle zone of a ten-zonc scalc and we would thcre-
fcre assume it to be 500;0 refl ectance. It isn't - it is 18% reflectance.
The reason for thi s is thai the eye perceives changes in tonc logarith-
Zone X
Zone IX
Zone VI II
Zone VII
Zone VI
Zone IV
Zone III
Zone II
Zone I
mically rather than arithmetically. as wc saw above. I f each zone Table 6. 7. Percentage of reflectance
were. for exampl e. 100 more reflecti ve than the previoll s. the eye for zones.
\\ ould not read it as a smooth spectrum.
Discussion of the zonc system is always in tcrms of grays, but any
color can be interpreted in tcrms of it s gray scale value. The impor-
HlI1Ce of value cannot be stressed too much. The value relationships
between colors carry about ninety percent of the informat ion in any
picturc. In a bIaek-and-\\ hit e photograph the gradicnts of li ght and
on forms contains the information about form. clearly defin-
ing all the objects. The black-and-wh i te photo al so contains the
information about the amount and dircction of li ght in the scene.
Color contri butes a small amount of information. but a great amount
of the beauty and intercst of the picture. -
In fact i t \\orks out as i n Table 6.7. Eacil step is greater than the
previous by a fa miliar number. no? The square root of 2 is
also thc dcrivation of the fl stop ser ies. What appears middIc gray
(Zone V) to the eye is actually 17- 112% reil eetance, which i s uni ver-
sal l y rounded off to 1 8'0. There's morc: it tUI'll S out that if you take
dozens of spot readings oftypieal scenes. 1110st wi ll turn out to have
an a\ erage reflectance of about 180/0. Simply put: 18% is the aver-
age rc-necLance of the normal world. Clearl y it is not the average
refl ectance in a coa l mine or in the Sahara at mid-day, but in the
most of the rest of the world il is a reasonable average. Thi s
gi\'cs us a solid ground on \\ hi ch to build. In facl. it i s the standard
on \\ hich incidcntl11eters arc built . As you recall. in the introduction
to inc idem meters we noted that most incident meters, when set for
fi lm speed and shull er speed, read out directly in t/ stops.
0 0.02 Dmax.
0.11 1 5t perceptible value lighter than black.
II 0.21 Very, very dark gray
III 0.34 Ful ly textured dark gray
IV 0.48 Dark middle gray
V 0.62 Middle gray - 18% reflectance
VI 0.76 Light middle gray
VII 0.97 Ful ly textured light gray
VIII 1.18 Very light gray
IX 1.33 First perceptible gray darker than pure white
X 1.44 Pure white
Table 6.8. Zones. negative density
and description.
6.21. Zones in a black-and-white 1-10\\ do Ihey do this"! 1-10\\ can the) 1..110\\ ,f\\e arc photographing
prinl. (Photo by author.) diamonds on a \\hitt.' ba<:kgwulld or a chilllllcy-...,\\cep ill the
mCIl!? They don't kllo\\. they just aSSllllle that \\c arc photographing
a scene ur;:ncragc reflectance:-- and the ditfusing dome i.l\erngcs the
light <Ind the 111('I\::r calculates the fstop needed to photograph the
for good based on these More sllllply;
ir \\c arc photographing a I..'ard thai is L'\uctl: lXon rclkctancc (a
photographic gray card) <lnt! \\c reud the light \\ ith an incidcIllIlH:tCr.
then sct the aperture to the :-,IOP the meter indicmc:-.. the print \\ ill 111
ItH;t come oul to be Zone V.
thi, c'(pcrimcnt. Sct a photographic gn.l) card ill C\ en, UIlI-
form light. Rl..:ad il \\ illl a spot 1111.:1t.:r and note thi.! f'stop me\l..'r
indicates, Then read the light \\ ilh an incident meter. The rcadin!.!s
... hould be c\actl) the lflhey 'rc not. ha\ c j"our
'10\\ U') n rl'\L'rsl' i.!xperimcllt. Rl.:aci a uniformly lit scenc \\ illl all
incidcnt meter and Iloticl: the indicated stop. Nm\ take the "'[1\)1
meter and read \arious paris of the scene until you find somcthing
that the spot mcler indicates as the same fSlop. You ha\t.: .iLl:--t [()lllld
a Zone V subjt.:ct brightncss.
NtH\ photograph the "cent:' \\ilh a black-and-\\hltc Polaroid or
\\ illl black-and-\\ hile Jilm. Compare the Zonc V subject \\ lIh thl.'
gray card: thc) should be roughl) thc same, Thi s i ... the ... unplc
\\ hieh unlock ... the \\ orld of e\posure control:
nn incident reading.
an ,1\ crage 1 go (J ["i.!lkctancc.
i.l SpOi meter reading ora gray card and
Zone \ '
nrc all the same thing looked at from diOcrcnt perspecti ve.
The result of this is that there arc many dincrcnt ways to read the
exposure ofa scene and arri, "c at the salll e result .
You can read it with an inci dent met er.
YOLI can place a gray card in the scene and read it wi th a spot
YOll can find something in the scene that i s '''Zone V" and read
it \\ ith the spot meter.
Let"s think about that last one. because it reall y points us in a
whole new direction. It depends on you making a certain judgment :
you ha\'e to look at a scene in the real world of color and deci de that
it is abollt Zone V or middle gray. (It takes some practi ce to do thi s.
but it is an incred ibl y important exercise: I urge you 10 do it often.)
\Vhat about the next logical step: what if there isn't anything in the
scene that is middle gray? What do \\le do then'? Let's remember that
each step on the gray scale is one SlOp diITerent from it s neighbor
(remember. th b is a si mplifi ed version of the zone system). So if
Zone V equals rt4 (given a particular Aim and shuner speed) then
Zone VI must be 115.6 and Zone IV must be m.8. right "
So if there is nothing in the scene that equals Zone V, but there is
something in the scene that equals Zone VI. we're still in business.
If we read it and it equals f5.6 then we know that Zone V would be
r -I . We also know that Zone V (r/4 in thi s example) is thc same as
an incident or average reading and is therefore the correct f/stop to
set on the lens.
So what is therc that \I e can eoulll onto be roughly Zone VI under
Illost conditi ons? Easy one: Caucasian skin. Average Caucas ian skin
is around Zone VI. it is in fact one of the few constant s we can count
011. Get alit your li ght met er and check it out. If yoll are C\-e!" stuck
wi thout an incident meter. or worse. even without a spot meter you
ca n lise the old "palm lri ck'" Use your spot meter or any
reRecting meter to read the palm or your hand. This equal s Zone VI.
Then open up one stop to get Zone V and you ha ve your reading.
There is a greater \ariuti on in non-caucasian skin and so there is no
one howeve r many DP's take Zone V as a starting point for
J lhink you can see where leads LI S. \Ve donlt have to conr-ine
to j ust reading things that equal Zone V and Zone VI: in
ract we can do it wi th any zone. It all depends on your judgment of
what gray tone a subject brightness should be. In real life. it takes
years of practice and mental di scipline to accurately determine sub-
ject in terms of gray scale va lues. but in the long rUIl it
is a lIseful sk ill. If you can pre-visuali7e \\hat gray-scale value you
want a parti cular subject to be in the final print. you then have the
power to "place" it where you want it in the exposure range. Thi s
turns out to be a powerful analytical and design tool.
What do \\ e mean b) placement?" \Ve just sa\\ it s simplest form.
We "placed" the skin-tone value of the hand on Zone VI. We can.
if we wanl. place any val ue in the scene. Say we have a gray back-
ground in the scene which the director want s to be "light gray." We
decide that by light gray. she means Zone VI I (two stops above
middle gray). We then read tile background wi th a spot meter and it
indi cates f 4. We then count dOI\ n two SlOpS and get 112. I f we set
the lens at ['2. that gray backgrollnd will photograph "light gray"
or ZOl1e VII.
Let's try the reverse as a thought experiment. Say \\ c had tht.:
same background under exactl y the samc lighting but
the director deci ded she wa nt ed it to be dark gray. "hich \\ e take to
mean Zone III. \Vc read it with the spot meter and of course noth1l1g
has changcd, the spot meter still indicales f/4, only nO\\ we \vant the
gray background to appear much darker, so we "placc" it 011 Zone
III . which we do by couilling "up" two SLOPS to get fiX, Common
sense tell s li S that if we photograph the same sccile at f8 instead
of f/2. it is going to comc out much darker in the final print : the
gray background "ill not be Zone III (dark gray) instead of Zono
VII (light gray).
Nothing has changed in the actual set: we have changed the value
of the final print by "placing" the va lue of thc background di ITer
clltl y, But what's the flaw in this ointment? There is more 111 the
scene than just a gray background, and whatever else is thl.!rc is
going to be photographing light er or darker at the same lime. This
bri ngs us to the second half ofthe process: rall."
If you place a certain value in a scene on a certain other
values in that scene are goi ng to fall on the gray scale accordlllg to
how much diITercnt they are in illumi nation and reflectance. For our
exampl e. let's assume we are usi ng a Pcntax Spotmcter \\ hi ch has
a zone dial attached to it. TIl e Penla;>.. reads in EVs. Typi cal \\ hite
skin lone is a Zone VI. You read an 3(.;tor's face and find that it reads
EV 10. Turn tho dial so that 10 aligns wit h Zone VI. Now read the
exposure indicated opposite Zone V: thi s is the exposure to the
lens aperture. adding adjustment s ror filter {',olOrs. etc.
Let' s try an cxample. We arc li ghting a SCI wit h a windO\\. \\c set a
10K to simulate sunlight streaming in through the wi ndo\\. \Ve then
read thc curtains and thc spot meter indicates r I I. We have decided
that we want the curtains to bc \ cry "hot" but 110t burned out. On
the film stock we are usi ng today, \\e kno\\ that whi te "burns out"
at about thrce stops hotter than Zone V. So we want to "place" the
curt ains on Zone VIII (three stops hotter than the average exposure).
By placing the curtains on Zonc VIII. we have determined the r stop
of the camera: it will be f/4. right '?
'We thelltake an incident reading in the room where the people \\ ill
bc standing. The incident reading is f2.8. This means that people
standing in that posi ti on \\ ill photograph one zone too dark. Maybe
for thi s scene that 's OK, but let's assume we want to actors to have
normal exposure \\ hi ch \\ ill result in 11 0rmal skin tone valucs. In
other words Zone VI "fall s" at 114 (one stop abovc the incident read-
ing, whi ch equals Zone V). Their skin tonc will cOllle out as Zone V
instead or Zone VI.
To correct the si tuation we have to change the balance. If\\cju"l
Opl.!l1 li p the \\e arc shifting the placement of the curtains and
they will bum out. We must change the rati o of the illumination. not
just shift the aperture of the camera. We ctl n either tone dO\\-1l the
10K hitting the vl indo\\' with a double scrim (reducing it one
or we can raisc the of the subject arca by the
li ght level there onc stop. Either way are manipul ating the subject
\al ues of the foreground to "fall" where wc want them, based on
our "placement" of the curtains on Zone VIII. We could hme just
as easi ly approached it from anot her directi on, of coursc. We could
"placc" the forcground values where we want them and then see
where the curtains It "s the samc thi ng. By reading the scene
in different ways you can "place" the valucs of the ncgati \-e \vhen:
you " ant thcm to 1,,11 .
Placcment is important in detcrmining subject brightness
and contrast ra ti os and in reading subject s which you ctln't gCllO ror
an incident reading. I n order to expose by placement YOll mllst pn:-
visualize which zone you want a subject va lue to reproduce as. For
Ansel Adams. the godfather of exposure, pre-visuali7atiol1 was what
it was all about. and remember. he dealt most ly with landscapes
\\ here he had no control over lighting. Since we usua ll y control the
lighting we can take pre-visual ization one step further.
Ultrm iolet light s present a special problem. Several companies
make ultrm iolet light sources. They include Wildfire and Noctul'll .
When combined with props or clothing painted \\ ith UV sensiti ve
fluorescent paints or dyes or \\ ith objects that naturally fluoresce
such as your old Jimi Hendrix poster. an incident reading is mean-
ingless. The only \ alid means of assessing exposure is a reflected
reading. A wide angle reflec tance meter will work if' you ha ve one,
or ha\ e an adapter for your incident meter. If that is not ava ilable,
a spot reading will work. Here. it is important to consider the Zone
va lues and use judgment and calculate the exposure accordingl y.
Nearly all film cameras have rotating reflex shutters. \\ hich control
exposure by altcmatcly rotating closed and open sections pa!:. t the
film plane: while the closed section is in from or the film gate. lhe
film moves. while the open section is in front or the gate. the film
is exposed (Figures 6.12 and 6.13). Some video cameras also ha ve
variable exposure times.
The exposure time or the camera is determined by t\\O factors: the
speed at which the shutter is operating and the size of' the sec-
ti on. The speed is determined by the rrame rate al which the camera
is operating. The U.S. standard is 24 frames per second for sync
sound filming and the European is 25 frames per :;ccolld
(based on the 50 cycles per second power supply). Thi s carries over
to High as well in 24P or 25P mode. The open secti on
of the rotating shutt er assclllbl) referred to the "shutter angle"
and is measured in ck grees. Sensibly. most shutters arc hal r opcn
and half closed, \\ hich makes the shutter angle I SO . Some shutt er,
are 165
and many arc adjustable (Table 6.11).
\Vith the camera operating at 1-1 Ij)S and a 180
shutter. the c"po-
sure time is I 48th of a second ( I 50th at European 25 Ips). Thi, is
commonl y rounded olT to 1/50th of a second and is considered the
standmd Illolion picture exposure time.
Li ght metcrs that u:-,e diOcrent rur \at-iolls ASAs (such as
the \enerable Spectra or Studio Sekonic). just assume a I 50th of
a second exposure. Exposun: time can then \ary in 1\"0 ways: by
changing the frame rate (which i:-, C01ll1110n) and by \"arying the
ter angle (which is kss COl11l11on). Exposure is det ermined by thi:-.
Shutter speed lor I HO shutt er
in second:..
2 \ fps
shut ter
360 x fr:1mes per :-.ccond
For morc on including detailed tabl es for c\posurc \\ ith
filt ers. macro. miniatures. shutter changes. shutter angle. ramping.
\arious film stocks. high and low speed shooling. special effects and
ot her data. sec Tht! Fi/1I1fJllI/ \ Pocket ReFerence.
Table 6.9. (top) Exposure changes
for high speed shooting.
Table 6.10. (above, right) Exposure
changes for low speed shooting.
Both this chart and table 6.9 appfy
equally to film and video.
6.22. (above middle) Butterfly rotat-
ing shutter from a reflex film
6.23. (above) Adjustable rotating
shutter. Shutter angle adjustment in
vi deo or High Def cameras is done
electroni calfy.
Table 6.11 .(right) Exposure changes
with various shutter angles. These
shutter angles are typical for various
makes of film cameras.
FPS 8 12 16 24 25 I 32 48 96 120 240
1/16 1/24 1/32 1150 1/50 11/60 1/100 11200 1/250 1/500
180 No chanqe 165 120
140 - 1/ 3 130 100
11 0 2/3 100 80
90 1 80 60
70 1 1/ 3 65 50
55 1 2/ 3 50 40
45 2 40 30
35 21/3 30
30 22/3 25
22 3 20
18 3 1/3 15
For a more detailed di scussion of exposure in regard to lighting with
scene lighting examples. see Moti on Pict ure (md Vic/eo Lighting.
both publi shed by Focal Press.
color theory
7.' . (previous page) Color theory
played a key role in the selection
of wardrode and props, graphic
impact and harmony In tlii5 shot
staged in front of a New York City
firehouse. (Photo by author.)
7.2. (right)The naturally occuring
color spectrum and respective
wavelengths in nanometers.
As we recall frolll the chapter 011 exposure. light composed
of photons. whi ch havc thc properties of both matter and light.
Even Newton recognized that individual photons don't have "color".
but they do have dinerent properties or energy which cau!)C thelll
to interact in different ways with physical matter. which. \\ hen
reflected is perceived by the eyelbraill combination as "color."
Every single photon of light ilHS a characteristic color \\ hich can
vary i f the observer is moving toward or away fromlhc light source.
Visible light is a small part 01" thc continuous spectrum of electro-
magneti c radiat ion most of which is not directly obscnablc. and was
unknown until the last ccntury. At the 10\\ frequcncy (long \\O\C-
length) end of the spectrum we find radio. television. micro\\3\ c.
and infra-red radiation. (Figure 7.2).
Then we encounter a tiny sli ce of the speclrum which we can sec
with our eyes: this extends from red to violet - the colors of the
rainbow. Thcy were originall y classified as Red. Orange. Yello\\.
Green. Bluc. Indigo and Violet. (R-O-Y-G-B-I-V). Abo'e ,iolet the
high frcquency arc ultra-violet. x-rays. and gamma ray' .
Indi go is no longcr recognizcd as a color of the spectrum so the
I is no longer used. Where formcrl y it could bc memoriLed a, Roy
G. Biv, Roy no long has a vowel in his last name and it is 110\\
Roy G. Bv. Visible light is only produced when an electron falls
into the second shell of an atom. Differcllt colors happen bccause
atoms have difTerent sizes, different nuclear charges. and influences
on each other when they arc close together. For our purposes. it is
conventi onal to consider \ isible light as a wave, as it cxhibits all
properties of a wave and follows the S:1I11C rules as all electromag-
netic waves.
\Vaves have four major properties:
Ampli tude
Amplitude is the height of thc wavc. (Figure 7.3). It >ho\\, the
energy of the evcnt thaI started the wave. In the prc\'iolls pond
example. if we had hoi sted a large boulder and (with the help of a
friend) launched it into the pond. \\ e would have seen much higher
waves come crashing toward us. For example. in audio. loud
have high amplitude.
Frequency is a measure of the number of". aves that a point 111
a given amount of time. It is usually measured in Il ert/ (li z>. One
hei'lz means one wave (peak to peak) passes every \Vhcn
\\c count waves. we have to divide the whole W3\ cform into pal1'-1.
The easiest v .. ay to do this is to go from one to another. Thi ....
bone \vcn-e. We can no\\ count the number of crests passing in a
second to find our frequcncy. Again. to lise an audio analogy. A !-ihort
frequency wave is a very high pitched sOllnd - like a dog \\ hbtlc.
A long frequency wave is a low pitched sound, like a bass note on a
guitar. Wavelength is just that: the length of tile wave. It is meihufcd
in units of distance. \\ hich can be anything from l11eter!-i to nanomc-
S60nm 590Iun 6301m
r ,--
tel's. 1\ nanometer is one or a meier. (A meter.
j ust for refercnce, is one milli onth of the di stance from the equi.1lor
to the North Pole.)
The percept ion or color is a compiex phenomenon whi ch il1\ oh es
the physic, or light. the nature of physical matt er, the phys iology
of the eye and it 's interacti on wi th the brain and even social and cul-
tural factors. We can break it down to fi ve aspects:
Abst ract relati onships: purely abstract manipulati on of color
for it's 0\\ n sake.
o Represent ati on: e.g .. a sky is blue. an apple is red.
Ma terial concerns: texture: chalky, shiny, refl ecti ve. dul l. etc.
Connotation and symboli sm: Associati ve meanings. memory,
cultural signili c3ll ce, mythi cal reference. The red, whit e and
blue of the fl ag.
o Emot ional express ion: the fiery red of passion. the cold blue of
night. etc.
MOM people can tell YOll that the three primaries arc red, green and
blue. but few can say \\'hy Ihese. of all colors arc the primari es. The
reason IS 111 our
The human retina is fi ll ed \\ ith two kinds of li ght rt!ceptors \\t'hieh
arc call cd rods and cones. (Fi gure 7.4). The rods arc primarily
responsibl e 1'01' the perception of li ght and dark: value or grayscale.
The cones primaril y perceive color. The rctina has 3 kinds of cones.
The response of each type of cone as a functi on of the \\ ave lengt h
of the incident light is shown bel ow. The peaks for each curve are
nt 4-10nl11 (bluc). 545nl11 (grecn) and 580nl11 (rcd). Note that the last
t\\O ac tually peak in the ycll o\\ part of the spectrum.
There are many theories to explain the phenomenon of color \is ion.
The most eas il y understood the three-component theory whieh
of li ght clemcnt s (concs) each
recepti ve to one or the primary colors of li ght - an extrcmc spec-
trum red. (Figure 7.5), an c'.:trclllc spectrum violet and an imaginary
green. There arc about seven milli on cone in cach eyc. They arc
located primari ly in the cent ra l poni an of the retina call ed the fovea.
and arc highl y sensiti \ c to color. People can resolve fi ne detai ls \\ ith
these cOl1e!\ largely because each one is connected to it s own nerve
cnd. Muscles controlling the cye always rotate the eyeball until the
imagc of the object of our int erest fall s on the fovea. Cone vision is
kno\\ 11 a!\ photopic or dayti me \' i!-. ion.
Other light recept ors. cal led rods. arc also present in the eye but
they are 110t invoh ed in color " ision. Rods sen e to gi\e a general.
overall picture of the fi eld of vie\\ , and arc recepti ve onl y to the
1 second
Frequency (hz)
7.3. Components of a wave.
color theory

RN,n ..
fa""') .'1

P ...
Ii fi


,1 \Ii
1< Jr II I'
;... .,.
7.4. (topl Physiology of the eye.
7.5. (above) Rods and cones in the
7.6. Spectral response of the human
quantity of li ght \\ a\ t!s ent ering the C) c. Sc\'eral an,::
to a si ngle nerve end; thus they cannot resoh c fine ,kLail. arc
SCll sit i\c 10 low Ic\cls of i llullli mtli oll and enable the cve to sec at
night or under \.!xtrcll1dy 10\\ light ing objects
whi ch appear brightl y colored in daylight \\ hen by the color-
sCnSili\c cones appear onl y as colorless ronns by moonli ght
on ly the rods arc sti mulat ed. This knO\\ n as \ j"illll .
As the adjaccl1l spectral it y CUlyeS sho\\ . the eye i .... nuL
equnll y c to all \\ avclcngth. In dim light parti cularl :. there
is a definite shift in the apparent brightness ordilTcrL'nt This
\\as di sco\cred by Johannes \on Purki njc. While <.I[l\\n
one day. \ on Purkinje obscned that blue fl O\\ crs appeared brighter
than red. \"hik in full daylight the r(:d fl o\\cr!-> \\cr(: brighter than
the blue. Thi s is now ca ll ed the Purkinj(: effect Clnd is particularl y
importi.lnt in photometry the mcasuremcnt of light. The Purkinjc
clTcct fools thc brain itllo pcrcei\ ing moonligllt as !-> Iightl y blueish.
even though as reflected sunlight. it is the same color as daylight.
Thi :-; is the rca..,on it is a COI1\ cnt ion to light night scenes blue.
Color is light. bUI the color ofobjccb is a combi nation of the color
of the li ght and the nature of the mat erial it is on and being
reflected by. Essenti all y. the color of an object i.., the w;l\cknghts
of light which it docs nol absorb. Sunli ght appears \\ hite it con-
tains all colors. Light is an additi\e system of color. Red. Gn::cll and
Blue arl..! the prima ric:,. \hen mixcd in pairs they prouuee i\ lagenta.
Cyan and Yello\\ (a hOl rl.:d . a blue green. a bright yc ll o\\). Thc mi\-
ture orall colors in light creates \\ hitc. The human eye hns receptor"
(cone,) Red Green. Blue Ycllo\\ \\ hieh 1f00"lat c li Qht '\(1\e, or dir-
fc ring length to the opti c !len'c. The eye not equall] "clhit\e to all
colors. ( Fi gure 7.6) thi s has ranging in color thcor).
c,'\posli rc and c\ en light meter:...
Paint is a "i ubtracti ve system or color. The arc Red. Blue
and Yello\". The mix ing of' pailll rcmO\ es subtract s li ght. All color ...
mi xed" ould produce a Illuddy gnt) bro\\n. or thl.:oreticaii ) blad ..
For our purposes \\c will be di scussing the subtracli\c sy"tcm of
color. hut painters need to both. Si nce the \\ orld they tf)
to capturl..! in paint and thei r actual paintings an.' aflccted light
and the additive system of eo lor. Color has rour basic qualitic,: Iluc.
Va lue. Chroma and Temperature. The first three arc phy, ieal propcr-
tics and are otten ealkd thl..! or color. The la ... t l'\ i1
chological aspect of a color.
The Fi rst Dimcnsion: IluL' 1\ hue a \\an'kn!.!th of IIi.du. It is
that qualit y by \\ hich \\e give 1lL1IllCS to color (i.e .. red. yello\\. bluc.
etc.) The a\ crage can distingui sh around 150
The hue ora color b simpl y a udinition \\avekllgth: it"" place
on thc natural color spcct rum.
Ilue. along \\ ith Chroma (saturation) and Va lue (I ight
make up the three di stinct attributes of color. The terms "red" ,mel
"bluc" arc primaril y describing hue - hue is related to W:.J\ t.:length
for spectral colors. It is convcnient to arrange Ihe saturated
around a Ne\\ ton Color Ci rck . Slaning from red and proceeding
around thl..! ci rcle belo\\ to blue rrom long to
shaner \\i:\\elcngths. HO\\c\cr it shO\\s that not all hul.' ''' can be rep-
resented by spectra l colors sinc!.! [here is no si ngle \\;'1\ elength or
light \\ hic h has the magenta hue - it may be produced by an equal
mi xture of red and blue. Newton created the color he calkd purple
by mixing red <.Ind blue pigment s. thus creating a \\ heel of
The Dimension is Valli!.! Relativc lightness of darkness
or I.:olor.\ iighteJl!.!d color is calkd a Tint; created by adding white
10 i.l color :\ darkened color is called a Shade. created b," adding
black or a complemcnt to a color. Dark colors arc often called
1 0\\ Key Colur .... pale colors arc II igh Key Colors.
along \\ 1Ih Chroma (saturation) and Iluc LIp thl..: three
disllllct of color. (hgure 7.X). Thl..: rclati\ lightnes .... of a
colored .... lkpel1(h upon the itllllllinalH.:e and upon lis renec-
11\ Since the pCl'l..:ci\'cU lightnes!'. is not linearly proportional to
rclkcti\it). a scale from 0 to 10 i .... lIscd to rcprc .... cnt perceived
lightnes .... III 1..:0101' lllea .... urcll1ent systcm .... like the Munsell S) .... tCI11. It
i:-. fOllnd that l:ljllal \\itll differing .... characteristics
hut \\ 11Ich cmll llul11lll:r of lumens \\ III be percci\ed to be
equall) light. If Olll! sllrfm:c el111ts or reflects 1110rc 11I1l11..:ns. it \\ ill be
pl!reci\ ed to be lighter in a logarithmic relationship \\ hich yields a
constanl lIlcrt:<lse in liuhtl1ess or aboul 1.5 unit.... \\ ilh each doublirH!
of lightlh.!s:-,. -- ...
1.\1,.(1) its 0\\11 \alue before ml\ing. 1\0 color IS a ...
dark as black or as light as \\ but ]1mc \ iokt iC') darker than pure
orange: y\.'llo\\ is lighter than green. By arranging Ihe color wheel as
a I..:olor-\ aille \\ heel. according 10 the \allie or each hue. we dcn:lop
a .... impk cune. \\ 1111 \ iolct as the hue and )cllO\\ a ...
lightest. average person can distinguish abollt200 distinct \alue
changes. \'alue 1 ... 110t equal for all hue ....
Third Dimension: Chroma. (also calico InlCnSJlY ano Satura-
tion) .... tl'!.!nglh orlhe coloI'. or purity o(a color its
hrilllancc or dullness (gra) ne ... :-.}. Any huc i ... mo!'.t bright 111 lis pure
,laic \I hen no black or "hile ha, been added 10 il. Adding black or
\\ 11IIe or hl)lh (gray). or adding Ihc color\ complemcnl (the color
opposite it on the color \\ heel) Ilmcr ... the intensit). making a color
duller. :\ color at it.s po ... :-.ibk intcnsity i:-. said to be neutral.
Ilere Ihe a\crage J1cr ... on can sec only about 20 le\'els of chroma
fcmpcnllUl'e: Anothcr asp,,-'cl of a color temperature. The lem-
is the n:lati\e or coolness or a hue. This derives
from the psychological reactIOn 10 color red or rco thc
\\armcsl <Ind blue or blue grccllthe coolest. It has been proven Ihat
peopk I.:oming 111 Ihun Ihe cold to a room panted in cool colors
7.7. Color is a crucial component of
this frame from Days of Heaven. The
primary red and the orange tones
function not only as pure color but
also have strong associations with
mood and time of day - both of
which are important in the story of
this film. The shooting schedule of
the film was built around times of
day when shots like this could be
captured - there is no way you can
fake a shot like this with a special
filter or "fix it up in post."
7.8. Value is the relative lightness
or darkness of a particular hue as
shown here.
, :;

YrAA .. I
7.9. (above) Warm and cool colors.
7.10. (right) The derivation of the
color wneel from the spectrum, as
devised by Newton.
7.11 . Primary, secondary and tertiary
diVIsions on the color wheel.
take longer to kcl \\ ann than those coming il1lo a 1'00111 painted ill
\\tlnll color:-" L,cn body temperature has been round to difli:r by
a fe\\ degree::. in painted warm to Lho:-.c painted cool. Color
lcmpcratun; is dcri\'cd from physicaltcmJ1cralurc a nelltral
\\hen heated \\ill fir:.,! glO\\ red. then orange and eventually \\hite.
Arti:-.b hu\c found it helpful to bend the linear spectrulll around in a
cin.:k called the color \\ heel. The British !'!ciCJ11ist Sir Isaac Nc\\ LOn.
\\ 110 disco\crcd the spectrum in thl! !,!l!vcntccnth century. abo turned
illnlO a color \\hccl. (Figure 7.10) Onlhc color \\hcel. inslea" of
bClI1g at opposite red and \iolct lie nc\\ LO 0111.: another. \
circular spectrum bdtcr desc ribes Ollr perception of the l;onlIIlUOll!'!
110\\ or hue!'!. and it establbhcs oppositl!s across the diamctcr .... Thc
color \\ he!;.'1 is created by \\ rapping the \. isiblc spectrum into a circle
and JOI ning thl:: nil- red end (Ioing \\ tI\ eh.:ngths) to thl! \ inlet I::nd
.. hort \\u\-elcngtlb).
Primary Color ... ;.Ire hUl::s \\ !lich cannot be mhcd and frum \\ hich
all olhl.:r"- colors can be Illi\ed. III light the) an.' red. green and blue
Secondary Color ... arc IHICS madl! by mi\ing \\\0 ....
RED+BLUI- "'Iagenta
BLUE + CiRH:1\ Cyan
RLD +- GRr:EN )'ello\\
Color ... are orlhc color .... Tilc Pri-
mary, sl.'condi.ll) and tertiary colors together make up the I\\chl.:
colors of thl! basic color \\ heel. (Figure 7. I I )
The color \\ hcc?l vcry lIseful but it deals onl y wi th hue. the spectral
color. It tells us not hing aboul how bright the color is or how li ght or
dark it in of the gray scale.
One of the most influent ial color-modeling systems devised by
Albert Henry Munsell. an American art ist. Munsell desired to create
a "rational \\ay to descri be color" that would li se clear decimal nota-
tion instead of arbi tra ry color names. The Munsell system describes
color in three dimensional forl11 . The hues arc arranged in a circle.
Vnriations in chroma are away fr0111 or towards the central axis and
\ 'ariatiolls in value arc li p and down the central ax is. I lis system.
\\ hich he began in 1 X98 \\ ilh the creat ion or his color sphere. or trec.
saw ih rull expression wi th his publi cation, A C%r No/a/ioN, in
1905. This work has been repri nt ed several ti mes and is still a stan-
dard lor colorimet ry (the measuri ng of color).
Munsell modeled his system a globe around whose equator runs
a band of' colors. (Figures 7. 12 and 7.13). The ax is of the orb is a
scale or nelltral gray va lucs with white as the north pole and black
as the soutb pole. Extending horiLonLall y rrom the axis at each gray
\Hlue is a gradation of color progressi ng from ncutral gray to fu ll
sat uration.
MUI1!'!c11 named these aspecb, or qua li ties. I1 1Ic. Value. "Ild Chroma.
They are similar to thc traditional uses or thesc terms. blll slightly
di fTercnt in some ways.
Munsell defi ned hue as "the quali ty by \\ hich \\e distinguish aile
color from another." I lue is the spectral color: it can be defi ned by it s
wavelength on the electromagneti c spectrum. It is whut. in cveryday
bl1guage. wc ca ll '\ :0101'. "
Munsell selected five principle colors (this is sli ghtl y dilTcrent
rrom the "primary" colors): red. yell ow. grccn. bluc, and and
fi ve intermedi ate colors: yell ow-red. grecn- yell ow. blllc-green, pur-
ple-blue. and red- purpl e: and he alTanged these in a wheelmcasured
01T in 100 compass points:
The colors were si mply identified as R for red, YR for red-yello".
Y for ye llow, etc. Each primary and int ermediate color was all ott cd
len degrees around the compass and then further identifi ed by it s
place in the segment. For exampl e. primary red would be ident ified
as 5R since it stands at the mid-point of the red segment. 2.5 R would
be a red lending more toward red-purpl e, while 7.SR is a red tending
more toward yell ow-red.
Va lue was den ned by Munsell as "the quality by wh ich we distin-
guish a light color from a cbrk one. " In common language it mi ght
be rererrcd to as "dark red" or "li ght red." Value is a neutral ax is
that refers to the gray Icvel or the color which ranges rrom whilC to
black. As notations such as l OR. 5YR, 7.5I'B, etc. denote parti cul ar
hues, the notati on N is used to dcnote the gray value at any point
on the axis. Thus a valuc of SN would denote a middl e gray, 2N a
dark gray. and 7N a li ght gray. In Munsell 's ori ginal system, values
I Nand 9N are, respecti vely, black and white. though thi s lVas later
expanded to va lues of 0 (bl ack) through 10 (white). We can, of
course, sec precise parall els to the Zone System. Remember the
:lone system is a way or consi dcring all visibl e thi ngs in terms or
color theory
7.12. (top, right) and 7.13 (bottom,
right) Advancing and retreating color
in Barry Lyndon. Viewed as invidual
sements within the film. the color just
becomes part of the scene. When
look at them in direct opposition
we can more clearly see how they
playa role in the storytelling of each
moment in the film,
their lieh! and dark withollt n:uard to thl.!ir cnlor I il:n.' '\1..' arc
just adding the clements or color.
The 'HILIC of a particular hue would be noteu with the \ allll.' alia
the hue designation. I"or c\umpJc. SPB 6 imliciltc ... i.l middk purph:-
blue at the \ alue 10\ el or 6. It ,hould be noted. too. that \Iu'bdl\
scale of \allic i\ \ or pcrct.!pllIal. That i .... it's ba ... ed llil Illl\\
\\ C see dill,-:rcnces in n.:lati\ c light. not 011 a strict ..,el of mathemati-
cal ,allies from a Iiglll source .... or illuillinam. This I" th\..'
eye brain combination docs not pcrcei\c all hues ano
(The ('IE syC')lel11 dcscribed belo\\ is a more l11athCm<lIlCalmcthoo
of describing color: a mcthod which can be more closeh i.hslh.:iated
\\ ith color or electronic represl:J1tations of
Chroma is the quality that distinguishes the dilYcrcm':l: from a pur\..'
hue to a gray shade. The chroma axis exh.!nds from the \ allll.' u\i ...
at a right angle and thc amount of chroma is noted alter the \ alw:
designation. Wc can. of course. sec preciC')t..! parallels to tht..! Ion\..'
systcm. Remcmber thc lonc system is a \\ ay of considering all \ IS-
ible III terms of their licht and dark Ilm\ c\ er. chroma
is not uniform for cvcry huc CVCI'} \'alue. Munsell n..'cogni/\..'d that
full chroma for indi\ idual hucs might be at \ef) diffen..'nt
places in thc color For e:\ample. the fullest chroma for hut.:
5RP (rcd-purple) "achic\ed at 5 26: Another color ",eh as IOYR
(yello\\ ish ycllo\\-red) has a much shorter chroma 3\is and
fullc,t chroma at 710 and (, 10:
Ct,I, ,,01 _ are
'-"',lied ill" " ," nt al'QlvS 001.
, .... ar::JUl"d" 1'18' "",,,,j'o'lC
It'Ie letO
Cnroma oroeasetl >utward
Irom !tie r>eU11,,1 ;U ,,,,,,,.'0
Vatue oncreases .naease5 upwafd ,,,
0IadI 81 ltle bonorn 10 "'Me a the lOp
BIocI< ... M e ana !/fays who:;n have no huO ...
Iocaled 0f1 D v(lt1ocallona call&d 1M "l'I8u!talll>C""
In the Munsell System. reds. blues. and purples tend to be stronger
that m'cragc higher chroma va lues at full saturation, while yel-
lows and greens arc weaker hues that average fullest chroma satu-
ration relatively close to the nell tral axis. Reds, blues. and purples
reach fullest saturation at mid-leve ls on the value scale, while yel-
10\\ s and greens reach it at hi gher values. The result of these dif-
ferences is that what Munsell originall y cn" isioncu as a sphere is
radicall y asymmetrical. A three-dimensional solid represent ation of
Munsell's system is sho\\n in Figures 7.14 and 7. 15.
Hues direetl) oppos ite one another on the color wheel arc call ed
compl ements. They arc call ed complement s because Lhey contain or
complete the (riad of primary colors - for example. the primary
red is opposi te the secondary green. which contains the primaries
yellow and blue.
Another psychological response: hottest. darkest colors mo,e for-
ward aggressively as do black. brown. dark blue and dark green. Pale
tones ret reat. Pale green and blue the furthest. Pale reds. oranges and
ye ll ows recede but not as rar as cools. Yello\\ though li ght. advances
when intense. (Figures 7. 12 and 7. 13).
Weight and Balance - The way we sec color depends not only on
the color themselves, but also on the size of each color area, on the
shapes that contain the color, and on thc interac tion bet\\cen neigh-
boring colors. Darker hues, like darker values. tend to be heavier
looking than li ght er ones. yet. warm intense colors like yell ,,\\, and
orange and can overpower a darker color.
The medium, whether it is paint. tel evision. fi lm. fabric or printed
matter. also affects the possible range of colors. i.e .. all the possible
variati ons in hue, value and chroma that can be achieved in a
medium. is referred (0 as its color gamut. In monitors and video sys-
tems, it is often referred to as colorspace.
7.14. (above) The Munsell system is
formed as a tree structure; the varia-
tions in horizontal size are due to the
fact that some hues reach full satura-
tion sooner than others.
7.' s. {left)The Munsell system repre-
sents hue, chroma and value as three
axes of a tree structure.
7. 16. Relative colorspace of film and
vi deo.
color theory
7.17. Triadic harmonies.
7.18. (below) Complimentaries.
7.1 9. (bottom) Split complimenta-
ted.tnagElflla orange
... genla * Velo.
violel yelOWlgeoo
Magenla Yellow
/ \ '
cyan blue groonlcyan
.... n .. ,,

These lend to lighten color. Transparcncy is the ability to through
the color to another under it. Reflecti on on a farm as \vell us trans-
parency will lighted it. In pail1lthe transparcncy and rcflecti\-c qual-
ity of the paint will alTect the va lue and intensity of the color as
\\clL this principle is lIsed in set painting. prop and wardrobe :md
can affect lighting choices.
Color Harmony - Like music. color ca n be strongly cmoti\c and
expressive. CCl1ain combinat ions of color. as of sound, hm.:
to have special beauty or bc intrinsically pleasing in ways
people recogn ize intuitively. The noti ons of balance and resolution
arc impli ed in color harmony. Il armony refers to clear
based on di vis ions of the color wheel. sec Figures 7.17. 7. 1 X and
7. 19. Some examples of color harmony 1'0110\\:
Monochrome Color Harmony refers to a harmony
of all the sa me hue but at difTerent values and intensit y (i .e.
tints and shades of Blue).
Ana logous Color Il armony - is a harmony of hues close
to or touching one another 011 the color wheel, although of
different val ues and intensities. (i.e. ye llow-green. green and
blue-green or yell ow. green and blue).
Tri adi c Harmoni cs - arc based on groups of three colors
marc or less equidistant from onc another on the color wheel.
The Ihree primary or Ihe three secondary colors form triadic
harmoni es, but any group of three will serve. if they an.::
c\'enl y spaced arollnd the color wheel.
Complementary Ilal'monies - involve the pairing orany two
colors that sit opposite one another on the color ,\-heel. (i.e.
red with green, yellow with violel)
Split Complementa ry Harmonics - group a color not with
ils complement. but with the pair of colors adjacent to it s
compl ement. (i.e. ye ll ow wit h red- violet and blue-violet. blue
with ye ll ow orange and red orange. red wi lh yellow-green
and blue-green).
Di scord and Di scordant Colors - Colors can be mismatched
or out of hanna ny, often referred 10 clashing colors . This hap-
pens when a groupi ng of' harmoni ous colors are placed next
to a color outside the hamlOny.
1\11 percepti on of color is based on an interaction of color. One color
ca nnot be seen unless it has others around it. Scicnti sts have put
individuals in a room painted in one color. The subj ect could nOl
dist inguish what color the rOOI11 was, instead they saw whit e. Only
when anot her color was introduced to the environment were they
able to see color. More ill1pol1ant is the understanding of how color
changes when surrounded by or touching other colors. The efTecl of
si multaneous contrast is greatest at (he edges between colors or on
patterns of small scale.
Degradation of Colors: O n ~ color adjacent to another color \-vill
give a t i n g ~ of its complcmcnt to thc other color. Therefore. two
adjaccnt complemcntary colors brightcn each other. Thcreforc non-
complementary colors will have the opposite efTect. A yellow next
to (I grecn will gh c the green a violet tinge, making thc latter appear
muddy. This is known as the degradation of color.
Eyc fatigue by staring at a color or a bright light can occur: this
causes liS to sec an image in opposition of what we were looking
at as relaxation from the stress of one color. A red dot will give a
green afterimage. One canlrain their eyes LO look into the shadow of
a color and you can find its complement.
Devised by the French chemist Michel-Eugene ehevrcul, the law of
simultaneous contrast "as first described in his book "The La" of
Simultaneous Contrast" writtcn in 1839. When one object is ncxt 10
another it is useful if any color difference between them is empha-
sized. Think of a man in <I bro\\J1 jacket standing in front of a brick
wall. lie is easier to distinguish if the cye/ brain combination empha-
sizes \vhatevcr color di/Terence exists between the jacket and the
wall. To do this. the visual system modifies our perception or the
red in both the jacket and the wall. but the adjustment is larger in
the jacket since it is smaller and surrounded by the wall. The result
of this adjustment is called simultaneous contrast. Put more simply:
our perception of a color is changed by a color that surrounds and
touches it. Both colors arc actually changed by being next to each
other. When two dilTerelll colors come into direct contact. the con-
trast intensifies the difTerence between them. (Figure 7.20).
A light color ncxtto a dark color will appear lighter and the dark
will appear darker. The same is true for hue (i.e. yellow/greener).
temperature (hotter/cooler) and chroma (brighter/duller).
Colors arc modified in appearance by their proximity to olher
All light colors seem most striking against black.
Dark colors seem most striking against white.
Dark colors upon light colors look darker than on dark
Light colors lIpon dark colors look lighter than light colors.
Colors are influenced in hue by adjacent colors. each tinting
its neighbors with its OWll complement.
Ir two complementary colors lie side by side. each seems
marc intense than by itself.
Dark Ilues on a dark ground which is not complementary \\ ill
appear weaker than on a complementary ground.
Light colors on a light ground which is not complcmcntaty
will seem weaker than on a complementary ground.
A bright color against a dull color orthe same hue will further
deaden the color.
When a bright color is lIsed against a dull color. thc contrast
\\ ill be strongest \\ hen the latter is complementary.
Light colors on light grounds (not complemcntary) can be
greatly strengthened if bounded by narrow bands of black or
complementary colors.
Dark colors on dark grounds (not complemeIllary) can be
strengthened if similarly bounded by white or light colors.
7.20. Simultaneous contrast in prac-
color theory
7.21. Additive color.
7.22. Subtractive color.
1\11 this is closely relatl.:d to metamerism. Tvvo colors that match
under one light but do not mateh under a dilTen:nt IIglll
source are called 111etamers. They arc said to be a metameric match.
Metamerism occurs bccausc the appearance of a color depends on
the wavelengths it reflects \\ hich. in tum. dcpcnd on thl..: wa\c-
lengths of the light source.
This can ha\e an important influence of the selection or color" for
sets or props. especially in the case of green ")creen or bluc "icn:cn
work. Always take the light source into consideration when pre-
vie\\ ing paint chips. "ardrobe. makeup. etc. Obviously. tillS IS the
reason that the makeup rOOI11 and wardrobe trailer should have a
light source \\ hich approximates \\ hat will be used on the set
In addition to the pioneering Munsell system. sc\cral diflercnl color
models arc used to classify colors and to qualify them according to
slich attributes as hue. saturation. chroma. lightness. or brightness.
Thcre arc a number of models which :.Ire relcnll1t to film and \ ideo:
The red. green. blue (RGB) and cyan. magenta. yello\\
models arc closely related; one is based on the additive primaries
and the other on the additive secondaries. These arc also the most
representative for additive and subtracti\e respec-
tively. RGB is also the basic color model for video and computer
CMY is most commonly referred to as CMYK. The K stands for
black (since B is already used for Bluc). In subtractive colors (inb
and paints) adding all three primaries together theoreticall} pro-
duces black. In additive color. mixing the three primaries together
produces \\ hite light. So black has to be considered as a separate
J\dditi\c colors those relevant to light and mixing colors Illl1ght.
(Figure 7.21). The 1110st common examples of this arc telcyision
screens and computer monitors. \\ hieh produce colored pi\cls b)
firing red. green. and blue clectron guns at phosphors on thc tclc\i-
sion or monitor screen. Additive color can be produced by mi\ing
1\\ 0 beams of colored light. or by laycring 1\\0 or marc colored gels
or by showing thc t\\ 0 colors in rapid slIccssiol1.
This call be illustrated by a technique used in the earliest e\pl:ri-
111(:nls \\ ilh additi\ c colors: color \\ heels. These arc whose sur-
face is di\ idcd into arcas of solid color. \\' hen attached to a motor
and spun at high speed. the human cye canl10t distingUIsh bct\\ccn
the separate color.., and secs them instead as a composite of the
colors on the disk. Color can also bo mixed by showing small bits of
color c1osel) spaced together Stich as pi\cls all a ,ideo screen.
SubtraCli\ C color:-. arc lIsed to describe \\ hell pigments in an object
absorb certain \\ avelcngths of white light \\ hile reflecting the rest.
(Figure 7.22). Any colorcd object. "hether natural or man-made.
absorbs sOllle \\,a\'clcngths of liglll and reflects or transmits othcr:o.:
the \\a\'ckllgths len in the reflected transmitted light make lip the
color wc sec. This is the nature of print color and cyan. magcJ1w.
and yello\\. as lIsed in four-color process printing. arc considered to
be the subtracLi\'e pnmaries. The subtracti\'e color Illodd III printing
operates not only \\ ith CMY(K). but also \\ ith printing inks.
Red. green. and blue arc the primary sti muli 1'01' human color percep-
tion and are the primary additive colors. The importance of RGB as
a color model is Ihal il relales very closely 10 Ihe \I ay we percei\e
color with the conI.? receptors in ollr retinas. RGB i s the color model
used in \ ideo or any olhcr medium thai projecls Ihe color. II i, Ihe
basic color model on and is llsed for web graphics.
C) an. magenla. and yc llo\l correspond roughly 10 Ihe primary colors
in aft production: blue. and yel lo\\ - they arc the secondary
colors oflhe addilive syslem.
BOlh models Ii,II shari of reproducing all Ihe colors we can see.
Furthermore. they differ to stich an extent that there arc many RGB
colors Ihal cannot be produced using CMY(K). and similarly. Ihere
arc some CMY colors Ihal cannot be produced using RGB. The
e,aCI RGB or CMY gamut depends on other factors '" well. Every
RGB de\ icc. \I hether it be color negati"e. transparenc) film. video
camera. display monitor. color pri nt er, color scanner. etc .. has it's
O\\llllniqllc gamut it's 0\\ 11 coiorspacc. there will always be some
\ariation as <In image mO\CS from system to sy"ih.!m.
Hue. saturation. and briglllncss and hue. lightlll..!ss. and saturati on arc
t\\O \"C:lria ti ons of a si milar model that is a standard for computer
grclphics and some \ ideo applications. It closely approximates the
qualities 1110St apparent to human perception of color.
IISH IlLS are 1\1'0 \ariation, or a \cry basic color model for dcfin-
1I1g colors in cksktop programs that closely matches
\vay \\c percci\-c color. This model is somewhat analogolls to Mun-
scll's :-.vstCIll of hue, \"('lluc. and chroma in that it uscs three similar
Cl:\CS to define 3 color. In IISB. these arc hue. saturation. and bright-
ness: in IlLS. they arc defined by hue. lightl1ess. and saturati on.
The \ alues for the hue u\is run from 0-360 beginning and ending
\\ ith red and rUllning through green. blue and all intermediary
like greenish-blue. orange. purple. etc. In this respecl. IlLS is very
similar 10 I\lulU,ell's color \I hcel. Although Munsell used a ditTerent
method for indicating hue. both arrange the colors in a circular pat-
tern and progress them through compass points. Saturation indicates
thl..! degree to \\ hich hue difrers from a neutral gray. The \alucs
run Ihun 00. \\hich is 110 color sat uration. to 1000. \\!lich is the
fullest saturation of a gi\ cn hue at a given percentage of illumina-
tiol1. This is similar to Munsell's concept of chroma.
Lightness (\Hluc) inc.iiCaLc!'I le"cI or illumination. The valuc.!s
run as 0(10 appears black (no light) while 100'0 is full
iliu111111ation, which out the color (it appears \\ hite). In thi"
respect. the lightnes .... ,,\b similar to Munsell's \ aluc '.I\is. Color ...
at less than 50
, 0 appear dnrkcr \\ hilc colors at greater
than 50
0 appear lighter.
The.! ('I E color models arc highly influential system" for mcasllJ"lng
color and di .... tinguishing bct\\ccn colors. The C.I.E. color system
\\H!-> dc\ Iscd by the C.I.E. (Commission Internati onal de 1'l:c1airagc
the Int crnational Commi ssion on Illumination) in 1931 and has
since bl!coll1c an international standard for dcsignating.
and matching color:-.. (Figure 7.23). In the C.I.E. system. thc relati\ c
perccntages of cach of the thcon:tical primary colors (red. grecn.
7.23. A diagram of the ( tE color
color theory
blue) of a color to be identified arc mathematically deri\ed. then
ploned on a Chromati cit y Diagram as one chromati city point. the
dominant wavelength and purity can be determined. i\ll possible
colors may be designated on the Chromatici ty Diagram, whi.!thcr
they arc emitted, transmitted. or rellected. Thus. the C. I.E. system
may be coordi nated with all other color designati on systems. Any
color on the CIE chromatici ty diagram can be considered to be a
mixture orlhe three CI E primaries. X.V and Z. That mixture may be
specified by three numbers X.Y and Z, call ed tri stimulus "alues
The light from a colored object is measured to obtain its Spectrul
Power Density (S PD) and the va lue for the SPD at each wa,elength
is multipli ed times the three color matching function!) and summed
to obtain X. Y. and Z. These values arc then used to calculate the CI F
chromati cit y coordinates.
The following CI E standard sources \I ere defined in 1931:
Source A - A tungsten-A lament lamp with a color tcmpcrn-
tlIre of 2S5-lK
Source B - A model of 110011 sunlight with a tcmpl.!ralUfC or
Source C A model of average daylight with a temperature
This is slightl y dilTerent from the standard 5500K daylight a,
defined by the U.S. go, efll men!. The 5500K standard is st ill \I idel)
for lighting instrument s, globes and corrccti on gels.
Elect ronic color is di splaycd on lCIc\ ision and computer
through the use of a cat hode-ray tube (CRT) . A CRT II orks b)
1110\ ing back and forth behind the screen to illuminate or act i\atc
the phosphor dot s on the inside of the glass tube. Color monitor>
use threc different types of phosphors that appear red. green. und
bluc \\ hcn acti vated. Thcse are placed close togdilcr.
and when combined 111 differing intensities can produce lllallY dif-
ferent colors. The primaries of clectronic color arc therefore red.
green. and blue. and other colors can be made by combining diOcr-
ent intcnsities of these three colors. There are difTerences in the mea-
surcment systcm or analog and digital video. The intensi ty of each
color is measured on a scale from 0 to 255 (in the di gital system).
and a color is specified by tell ing the monitor the RGB lalue,. For
instance. yell o\l is specifi ed by telling the computer to add 255 red.
255 green. and 0 bluc. Video color is analyscd all the \'cctorscopc.
which is di scussed in detail in the chapter on 17deo alld lIigh De(
the tools of lighting
8.1. (previous page) Lighting can be
a character in ttle story as well as
merely illumination for the subject
and the sets: Bladerunner (Warner
Bros. 19821.
8.2. Below, a 12K HMI with desert
wheels. (Photo courtesy of Back-
stage Equipment Inc.)
DP's and directors do not need to know all the delHils of 110\\ each
piece of lighting equipment works but it is essential that the) kllO\\
the capabilities and possibilities of each unit as \\ell as Its limita-
tions. A great deal oi'limc can be wasted by lIsing a light or picel.! of
grip equipmenl which is inapproprime for Ihe job. One of Ihe Dr\
most important functions is ordering the right lighting cquipmclll
for Ihe job and usi ng il approprimely. MOlion piclure lighh fall 11110
sc,'en general categories: IIMls. tungsten fresnels. tungsten open
face lights. fluorescent. \ellons. practicals and sUllguns.
IIMl s generate three to rour times the light of tungsten halogen.
but consume up to 75'0 less energy for the same output. ""hen a
tungslen bulb is color correclcd 10 match daylight. Ihe ad\ anlUge
increases to seven times as a great deal or the spectrum is absorbed
by Ihc blue gel (color lemperalure blue or CTB. Sec Ihe chapler
on color balance). Because IIMl s are more emcienl in cOl1\erling
power to li ght. they generate less heat than a tungsten lamp \\ ith the
same OUlPUI (Figure K.1).
11M I Slands l'or Ihe basic componenls: H is from Ihe Lalln symbol
for mercury (1I g) \\ hich is used primarily 10 creale Ihc lamp \ohage.
M is for the many rare earth metals such as sysporsium. thulium and
homium which cOll trol the color temperanlre of the output. I swnds
for iodine and bromine which are halogen compounds. The halogen
serves much the samt.! function as in a tungsten halogen lamp in pro-
longing Ihe useful life of Ihe bulb and ensures thai the rare earlh
metals remain concentrat ed in the hot lone of the arc.
HMI lamps ha\"e two ekctrodes made from tungsten \\ IHcll proj-
eel inlo a cylindrical or ellipsoidal discharge chamber. Unlike IUng-
stell bulbs which have H continuous filament oftungstcll \\ ire. II\1b
creatc an electrical arc \\ hich jumps from one electrode to another
and generate light and heal in the process. Color temperature as it is
measured for bulbs or sunlight does not technically aprl)
10 11M Is (or to other types of discharge lighting sllch Iluorescents)
because the} producc a quasi-continllous spectrum. In actual prac-
lice though. tht.! same mcasurements and color tcmpefalun:: Jl1l.!h:r ...
arc uscd for all types of video and motion picture lighting sources,
In an IIMI lamp tht.! basic mercury discharge spectrum is \cr:- dIS-
continuous and conCl'ntratcd in a fe\\ 11arrO\\ bands. The output of
the rare earths fills out the spectrum and produces a spectrum \l'l}
close to daylight. Sourct.!s. especiall} those \\ ith other than contlllu-
ous '"nat ural'" spectrums. can \ary in hO\\ well the} "shO\\" the color
of an object. Recall our discussion or mctamerism in the chapter on
color theory. Metamcrism is whae an object appears to he i.l Cl.!rtalll
color under one li ght sourcc but looks quite ditrercnt under another.
The farthl.!r a source is from a true spectrum. the greater this mi...,-
match \\ ill be.
Lights arc classiAed according 10 Color Rcndering Indes leRII.
This is a method of quantifying ho\\ accurately a lightlllg ... ource
displays the color of an object (sec the discussion of metamerism
in Ihe chaplcr C%/' T"('o/'r). i\ CRI or 90 or abmc (on a scak of
010 100) is considered neccssary l'or (ill11 and \ ideo \\ork. The CRI
is especially important \\ hen judgll1g fluorescelll and other gas di ... -
charge sources. J-'or most IIMl s the color renderin!! inde\ i ... l!rcater
than .... 90. and thus abo\e the 11111limlllll for film and ideo. \\ lirst
developed. II tvl b \\ ere nOI dimmable b,u unils ha\ e become 'l\ all-
able \\ hich can be dimllled to -tOo 0 of their rated output \\ hicll cor-
... to 300 of their IIglll outpUl. Therc is somc ... Iight shin of
color tempenllure under these conditions. Under nOnllai conditions
a decrease in \oltage to the ballast will make the light slightly
cooler. This is the opposite ora tungstcn bulb \\ hich gets warmer as
the \oltage drop ....
AlIllMb rcqlllrc a ballasl. A'S \\ ith a carbon me or an arc \\ cider. thc
ballast includes a choke \\ hich acts as a current limiter. The reason
for this is sImple: an arc basically a dcad shorl; if the current v .. 'ere
allowed to flo\\ freely. the circuit would O\erload and either blo\\
the fuse or burn lip. Early ballasts for HMIs were extremely hea\)
and bulky (200 pounds or marc) as they contained currcnt limiters
\\ hich consisted of hem y copper wire wound in a coil like a trans-
former. This coil ballast v.orks on thc principle ofrcactal1ce (Figurc
1' .3).
The ilH'clltion of the smallcr and liglllcr elcctronic ballast \\as
a major impro\cmenl. Electronic ballasts also allo\\ the unit to
operate 011 il square-wave, \\ hich solvcs thc flickcr problem as \\e
\\ ill sec in the chnpter on technical issues. The squan.:-\\a\ e also
increases light cfTiciency by about R%.
Voltages as high a' 12.000 vile or 1110re arc needed to start the arc.
\\ hich is prO\ ided by il separate ignitor circuit in the: ballast. This (re-
ates the PO\\ er needed for the electric current to jump across the gap
bel\\eCn the two electrodes. The typical opcrating voltage is around
:WOv. When a lamp is already hot. much higher \ oltages arc needed
in order to ioni/e the pressurized gap between the electrodes.
ean be from 20kV to 1110rc than 65 kV. For this reason. sOl11e IIMls
cannot restruck \\ hile hal. Ilot restrikc. which genenttes il higher
voltage to 0\ ereolllc th is resistance is a feature on Illost IlC\\ er b .
The fur this is that once all HMI is hot. the gases inside the
bulb arc pressurized and ionized: they provide grealc ..... r resistance and
therefore il high \'oltage is necessary to jump the gilp.
Due to de\ itrilkation (deterioration orthe glass of the bulb). \\ hich
IIlCreilSes as the lamp ages. the color temperature falls by about 0.5
to I K pcr hour burned. depending on the \\attage. HMI bulbs should
not be opeJ'iJtcd more than 25'0 past their rated life as there is a
danger of c:\plosion.
18K'S AND 12K'S
The IRK and the 12K HMls arc the mast po\\erful fresnci lights
currently a-ailablc. Like all 11Mb the) are extremely ellicient in
luminous output per wall ofinpul power. They produce a very sharp,
clean light \\hich is the result of having a vcry small source (the gas
arc) \\ hich through a \ cry largc lens (usually a 24" lens
I,)r both types) (Figure 8.-1).
These large lights arc ill\aluable \\here \CI)' large an:as arc being
co\ered or there is a need for high light le\els for high-specd shoot-
ing. They ilI\: also a natural for sunlight effects sllch as sun beams
through a \\'indo\\ or any other situation \\ here a strong well defined
beam nceded. They arc also among the fc\\ sources (along wilh
I-IM I PARs) \\ h,ch w ill balance da}light and fill in the shadows suf-
ficiently to permit shooting in the bare sun \\ ithout silks or reflectors.
The that they bum approximately "daylight blue" (5500 degrees
keh in) is a tremendous advantage in these situations: no light is lost
to tilters. Orten \\ hen a 12K or 18K is used to fill in sunlight it is the
only unit operating on a gencrator. Ifit \\as drawing on one leg only.
the load would be c\tremcJv difficult to balance and might damage
the generator. ........
8.3. The ballast acts as a transformer
to provide operating voltage and
also starting voltage which can be as
high as 20,OOOV. It is also a current
the tool< of lighting
8.4. A 12K/18K HMI, currently the
most powerful fresnel light available.
(Photo courtesy of Arri Group.)
Most 12 and 18Ks arc 220 volt lighh but sOl11e arc 110 \olt unlh
which can make load balancing diflicult. As \\ ilh any large light.
coordinate with the gcnnic operalOr before firing it up or It
down. Be sure to clarify with the rental house \\-hat lype or pm\cr
connectors arc used on the lights VI hen you arc placing your lightlllg
and grip order ror the job.
The most significant new development in IIMl s is the llC\\ "tlickcr-
rree" ballasts which usc square-wave technology to prO\ide flickcr-
less shooting at any rrame rate. With sOl11e units there IS a penalty
paid for fli cker-free shooting at frame rates other than sync sound
speed - when the high speed flicker-rree button is selected on these
units they operate at a significantly higher noise level. I rthe ballasts
can be placed outside or shooting is MOS. this IS not a problem.
I leader cables arc Ihe power connection rromthe ballast 10 the light
head itselr. Many larger HMl s can only lake Iwo header cables: a
third header will usually result in a voltage loss too great to get the
lamp to fire up.
Square-wave refers to the shape of the sine wave of the altemutll1g
current arter it has been reshaped by the eleetrunics or the ballast.
Flicker is discussed in more detail in the chapter on Tee/mica//ssue,
but sufTice it to say here that the nonnal sine wave or IIC curren I
leaves too many "gaps" which become visible if the camera shutter
is not synchroni7ed to its rhythm. By squaring the wave. Ihese gaps
arc minimized and there is less chance or flicker. This is especially
important ir you are shOaling at anything other than nonnal speed:
high speed photography in particular will ereale problems. II is
imponanl to noLc that Aicker can be a problem in video also. us
with film cameras.
6K and 8K IIMIs can handle many or the same jobs as the bigger
lighls. particularly where the area covered is smaller. Although they
generally have a smaller lens they still produce a sharp. clean beam
with good spread. In many applications they perform admirabl) as
the main li ght: servi ng as key, window light, sun balance. etc. Some
6Ks and 8K's are 110 volts and some arc 220. depending on the
manuracturer and the rental house. They may require a \ancl} of
connectors or a set of Siamese splitters.
When ordering any large lamp, it is crucial to ask these questions
and be sure the rental house will provide the appropriate dlStribulton
equipment or adapters. Failure to do so may result in Ihe lighl not
being functional. Some makes or II M Is provide ror head balanclI1g.
This is accomplished by sli ding the yoke support backwards or for-
wards on the head. This is a userul reature when adding or subtract-
ing barndoors. rrames or other items \\ hieh radically alter the bal-
ance or Ihe light.
4K & 2.5K
The small er IIMIs. the 4K and 2.5K arc general purpose Irghts.
doing much or Ihe work thai used to be assigned 10 5K and 10K
tungsten li ghts. Sli ghtly smaller than the bigger HMIs. they can be
easily fl own and rigged and wi ll fit in some rairly light SpOlS.
The smallest lamps. the 1.2K and 575 11M I. arc versatile unlh. Light-
weight and rairly compact, they can be used in a variet y orstluations.
The electroni cs ballasts ror the small units have become portable
enough to be hidden in places where larger unils might be visible.
Always ground the li ght and the ball ast with appropriate
grounding equipment .
Check the stand and ballast with a YOM meter Icr leakage
by measuring the voltage between the stand and any ground.
There \\i ll usually be a lew volts, but anything above 10 or
15 ,olts indicates a potent ial problem.
Keep the ballast dry. On wet ground, usc boxes or rubber
Avoid gell ing dirt or finger marks on the lamps: oil from the
skin \\ ill degrade the glass and create a potential failure point.
Many lamps come provided with a special cleaning cloth.
Ensure that there is good contact between the lamp base and
the holder. Contamination will increase resistance and impair
proper cool i ng.
The fi lling tip (nipple) should always be above the discharge.
otherwise there is a risk of a cold spot developing inside the
discharge chamber where the fi ll er substances may condense
and change the photometric properti es.
Prolonged runni ng m above fat ed voilage may resull in pre-
mature fail ure.
Extended cable runs may reduce the voltage to a point whi ch
aITeets the OLitpul and may result in the lamp not firing.
Ex.cessive cooling or direct airflow on the lamp may cool the
lamp belo\\ its operat ing temperature whi ch can result in n
light wi th a high color temperature and inferior CRI.
All bulbs are rated for certain burning posi tions which ,ory
from plus or minus 15 degrees to plus or lTIinus 45 degrees.
III gencral. bulbs -1K and above have a 15 degree tolcrance
\\ hil c !')maJl cr bulbs have a greater range.
11M Is may ,ometi mes failta function properly. Be sure to hme a
fc\\ C\ lra header cables on hand: they arc the most coml11on cause
or malfunctions. T h ~ sa fet y swi tch on the lens can also causc trou-
ble. Never try to bypass it. however; it serves an important function.
11M Is should never be operated withollt the glass lens. The glass fil-
ters out harmful ultraviolet radiati on which can damage someonc's
eyes and gi\-c thcm a sunburn. When they do fail to fh:C:
Check that the breakers ore on. Most 11M Is ha, e more than
one breaker.
After killi ng the power, open the lens and check the miero-
s\\ itch whi ch contacts thc lens hOll sing. Make surc it is oper-
ating properly and making contact. 'Niggle it. but don't be
violent the light v.ont operate without it.
If that fails. try another header cable. If you are running morc
lhan one header to a li ght. disconnect and try each one indi-
vi duall y. Look for broken pi ns, garbage in the receptac le. etc.
Check the power. HMls won't fire if the voltage is low. Gen-
erally they need at least 108 volts to fire. Some have a volt-
age swit ch (1 10, 120. 220); be sure it 's in the right position.
T,y the head with a different ba ll ast and vice-versa.
Let the light cool. Many li ghts won' t do a hot restrike.
XCl10ns arc similar to HMl s as they arc a gas di scharge arc with a
balla, t. They feature a polished parabolic renee tor which gives them
the tool s of lighting
8.5 Xenons produce an incredibly
powerful and focused beam - they
will break most ordinary windows
and mirrors if placed too close. Mat
thews makes this mirror specifically
for Xenons. It is not designed to be
used for other applications. (Photo
courtesy of Manhews Studio Equip-
ment, Inc.)
8.6. Bladerunner (1982) was the first
use of xenons in a feature film.
Jordan Cronenweth used them very
effectively as powerful and evocative
story and design elements.
ama71ng thro\\ and :.Ill11o:-.t beam collimatIOn \1 full
they can project a tight beam blocks with a small
mount ofspn:ad (Figures R.5 and X.6).
Xcnons arc \cry cfficicnt \\ ith the highcst lumens per \\all output
of any light. Xenons curn.:ntly come in fivc a I K. ::!K. 4K.
7K and 10K. There is also a 75 \\all sun-gun unll. The I I-.. and 21-..
units comc in 110 and 220 volt Illodels. some or \\ hlch can \\<.111-
plugged. This produces a high output light \\ hich can be rluggeu
into a wall outlet or a small portable generator. The larger xcnons
are e:\tn:mcl) powcrful. and Illllst be lIsed C:lullousl): at full spot
they can quickly crack a \\indo\\. Just one c,ampk of their PO\\ er;
\\;th ASA 320 film stock and the light set at full SpOI. a -IK deli\ers
f 64 at -10 feet from the lighl.
The current supplied by the ballast to the hulb is pulsed DC '"
a result flicker is not a probll!11l for \cnons and thcy can he lIseo
I(Jr high speed filming up to 10,000 Ii". Xenons do, ho\\o\er, ha\e
somc disadvantages: all xCllons arc expensivc to rent anti h .l\ e i.l
cooling fan which makes thcm vCI) difficult to usc in sound filming.
Also. becausc of the bulb placcment imd refh.:ctor design. there i ...
always a holl! in the middle of the round beam. \\ hich can be mini-
mlled but never I.:ntircly eliminated.
Due to the parabolic reflectors. flagging and l:lIlting arc dlllicult
close to the light: nags cast bizarre symmctrical shadows. Also.
the extrcmely high and concentrated output means that they burn
through gel \ery quickly. Many people try to compensate by plaelllg
the gel as !ill as possible from the light. This is a mistake: the safest
place to gel is actually right on the face of the light
Sc\enty-fhc watt xcnon ""ere developed for the a\y.
They arc e,cdlcllt for flashlight effects. They come in both .\C (II I)
\olt) and DC Most ha"c motorized Hood :-.pot COI1-
trois which can be operated during the shot. As with larger xcnons.
thore is a hoic or a hot spot m the center of the beam (depending on
the !Ol:us) which cannot be climinated. Xenon bulbs do not shin 111
h.:mperatun: as they age or as voltage shifts.
For many years. the Brute Arc \\as the most powerful light mail-
able. It was the standard for lill to balance sunlight. night extenors
and "111 efTects through \\ indows. Dating back to I MO I, the arc was
the first high intensity electric light. It was used in theaters and then
adopted by the film industry as the only source bright enough to
usc \\ ith thc c\trcmcly slO\\ cmulsions ,I\ailnbk thcll. It \\a:-, the
only anificial aiternali, e \0 Ihc all glass or all 'ky-lighl sludios Ihal
\\ ere then Ill!ccssary.
Thl!) producc light by crcating an actual an.: betwcen two carbon
ekctrodcs. Sincc thcy arc not enclosed in and surrounded
by spccial gases. the an.: burns the negative and positive elec-
trode arl! consumed and so hm"l! to be continuously to
keep thcm 111 thl! correct position. This is done \\ ith small electric
motors. Even \\ ith feed molors and complex geared mechanisms.
arcs requirc an operator to monitor them constantly and adjuM the
speed of thc 1110tor .... to m<.I\imi7c output and prevent the arc from
"flaming au!." Arcs require a huge amount of power (215 amps for
Ihe standard BrUle) "hich calls lor a #00 cable run for cach lighl)
and Ihe facllhal ilmusl be DC. "hich dielales cilhcr a sludio \\ ilh
DC power or a large DC generator (Figure 8.7).
The Brute Arc has a lighting quality which is distinctive and quite
beautiful. Because the plasma arc which creates the light OLitput is
quilc small. the arc is almost a point source. The \cl) small source
of Ihe plasma arc. combincd "ilh Ihe very large lens. produces a
sharp. specular lighl \\ hich has a very clean. "wrapping" qualily.
This combined wilh abililY 10 change Ihe color of Ihe arc makes
it unfortunate thaI they are 110 longer economically feasibk. Arcs
can be either daylight or tungsten balnl1cc \'vithout gels, something
that no other light can do. Thb is accomplished by using either
",hile-name" carbons (daylighl balance) or "yello\\-name" car-
bons (tungsten balance). For daylight balance usc, the \\ hite-name
carbons rlln high in ultraviolet and a Y-I filter is lIsually added 10
counteract this. MT-2 converts the white-flame carbons 10 tungsten
color balancc.
All ha\e their po\\cr supplied through a ballast. \\ hich is also
called a grill. Thl! grid serves two purposes: it is a giant resistor
\vhich limits ClIlTcnt flow across the arc reduces the \'oltage
to the optimum 73 \olts \\ ilhollt reducing the amperagc. Voltage
that is too high or too 10\'-' can calise the electrodes to burn improp-
erly and inefficlenlly. While Ihe 225 amp Lile\\ale BrUle is by far
Ihe most common Iype of DC arc. olher si7es arc available. These
include Ihe 150 (150 amps). Ihe Baby BrUle (225 amps) and Ihe
Tilan (350 amps). Only a few Tilans ever e\iSled. Arcs creale a
good deal of ultra\ iolet To correct this. \\ arming gcb arc Llsed: a
V-I for daylighl balance carbons and a VF-IOI or an MT-2 plus a
V-I lor tungsten balance (yello\\ l1ame carbons).
Arcs are unfortunately expensive to operate as they require not
only a very large generator but also each one needs its 0\\ n opera-
lor 10 feed and trim the carbons. In addilion. Ihe supplied po\\er
must be DC (direcl current) and so il must eilher be a dedicated
gCllnie or aile \\ hich can supply AC and DC at the same time
called a conclII"ent"' genllie.
Tungslen lamps arc just bigger versions or ordinary household
bulbs; Ihey all hm e a filamenl of lungslen "ire jusl as invented by
Thomas Edison. There arc IwO Iypes of lungsten fresnels: studio
and baby. The "sludio" lighl is Ihe full size unil, Ihe "baby" is a
smaller hOllsing and lens, making it more compact for location use
(Figure 8.8). As a rule Ihe baby version is Ihe housing of Ihe nexl
smaller size (for example Ihe 5K is simi lar 10 a studio 2K). The
baby lighls are much favored for localion work.
8.7. The carbon arc was for decades
the only really big light in motion
picture production. For a history of
film lighting, see Morion Picture and
Video lightmg, by the same author,
also publishea by Focal Press.
the tools of lighting
8.8, A head cart with a standard
assortment of tungsten fresnels.
(Photo courtesy of Backstage
8.9 A 20K fresnel tungsten. (Photo
courtesy of Cinemills.)
The biggc:,t tung:-,lcn light no\\ III usc I:, the 20K. It 1:-. a largL" llllll
\\ ith tremendous OlitpUt. Many jobs that \\ ere (anneri ) done 0) the
10K arc no\\ done \\ ith this light. Most run at 110 \olts and sC\ cral
model ... com(' with a built-in dimmer (Figure X.9).
The 10K rn:snel comcs in threl! basic \ ersions:
The bab) 10K prm ides high intensity output II IIh "
compact. casil) transportable unit \\ilh a I .. f' fre ... ncl il:ns.
The basic 10K. knOll n as a "tenner" or swdlo 10"-. h,,, a
The largesl light or this group IS the Big Eye' tenner \\ 11Ich
has a lens, The Big Eye is a very special light II IIh qual-
ity all its Oil n. The DTY (10K) bulb 1'1'0\ ides a (Cllrly srnall
source, \\ hile the extrcmely tnrgc frcsnd is a large radiator.
The result is a sharp hard light II ith real bite but II ith a II rap
nround quality which gi\cs it a soli. light quality on subjects
close to the light. Thi s is a characteristic orall \ery big lights
\\ hich them a unique quality.
It i:-. important to ne\er usc a 20K. 10K or a 5K pointing
up (this applies to large IIMIs and xenon, as \\ell). The len, blocks
proper \ 'cntilation and the unit will overheat. /\Iso. the filament \\ ill
not be properly and \\ ill sag and possibly touch the
hther condition \\ ill enust: the bulb to fail and overheating
crack the len, . The failure II ill clN somebody hundred, uf dollars
anti put the light out ofcolllmission.
/\lthou!.!.h it is mailable in both \crsions. the babv 5K far more
popu!J; than the larger unit. It can work as a general purpose 'blg
light" and a f111 used against a 10K. The 5K is also ca lled a SCIl IOr.
The 2K fresnel is also known as a dellce or a junior. It has cnough
po\\cr to bring a single subject or :.H.:lOr lip to a reasonahle c\posurc.
c\'cn \\ ilh difTusion in rront of the lens. Deuces arc also useful as
backlighb. rims and kickers. Baby juniors (called arc the more
compact and an extraordinarily versatile unit.
Thousand wall units (I Ks) are also kno\\ n babit!s. m.:es or 75(Js. The
I K i, u,ed as an accent light. a spla'h on the \\all. a small back light.
a hard fill and for dOLen, of other uses, The baby can u,e enher a
750 lIalt bulb (EGR) or a 1000 "alt bulb (I:.GT) the IIldeh used
name of 750 comes from the days before quartz halogen II lien the
750 tungsten bulb was the most common. Most arc no\\ used \\ ith
the I K quartz bulb. but arc still called 750s, The Baby I K, al,o
called a Baby Baby. is the small size version. Because of it s smaller
lens and box. it ha, a wide:- spread than the studio 750 and tillS can
be a lIsd"u1 n:aturc \\ hen hiding small units in nooks and crannies.
The is "between"' the I K and the inkie. With the nc\\ hl1!h
speed films, the tweellie is oftell just the right light for the small
jobs a baby used to do. It is \ery useful for a number of , mall jobs.
easily hidden and can function as a quick accent, a slate li ght or an
eyesighl. There is also a 400w Pepper which is similar to all inkie
(Figure X.I 0),
At or 250 wa ll s (depending on the bulb). thc inkie or Pcpper is
nul a po\\'crrulunit. but lip it can de li ver a surpri sing amount
of li ght. The inki c is great for a tiny of light on the set. as an
eye li ght. a small fill, or for an emergency last minute light lO jllst
raise thl! c\posurl! a bit 011 a sma ll area.
Some I K and 650 unit s arc a\ uilabic as "open rucc" light s. that
is. thl! Y ha\ c no lenses but they do have some SpOI flood focusing.
They arc rm\ but the) uo have it tremendous output for their si/c.
They arlo! good for boullce or shooting through difTusion (Figure
6.1 I).
PA R Slands lo r parabol ie - the shape or the reflcctor. A parabola is
the on ly sha pe \\ hieh col lects all orthe light rays and projects them
Oll l in the same direction. In conjunction \\ illt thi s. all PAR units
ha\"c a lens. \\ hich functions primaril y 10 concentrate or spread the
beam. Tungsten parts generally cOl11e with a fixed lens \\ hich is pan
orthc unil: the) are prelly much the same as a car headli ght. IIMI
alway!'i come \\ ith a set or interchangeable lenses: these go
from a \cry \\ itk beam to a very 11(11'1'0\\ beam. The di sadvantage of
PARs is that the beam generall y CQ\ers onl y a very small area and is
not a \ er) comrlil11entary li ght nor is it easi ly controllable but it is
userul for many purposes" hi ch call for just raw light power.
come in two basic \arictics: 111m versions come in a solid
rotatable hOllsing as Mole Ri chardson' s MolcPar (Figure 8. 12)
or Ci IlcQucen (Colorlran), \\ hi ch feature bamdoors and sc rim hold-
ers: and in a Ililllsicr thc'lIrical version call1!d a PAR call. Theatrical
lighh an: not gencrall y as sturdil ) built because they are generall y
hung in a theater and then left alolle. They don ' 1 gel the rough treat-
ment and athersc conditions lhat film and video light s do. PARs
(especially NS Ps) can qui ckl y burn through evcn the toughest gels,
l11e lt bead board and set l11usl in dill'usion on fire.
\\ itll a dichroic coating have an output whieh is very close to
daylight (blue) balance. Small PAR 48s and 36s arc also ava ilable
at 10l\cr \oItagcs", \\ell as 110\. Nea rl y all types or bulbs are also
mailable in no \oIts. \\ hich is the standard in Europe and much or
the rest of the \\orle\.
an: also mack in groUJh . lll e best knowil bei ng the Max i I3rut e,
a PO\\ crfulunil "ith trcmendous punch and Ihra" , They arc used in
large night c'{teriors and in large scale interior appli cmi ons: aircraft
hangars, arena!'!. ctc. They can also be used directl y or through gel,
muslin. etc., \\ hen very high li ght leve ls arc needl!d to get through
hea\ y diITusion.
Ma\i Brutes and Dinos arc si milar in design but difTerent in si/c.
come in configurations of 6,9 or 12 :x PAR 64 lamps; the
most C0l11111 011 being the 9 lump head. A Dino is 36 x PAR 64 lamps.
Other \arialions of thi s design exist as "ell (Figure 8. 14),
Fay lights arc clusters or 650 IVall PAR 36s and come in si ngle
lamps up to 9 (or 12) lamp configurations. The Wendy light s come
in panels \\ ith the same PAR 36 lamps (usuaily OWE) and are 49
in the largest configurati on. They can be ordered with noml
( FL). medium Aood (MF). spot (SP) or very narrow spot (VNS)
lamps. Same goes with the MolcPar or Pilrcan which li se the same
PAR 64 as the Dinos and Maxi Brutes but are single laillp fixtures.
The bulbs are hOllsed in banks which arc individually oricl1tablc
. ,.
8.10. (top) The Pepper, a compact
and versatile small light. (Photo cour-
tesy of LTM.)
8.". (above) The Mol e Richardson
open face 2K, usually called a Mighty
Mole. (Photo courtesy of Mole Rich-
8.12. Mole's 1 K MolePar. (Photo (our
tesy of Mole Richardson.)
the t ools of light ing
8.13. A Ruby Seven working along
side some 24K multi-Par units. (Photo
courtesy of Luminaria.)
8.14. The Dino, or in this illustration,
Mole Richardson's Moleeno, consists
of 36 1 K PAR bulbs. (Photo courtesy
of Mole Richardson.)
lor S0l110 control. All the bulbs arc individually switchabk. \I hich
makes for very simple intensity control. All PAR group lighh allo\\
for spot. medium and flood bulbs to bl! interchanged for dilTcrclll
co\crages. Also called 5-lights, 9-lights or I ::!- lights. depending 011
ho\\ many bulbs arC' incorporated. FAY light s lise PAR 36 hulbs
(650 watts). Thc FAY bulbs arc dichroic daylight bulbs: tungsten
bulbs can also be used. They can be used a, daylight fill in eOl11bll1a-
tion with or in place of 11M Is. They arc not esaclly daylight balance
but arc very close and can corrected with gels.
Most people refer to any PA R 36 dichroic bulb as a FAY. but In fact
there arc several types. FAY is the ANSI codo lora 650 \latt PAR-36
dichroic daylight bulb with ferrule contacts. If the bulb has screw
terminals it is an FBEI FGK. With heavy difTlI siolllhcsc lIllIh C31l he
used as a large-source soft light (Figure X.16).
Multi-PAR units arc an outstanding source orrav.. "firepo\\cr:' The}
pro\ide a lot of' output per walt that can he conceillratcd inlo a small
area or flooded with some degree of prcl:ision. They ha\c
the degree of control of a fresnel. hmve\ l!r.
In particular, it is dillicult if nOI to "spot" thel11. The
individual banks can be panned left and right and the \\ hole unil can
be tilled up and dowl1. but there is no \nlY to foe liS all Orllll:
or flood thel11 in 0 truly unilorm way. Tho Ruby So,en sohes this
problem with an ingenious mechani sm that tilt s the allIer ring in or
out. moving on the axi s of the cenler bulb 8.13 and X.IS).
I IMI PARs arc a,ailablc as 2.5K. 1.2K and 575s. These orc
extremely popular as bounce unit s. to create shaft s and for ra\\
power. The smaller ones can be mo\ed easily. where mOVIng a scaf-
fold and heavy light is a major operation. IIMI PARs arc dliTeront
liolll tungsten units in lhat they have changeabl e lenses which can
be added to make a narrow spot. a medium flood, \\ ide Aood and
an ext ra wide Aood. As with tungsten PARs, the beam is 0\ al and
the lmit call be rotated withi n its housing to orient the pallcrn. [very
IIMI PAR will corne with its own set oflcnses.
Studio soft lights co,,,ist or olle or more 1000 \\ att or 1500 \\ a11
bulb ... din:cted into a 'clam ... hdl" \\hite painted rc.;ncctor \\hich
bounces light in a random pattern. making a light \\ hich is appar-
l'IlII) as large as the I"ront opening. The) \ary from the I K studio
soli (the I3aby soli. also kllo\\ II as a 7S0 soli) up to the po\\errul XK
Studio Soft. \\ hich has eight indi\ iduall) switchahle bulbs (Figure
\11 ... oft lights lul\'c certain basic problems: they arc extremely incf'-
ficiclll in light OlitpUt: th!.:y arc bulky and hard to transport: like all
... oft li1lhh the\ arc dilTicuh to control. \\ hill: the i:u!.!e rdkctor docs
make "'1 hI.: Jigl;! "soft," the nllH.iolll bounce the light
.... till :-.0111('\\ hat and unpleasant.
:\.., a n:sult of thi:-. ra\\ ness. sOI11(, people put some diiTuslon 0\ c..!r
the soft light for an} close-up wurk. Big studio sons through a large
fralllt: or 1. I 6 i .... probabl) the t:asiest and quickest way to create a
lan.!t: son source in tht: "iLUdio. Onen u..,ed \\ ith the studio IS the Cl!.1.!.-
\\ hich minimi/es side spill and docs make the heam a bit mOI:e
controllable. Soft lidlls see most of their usc in telc\ ision studios
\\ here they pro\ ide son source \\ ithout additional rigging. SilH.:e
thc) arc more or less permanently 110\\11. their bulkiness is not a
problem. Small compact ,"('rsions of the 2K and I K soft 1ighb. an:
called lip lights. Thoy haw the same \\ idth but hal I' the height or a
sort light of similar wallagc. Because of their compactncs..,. zips arc
great for slipping into tight ..,paces.
Color corrected Huon.:..,cel1l tubes hme gained enormou.., populant)
in recent years. Pioneered by the Kino Flo company. they are
extreme]y Iight\\ eight. compact and portable sources. Acilie\ing a
truly son light can be dilTicult and time consuming. If it's done b)
bOLIllclIlg alTa large \\ hite surface or by punching big lights through
he'l\ y diffusion - either way takes up a lot of room and calls 1'01' a
lot or flagging to control it.
Kino Flos had their origin in 1987. While \\orklllg on the film
Bar/". Dr Robby Mueller was shooting in " cramped interior that
didn't leave much room for a cOll\entional bounce or diffusion solt
source. His gall'cr Frieder Ilochheim and best boy Gary S\\ ink came
up \\ ith an answer: for fill and accent lighting, they constructed
high-frequency fluorescent lights. By using remote ballasts. the fix-
nlCes were maneuverable enough to be taped to walls, hidden behind
drapes and mounted behind the bar. Kino Flos \\ere born (Figures
R.I X. X.19 and R.21).
8.1 S. (above, leh) The Ruby Seven.
a PAR based unit that offers addi
tional controllability. (Photo courtesy
of Luminaria.)
8.16. (toplTwo Mole FAY lights boxed
in with some 4x8 floppies for con
the tools of lighting
8.17. The 8K soft light - useful, but
strictly for studio use. Big soft lights
are very popular in television
8.18. (belowl The Wall-a-Light from
Kino Flo. Kinos can be rebulbed
for tungsten. day light, bluescreen,
greenscreen and otner color condi-
8.19. (below, right) Photometries for
a 2 ft .. 4 bank Kino Flo.
Unli ke ballasts \\ !lich can be 4uite noi:-,y
especia ll y they age. thei r ballasts \\cre dead quiet and their li ght
was flicker free due to the higher than normal frequenc} . There arc
SC\ era l companies that make these types of lights. Their secret
is two-fold: the ballasts arc hi gh-frequency, whic h eli minates
the pOi ential problem orAicker which is always present \\ ith fluores-
cent type sources. Second. the bulbs arc trul y color correct. They
precisely mat ch dayli ght Cl nd tungsten. Colored bu lbs arc also a\ail-
able for \"(triOlls efTects as wc ll as for grccnscrccn. or
red screen. Kino makes a variety of largt.: rigs which can
either front li ght or backlight an efTccts screen.
An added bonus of color correct. high-frequenc) fluorcsct.:l1 t:.. IS
thm they gent.:mtc less ht.:at than either tungsten or
HMI. For thi s reason they ha\ c become very popular l'or lighting
te levision set s. for news and other types of programming. Portable
fluorescent arrays arc a\ailabl e li'om several sourCl:S. The Lo\\dl
unit. for exampl e. uses 6 120 volt. -ll'oot. l-pin tubes. and the flicker
free ballast serves as a counter-balance for the head. The unit unl\\ S
only 3 amps and f'olds do\\ n to a compact. hi ghly portable pac'agc.
Fluorescent ri gs arc often lI sed as a front fill when shooting in a
fluorescent- lit industrial si tuati on.
\Vhen just plain output is needed. broad li ghb arc :o.tril: tly no-frill s.
utilitarian li ght s. They art.: just a box \\ ith a double-ended bulb. As
si mpl e as it is. the broad li ght has an important place in film hi s-
tory. In classical Il ol1 ywood hardlighting. the fill ncar the camera
\\as generall y a broad li ght \\ ith a din'user. Thc distincth'c Icature of
the broad light is it s rcctangul ar beam pattern. wh ich makes blend-
ing them on a nat \\'all or eyc much imaginl' ho\\ ditlinllt if
\\Quld to bc smoothl y combi ne the round. spotty beams ormighties
or ficsnel li ght s.
The small est \ crsion of tlt e broad is thc nook. \\ hi clt. as ib name
implies. is designed for fitting intu nooks and crannies (Figure X.20).
The nook li ght is a compacl. rav.-light unit. ll suall y fitted \\ ith an
FeM or FilM 1000 \\ att bulb. The nook is j ust a bulb holder \\ ith
it rellector. Although art.: a\ai lablc. nooks aren't
generall y calkd on for much subtlety. but the) arC::ln efliciellt and
versatil e source for box light large silk 0\ erhcad lighh and for
large arrays to punch through ni.lmcs.
A number of units arc specificall y designed for illuminating
and large backdrops. For the most part they arc opcn Illct.: I K and
1.5K units in small boxes: these are call cycs, cye strips or Far eyes
(\\ hich create a more c\'en di stributi on lip and do\\ n the background.
Their primary characteri stic is the asymmetrical thro\\ \\ hieh PUh
tNMUlU .6m
lUX: 3510
output at the lOp or bottom, depending on the orientation orlhl!
unit. The rcason for thi ... is that cyc light s must bl.' either placed at the
top or bottom of the eyc but the CO\ crage be.: l.'\en. Placing ryc
lighb must be.: donc cnrdtilly to achic\e.: this cO\cragc.
Strip light;., arc gangs of PARs or broad lights. originally used
as thl!<llrieal footlights and eye lighb. They arc alien circuited in
groups oftI1l"l':c. each circuit gdkd a different color and on a
dimmcr. a \\ide range ol'colors ean bc obtained by mixing. This can
bc a quick \\ay to alte.:r background colors ami intensities.
The LO\\cll Tala Lite dcsCI"\l.'S Small. cheap and
fundamcntal. its no-nonsense rctlcctor design and 1000 \\ att doublc-
end bulb trcmcndous bang for the buck. Practically a back
pock!.!t light. the Tow can be lI sed as an umbrella bouncc. hidden III
odd placcs or lIsed in grollp:-' for a jjog light or eye illumination. T\vO
Tows can be ganged by simply inserting the male end or the stand
clamp into kmait: side of the other Tota. Adding more lights to
the stack is a problem: they arc too close together to allow thc doors
to OpOIl fully.
Chillc:;c lantcllls are the ordinmy paper glob!..! lamps available .. II
hOllscwarc A socket is suspendcd in::.idc \\hich holds clther
"l11odiul11 base bulb (household. ECA. I::CT. BBA. BeA. etc.) or a
I K or bi-post. Just nbout any rig is possible if the.: globc is large
B.20. (above) The Mole nook light;
a very handy compact unit that can
be tucked into a variety of spaces.
(Photo courtesy of Mole Richard-
8.21. (left) Color correct fluorescents
in the form of a right light for the
camera. This is the ITis. made by Soft-
lights. (Photo courtesy of Softhghts.)
the tools of lighting
8.22. (top) Spacelights and lekos in
use on a miniatures shoot. (Photo
courtesy of Mark Weingartner.)
8.23. (right) Two Musco lights set
up to light a large background for a
water sFiot. (Photo courtesy of Musco
Lighting. Inc.)
enough to keep the paper a sare distance Irol11 Ihe hot bulb. Control
is accomplished by painting the paper or taping g!.!1 or diflhsillil It)
it. Similar in principle arc spacclights (Figure \\hich arc basI-
cally big silk bags \vith sc\"cral 1 K nook lights inside. For establish-
ing an e\en overall base le\'cl 011 a sct, they can be quite lIseful. \\ilh
a bit or rigging. they can be made dimmable. although it is not <.:011-
\cnienl. When cabling. you \vill v.ant to separate them into dilkrCll1
circuih to gi\ e you soml: degree or control o\'er the level.
There arc a number or units \\ hleh consist of 51..:\ eral large II M Is
rigged 011 3 crane (Figure g.:!3), also carry their 0\\ genera-
tor. Musco \\as the fir"!! orthesc. but now there arc sc\cralto ChOll"lC
from. These units can prm ide workable illumination up to a half
mile 3\Va) and are lIsed l'or moonlight clTccts and broad illul11l1Hltion
of' large areas. The main Musco unit comes \\ illl its 0\\ n 1000 amp
generator. \\ hich is typical of this type of unit. The oK heath arc
indh idually aimablc b) a handheld remote control \\ hich operate ....
lip to 1000 reCI <1\\ a) from the truck. rhe boom allo\\ placement or
the heads at lip to 100 fecI in the air.
The ellipsoidal reflector spot (Leko) "a theatrical light . but" l"eo
occasionally as a small elTcets light hl.!C311SC or its precise beam con-
trol by the blades. Becall,e the blades and gobo holder arc located at
the rocal point of the lens. the leko can be focused sharpl} and pat-
ICll1cd gobos can be inserted to gl\C shaq)ly detailed shudO\\ clli:ch.
Not alllckos hmc gobo holder slots and iryoll need one
specify when ordering (Figure :-).2-1-). Lekos come.: in a :-.ize <.Jelinct!
b) their lens si7e and focal length hueh as 6x9). rhe longer the focal
length the narrower the beam.
Balloon lights arc a n::CCJ1l dc\'clopl1lcJ1t which pro\ ide a PO\\ crful
and tkxiblc Ill'\\ tool ror night c\lcriors (Figures H.:!5. H.1(i ami
X.27). They generate a son. general filllighl for large areas. Perhaps
their grcalc'-Il ad\antagc is thut tht..! y arc much easier to hide than
a crane or scalTolding. They arc also faster to ,",el lip. The disad\ an-
lage IS that thc) can be ,'cry time consuming and c\pcnsi\'c to gcl
Wind is a f"ctor \I hen flying balloon lights. The smaller the balloon.
the 100\cr the acceptable \\ ind spccd:-; for keeping the balloon alnfL
IS-20 mph lor the "nailer balloons (25 mph for the large one,)" a
general upper limit ofsafcty. A good referencc IS to obsenc Ilag ...
irthcy'rc napping straight out. it's too windy.
Portabll..: handhdd. I:wlter) operated unih arc gClll!rally t:allcd SlIll-
gUllS. an.! 1\\0 basic types: tungsu:'11 and 11 M!. Tungsten SUIl-
gun:-. arc lIsually either I::! \ olt or 30 \ olt ilnd pll\\ cred rwm battery
belts. Some arc '-Ipt.:cilkall) designed as "Iungulls. but ...,omc arc 120
\ all lights com crlcd by changing the bulb and power cabl!.! (Figure
X.2X.) Iypically. a tungsten sungun \\ill run for about fifteen to
minutes. Sungllih \\ ilh 11\11 bulbs an..' light balance and
11101'1..' cllklclH than tungsten units.
Da) (,.\lcrior ... call be approachcti in tlm.:c \\il)""_ filllllg \\ illl lurg.e
units sLlch a ... u Brute Arc or 12K 11M!. bouncing the c\isling light
\\ ilh r('Acetor.., or CO\ cring Ih(' :-'C(,llI.:' \\ IIh a large "ilk to controilhc
conlra:-.t. L suall) it is some combination orthe three (Figure X . .:!9.)
Ollf.:e \OU h,-1\c a li!.!ht "orkin!.! \ou ha\c to f.:olHrol it. \ ...... oon a ...
: Oll be) ond \\ hal ('<Ill bi: \\!th the barndoor..,. it hecomc.., the
pnn illee oftllt.., grip departmcnt. Cinp equlpmcnt I ... \\ ide and \aried.
but in relation to ligilling control it Itlll ... 111(0 three ba ... ic Cf.ltegorie ... :
redul.:tion .... hat!()\\ f.:a..,tIlH! and dll1'I.I ... lon. RcduCIIl!.! the amollnt or" itholll altering. the 411alit) i ... done" itll nels. 'flle same Cramc ...
-, ...
16K 1-1\11
t-'()OTC,\ 01 ..... It-XlI)'!1
... n
P'C)\\U: LlCIITI;";C ()PEltAnrooc lin 1l'\I 'illl,. CASE
I'MOOl"n S17.l: WATrACg SOt..kcti \IU'_, IIEICUT lrs\GE \\'T. SIZ
11K II!>" I$)OOIWDCO! 20IVlPH Ii 'DO"It4CO' 30'120' WTa'Ib mbl. 4O'"k4l"lO-"
8.24.{above) A leko being used as an
8.2S. (left) Balloon lights in use on a
boat movie. {Photo courtesy of Air-
8.26. (below, left) Photometries for a
16K HMI balloon light. (Photo cour
tesy of Airstar.)
8,27 (below) A balloon light on a
night shot for a car commercial.
(Pnoto courtesy of Fisher lights.)
the f qlll ng
S.2S. (top) A sungun With handle.
S.29 (top. right) lighting a "watk and
talk" is often a triCKY business. Here,
the gaffer and key srip are "HoIIX-
wooding" (hand a slight d.f-
fusion and a reflector card.
S.30. (above. middte) Ftylng a 20x20
silk requires an experienced crew.
(Photo courtesy of Matthews Studio
8.31 . (above) The soft side of a reflec-
tor board. (Photo courtesy of Mat-
thews Studio Equipment.)
lIsed for nets can be covered \\ nh while silk-like.: material \\ hich
is a medium ht.::iWY \\'h(:11 they arc co\crcd \\ illl bhu.:k
du\'ctYllc they art: flags and cullers. \\ hich can control spill. cast
shadows or block on' flarcs from the lens. The samc silk-like m:'lIc-
rial also comes in larger sizes for butterflies and o\'crhcaus. These
come in \ariolls commonl\': -h-t. 6.\6. X,X, 12\ 12 and 20\20
These arc n:fcrn..:d to as Xby. 12b"). etc. (Figure X.30).
Lighting is a \ ast subject: hen: \\ c hm croom onl)- to CO\ cr the bn:-.ic
tools. For morc on lighting IcchlllqUCS. photometric dat u. gnp eqUip-
ment and Il1cthods. dl.!clricai distribution. bulbs and SCI.!J11.! lighting
examples sec .HUliol1 Pic/II/'e and / 'h /('() Lighting by lhe same author.
also Jlublished by focal Press. Photometric data. bulb deSignation,
for all of lights. gel and color correction data can abo
be found ill The Filll1l11l1Aer ,- Pocke! Relerel1c('. abo a Focal Pre ......
lighting as storytelling
9.1 (previous page) Philosopher
Giving A Lecture On TheOrrery,Joseph
of Derry. (Photo courtesy of the Derry
Museum, Derry. England.)
9.2. (belowl Caravaggio's The Calling
of St. Matthew. The lighting carries a
great deal of the storytelling power
of the image.
In prc\ iOlls chapters we ha\'c looked at the technical and practical
aspects of lighting. In this chaptcr wc \\ ill look at lighting a ke)
clcmcnt of storytelling.
Lct's di\'crt our attcntion from film for a moment and look att\\o
paintings. Stud) ing classical art b uscful in that the painter Illusttdl
the whole story in a single framc (not to mention without dialog or
subtitles). Thus the painter muSI employ every aspect of \ isual lan-
guage to tell the story "fthe painting as well as layer it \\ Ith subtes!.
symbolism and emotional content. As \\ ith thc films or Kubri('k.
Welles and KurosClwa, it is also useful 10 study thc visual design as
nothing in the fi"clmc is accidental. E\{:ry elemcnt. color. e\'CI}
shado\\ is then: for a purpose and its part in thc \ iSLIal and
ing scheme has been carefully thought out.
First. let's look at this beautiful painting by Joseph of Derry. Figure
9.1 on the prc\ iOlls pagc. It is call ed .1 Philosopher Giring A /.('('-
fUrl.! 011 The One/:\,. orrery is a mechanical model of the solar
systcm. sort of like a small planetarium. This painting was made
at around Ihe same time that Nc\\ton publishcd his nc\\ or
physics and gra\ itation. The philosopher has placed a lamp 111 the
center of the dc\ ice to rcpn:scilt the sun lor his students. The bcatlli-
ful single source casts a light so reminiscent of many of the paint-
ings of de La Tour. It is a clean, simple light \\ hich makes the
glO\\ \\ ith fascination and the excitement of learning.
Light also has a grl.!tlt power to fonn space. In this casco the central
source forms a ::-,p herc of space \\ hich envelops the studcnh. Outsidl!
II is another ..,pacc. sharply delineated. Within the sphere of light
is knO\\ ledgc, outside is darkness ignorance. As ton said.
\\ c kno\\ is a drop. \\hal wc don't kllo\\ is an ocean."
Ckarly the light represent:-. kno\\ the illuminating pO\\ cr or
the great mystcr) of thc uni\CrSL\ but it is nol.lust a s)mbol II
tells the story Itsdf. Let's go back briclly to our primary esample.
Canl\i.H.!gio's The Col/ill':!. ()(SI. \fOl/hl'H- (Fi!.!ur..: 9.:!). i\., \\e
tioncd bricl1) In thc chapter 011 1 the light I., a ('ru-
cial part of thc design. It carries a major portion of the storytL!l1ing
as wcll.
The orcan.n aggio ... \ (amI \\ thIS painllng.
the urthe Baroquc a ... opposed to merely an ('\.tension of the
Rcnai ... sancL') is that he scts this talc Ihun the Bible in COllllllon ... cl-
tings (and contemporary for hi., timc) a diml} lit (Tn.
local 10\\ Iii\:., arc drinking anu playing caruso Christ. \\ ho is gi\ ing
Matthc\\ hi ... calling as a disciple, is mostly in shadO\\. nlmost a
back1!round charactcr. barely in IhL! back at the fur right. hiS
olltsl7-etchcd hand bridging til": gap bct\\een thc t\\O groups. The
that he is in shadO\\ Is Important, as i., the of light that
across his face.
II. \\. Janson dbcu ...... es the painting 111 hiS /11" ""lOr\' 0/ /1'1:
"\los1 decisin: thc strong b...:am of light abo\ c Chnst Ihat IIluml-
natcs his face and hand in the gloom) interior. thus carrYlIlg hi., ('all
across to Matthc\\. \Vithout thi ... light. so natural \..:t so \\ ith
S) mbolic meanlllg. the \\Quld lose its I;lagic, It... pm' cr to
make us aware of the di\ inc prescnce."
Thc lighting is at besl: not only docs it create strong
contrasts and clear!) delineate the charactcrs in sharp rcllL!f(thc lig-
urt.!s almost jump out at us), the strong directionality or the light
guitks the eye anti unifies the composition. What IS unimportant
tall ... into shadO\\ and thus docs not distract the c)c. \ccoruing
to Fdmund Burkc Feldman in 1 lll'ielies of'1 /,\/fclf E.'"/}(!I'ic:"cc:, "In
Baroque painting, light is an aggressin:! liberating rorcl'. >\ slllull
amollnt or it is l:J1ough 10 the spirilunl that lie
hidden." I Jerc the strong beam of sun light is the hand arGod ilselL
reaching into the tavern to pluck Mnllhcw out of the
The light coming rrom outside is clearly the presence of the di\ inc
truth; it penetrates the dusty darkness of ignorance in the tavern.
thus the shadows arc equall y important - ignorance, lethargy and
wasted lives. As \\c discussed in t 1.\'1101 LUl1gllage they also form
negativc spaccs \\ hich arc imponant compositionally.
They arc both 1'0\\ erfui. enigmatic paintings that carry depth, of
meaning and content far beyond their mcre visual beauty - the
kind or thing we stri ve for evcry day on the sel. All that is mi ssing
is a producer in lhe background saying. '"It's awfully dark, couldn't
\\e add some fil il ight
Ili storicall y. 1110tion picture lighting has gOlle through a number of
periods. At first it was purely functional. The low speed of the film
and the lenses together \\ ith lack of high-power. controllable light
sourccs made it a nccessity to just pour as much light as possible
onto thc scenes. As a result. Illost films were filmcd outdoors in
broad daylight.
E\ en .... tudio:-. \\ ere outdoors: sets wcre built on the back lots III
open air. using the sun as the luminaire. The \ery first studi o \vas
de\ eloped by K. L. Dickson. tho co-creator (\\ ith Thomas Edison) or
motion picture tcchnology. Called "Black Maria:' it was built on a
rc\oh ing platform. so that it could be rotated to 1'0110\\ the .... un as it
crossed the sky during the day (Figure 9.3).
In Ne\\ York. \\ here the film industry \\"as born. studio!>. were built
\\ ith glass ceilings 011 the top noor of buildings. The only form of
control \\as hUl.!e tents of Illuslin. \\ hi ch could be strl.!tchcd across
tile ceiling to so-nell <llllimodulatc the light. Later. adaptations orarc
Icllnps \\ cre u .... cd to pro\ ide a degree of illumination. but \\ith little
control. Gas dischargc tubes n;rv similar to modern t1uon:scents
(Figure 9 .... 1-) \\cre used. but IOO \verejust 1"<1\\ sources. This
was not considered a problcm. ho\\'c\ cr. At that time, in the theater.
"nalurar' li ghti ng was considered to be broad. nat lighting ,,\ hlch
mcrely illuminated the elaborate sets,
It \\as the brash talent of theat er impresario Da\ id Belasco and
his lighting designer Louis Ilarltman who tUnled this trend around.
Belasco's cmphasis was on clrects to underscore the dranK!.
Also working at that timc \\ as J\dophc Appia, who bdie\cd that the
shadO\\ s wcre as important as the light. and that thc manipulation or
light and shadov. \vas a mcans of expressing ideas.
It \\as an nctor \\ ho had worked for Belasco who tran:-.lated man}
or these ideas in to the world of film: a young man named Cecil
B. DeMille. Working with cameraman Alvin Wycoff. he employed
cxprcsshl.! singlc sourcc lighting that was both naturali sti c and \isu-
ally involving. When Tcchnicolor "as introduced, the necessity of
huge amounts of light was a setback ror na tural , cxprcssi\'c lighting.
but black-and-\\ hite films sti ll continued to lise lighting ere:!ti\ ely
and efTecti\ely.
Ccrtainly. onc of the highlight:-. of lighting a:-. storyt elling is thc cra
or film nair: American films of the rorties and fifties. primarily in
the mystery. sllspense and dctccti\'c genres. nearly all of thl.!lll in
black-;Jlld-\\ hite. The noir genre is bcst known ror its lo\\-key light-
ing !>.tylc: light. chiaroscuro, shadowy (Figure 9.5). This was, of
cours\.? onl) olle of the \ ariolls c1elllents or visual style: they also
9.3. (top) The Black Mana, devel
oped by Edison and Dickson, the first
method of controlling lighting for
9.4. (above) D.W. Griffith and his cam
era man Billy Bitzer examine a piece
of negative in front of some Coo
per-Hewitt tubes, one of the earliest
artificial lighting sources. (For a more
extensive aiscussion of the history of
film lighting see Motion Picture and
Video Lighting, by the same author,
also puolished by Focal Press).
9.5. The blackand-white noir period
is one of the highest achievements
of film lighting as a story element
- this frame from Mildred Pierce
(Warner Bros., 1945).
lighting as storytellll1g
9.6. Although not strictly a nair film,
Citizen Kane is of the same era and
employs the same techniques of
visual storytelling with lighting that
is expressive, visually striking and
makes specific story points. Here
the reporter has come to the vault
where Kane's memoirs are kept. As
the guard brings forward the sacred
book which we hope will contain the
ultimate secrets, the single beam of
light represents knowledge reaching
Into the darkened space in much the
same way that it does in the (ara
vaggio (Figure 9.21.
Being a backlight with no fill. it leaves
the characters in complete silhou
ette. representing their ignorance of
the knowledge. (Citizen Kane. RKO.
1941. Now owned by Turner Classic
9.7. An example of the classic meta
phorof noir the characters trapped
somewhere between the dark and
the light. good or evil. knowledge or
ignorance. In this frame from The Big
Combo, which we previously looked
at in Visual Language, the detective
and thewoman have triumphed over
the bad guy and are emerging from
the darkness into the light.
As in the shot from Citizen Kane
(Figure 9.6), the light seems to exert
an almost palpable pull on them.
Backlit and glowing, the fog forms
a concrete space distinct from the
foreground space of blackness and
emptiness. Silhouetted and faceless.
the shot is about their situation and
the resolution of their conflict, not
about their individual thoughts or
expressions at this moment.
lIsed angk. lighting. montage. depth and I1lQ\l!1l1cnt
in e\prcssi\"c nc\\ \\ays. Many factors came togcther to inl1ucncc
thi:-. :-.tyle: technical inno\.ation:-. :-.uch a:-. tlIster, finer gmincd black-
und-\\ hite negative. faster Icnses, smaller, more mobile camera doI-
lies. cameras light enough to hand-hold and portable pO\\cr supplics.
all perfectcd during \\'orld \N'ar II. alle\ iHted many of the logistical
problems pn:\iously connected \\ IIh location filming.
This enabled filmmakers LO !!ct Ollt to thl: dark. mean streets of the
city \\ ith its shado\\ y alleys fr'aught with unkno\\ n dangers. hlink ing
neon lights reflected on rain-soaked pavemcnt and all orlhc Ill)-ster:
and menacc or thc city after dark. I3cyond just thc grill) rcalit)- and
!!roulHJedncss that comc "lIh actual locations. the challell!.!cs and
difficulties or lighting in and around real structufes .... tend to
force cincmatographers to e\perimcnt and be bolder \\ Ith their IIght-
II1g there is less of a tendcncy to just do it the samc old \\ it',
ahnlYs becn done back in the studio.
Thc second result of the \\ ar was the influ.\ of I uropean dircclllr,
and cinematograph!..!rs \\ho brought \\ illl them thc ... full heritagc
or (iel"mnn expressionism: mo\ ing camcra: oddly angled shots: a
chianbcul"O frame inscribed with wcdges of li1.d1l or shadO\\ \ ma/cs.
truncated by foreground objects or ptll1cluated \\ Ith glintiilg ht:ad-
light:-- bounced off mirrors. wet surfaces. or thc polished steel of" a
gun burrel." (1\1ulI1 Siher and Lli/abeth V,urd. Fi/III\(lII'I.
RUI all or Ihis is more that iust \islIal stvle: II is inherenth a
part of the storytelling. an inicgral dcvice. ":'\ sith..:-III
close-up may reveal a face. half in shado", hall' in light. at the pre-
cise momcnt of Indecision." (Siher and Ward). Bevond nnrrali\c.
it bt:comcs part of character as \\cll noir tile hirth of the
protagonist \\ ho is not so clearly dcfined as purely good or c\ il
\I ith Walter NefT in DO/lhie /1/(/cII1I1ilr or Johnny Clay (tbe Sterling
Ilayd\.!n character) 111 the Killing and so many otht:rs. they art: l:har-
actcr:-. full 01' contn.l<.lIctioll and allenallon. In thclr \'el") being the)-
may be pulled between good and evil. light und dark. illuminalion
and shadO\\. This reflects the confusion and scn",e of lost idcals that
returned \\ IIh the \.etcrans and survi\'or:-i of the \vac It also rcllech
the "/eitgeisC' of the times: the growing undercurrent that not all
things can be known. ... the impossibilit) ora Single. stable point of
\ie\\. and thus the limits tn all seeing and kno\\ ing." {J.P Tcllolte.
/()icC!s Inlhe Dark) that \\ hat is unseen in the shadows m:.l\ he as
significant as \\ hat is secn 111 the light .
tllrn 110\\ 10 il more recent C'\tllllpk, a Him thill light
a metaphor and a ...... torytclling perhaps belle!' than an) other of
the l110dcrn era: Barry Lc,inson's The\'lIfllrlll. Mastcrrully photo-
graphed by Caleb Dcschancl. thl..! lilm is so visually lIllifil!d and \vell
thought out that it \\ ould be possible tn cOlllment on the metaphoric
or narn.Iti\ c U\C or li!.!htin!.! in almost C\ cry sccnc: here \\ c \\ ill c\al11-
inc only the high poInts. - .
In the opening shot we sec the title character alone. (kjcctcd and
ohler. smin!.! at a railroad stallon. lie is half in light anti half in
... h:' a rnctaphor for his ullcertain future and hrs dark. unclear
past. The train arrin::-. and blacks out the screen. lie gets on. b,nd
oftitk: ... cqllcncc. II i ... mysterious. suggestive [lnd suprcml.!ly simpk
TIn: .\-alurol IS the tak of a talented young baseball plaY!.:T Roy
Ilobbcs (Robt.:rt Redford) \\ ho is din.!rted from his career b\ a
chance cncollnter \\ ith a dark and mysterious young lady. but maies
a cOllll.!hack )'1.!aJ"S later as he simultaneously find:"! Ion! \\ ith his long
lost childhood s\\ccthearl. It is a story 01" good \crsus c\ il in the
cla .... sic sensl.! and Lc\ inson and Dl.!schanelusc :1 \\ ide Hlriety of cin-
ematic and narrativc dl..!\ ices to tell it.
As thl.! story I"h.:gins. Roy is a young farm boy full of I.!nergy. talent.
promIse and inltuu<ltion for his sweetheart Iri s (Glenn Close) who
olw:.l)-s wcars \\ hite. This section is shot in bright aftemoon sunlight:
the \ ibrant energy of nature \\ ithjust a hint ofa soft filler. It is back-
lit with thc slln and e\erything is WBrlll and goldl.!n.
J lis illther dies ora heart attack in thc shade ofa tree and that nil.!ht
thcre is a rerocious storm: inky blue punctuated \\ ith stabs
lightning. :\ bolt splits thc trce and Roy lISCS the heart or the tree to
make his 0\\ n bat \\ hich he inscribes \\ ith a lightning bolt: a svmbol
of the power of natu!"!.:: light in ib most inten"Se. and pure
form. lie gels a call li'om the majors and asks Iris out I(JI" a last
mceting. They are silhouetted on a ridge against a glO\\ ing ultrama-
rine blue sky \\ hich n.:prcscnts night and the tcmptalions of cros
(i"igure 9.9). If you look closel)- . it is completely unnatural (it's
da)--ror-night \\ith a blue filh:r) but beautiful and perfectly portrays
th!:!r mcntal .... tatc. In the bnrn. as thc\ make lo\e the\ arc cll!!ulfcd
III strip!:s of moonlight ahernatlllg darkness: It is a rtldiant
9.S.The opening shot from The Noru
rol- a faceless character lost some
where in the light and the dark, sus
pended in time: the past is uncer
tain and the future is unclear. This
purgatory of being caught between
them establishes the mood and tone
of uncertainty and conflict between
two worlds that is carried through
the rest of the film. (The Narural, Tri
star Pictures/RCA/Columbia, 1984.)
lighting as storytelling
9.9 (top) Early in the film, Roy and
Iris are young and innocent, but their
purity IS disrupted when they meet
in the blue moonlight and make love.
We will only find out at nearl y the
end of the film that this loss of inna
eence leads to a son, which Roy does
not know about until he is redeemed
and recovers thiS purity which is rep
resented by the golden sunlight of
a wheat field where he plays catch
with his newly discovered son. Here
and In his love tryst with Memo
Paris (Figure 9.13) blue represents
the danger of succumbing to temp-
9.10 (above) The Lady In Black
the temptation that leads to Roy's
downfall. She IS always lit dimly and
is somewhat shadowy an ephem
eral figure; in this shot underlit for a
mysterious look
9.1 1. After years of foundering in the
narrow darkness of obscurity, Roy
emerges into the light of the one
thing that gives him power - the
bright sunny open space of a base-
ball field.
moment but there arc hints or dange..:r (\\c \\ill lcarn much latcr III
the film thm she..: is made pregnant '5) thi s ellCoull1er). As he board ...
a train 10 trm d lO hi s major league tryout. th1l1gs darken a bi!. The..:
only light source..: is the rclatin:: ly small \\ il1lkms of the train and
\\ hile they admit pknty of light. it is 10\\ angle and somc\\ hat shad-
0\\ y and makHllenl.
It is hen: that he first sees the..: \\t111li.1I1 \\ ho IS lO bnng c\ 11 and tempta-
lion inlo his life The Lady In Black (rigure. 9.101. \\1111 \\e li,.'1
see in silhollelle and Ii'olll Ihe back. USllally portrayed backlil or in
shado\\. as befits her c\ il naturc. she i11\ ites him to her hotel room.
shoots him and then jumps to hcr death. ending. his ba ... eball hope ...
Si\tcen years later. wc sec him arri\c at thc stadiUIll or the 'Je\\
York Knights. lie is in lotal darkness as he \\alks lip the..: ramp. then
cmcrge ... into "iunlight il"i he enters the ballpark: he is home. \\ here he
belongs (Figure 9.11). Gi\en hi s first chance to pl a:-. thl.!
open;., \\itll a shot of \\ hat will becollll.! an important symhol. the
lighting towers of the field. They are dark and sil holletted against
black storm clouds. It IS t\\ ilight. half\\a} betwcen day and night. \ ...
he hlerally "knocks Ihe cover olrlhe ball" Ihere i, a boh oi'lighllllng
and it to nlill. Lightning. thl.! pO\\ erl'ul form of light.
is a recurring symbol throughollt the fllm light a:.. pure
bnngmg the PO\\ cr of nature. Coming back int o the dugollt. \\ can:
introduced to a second \ thcme: tile or nc\\ s photog-
rapher, (Figure, 9.14. 9.15 and 9.16).
As one of hi s teammates adopts the lightning bolt i.I:-. a shoulder
inSIgn ia. the team ofT: i.I sy mbol of the po\\cr of light and
cncrgy that Roy has brought lO the squad. They are on a hot ... treak.
\\e meet the Jud!!,c. halfo\\ner ofthc tcam. Slim\ ami e\ il. his
olliee.: i ... complctely d;rk. lit by the dim li ght tl1m through
the closed \cnctian blinds (l-"i gure 9. I::!). Ili s nice is obscured in
... h<1dO\\. After the Juduc tries to !!,ct hl111 to lose so he can bm the
team. Roy rcbutT.s and 011 way out defiantl ), flips the i'oum
light :.. on. Then the bookie emergcs from the shadows.
Their aHempt at briber) ha\ ill g nlikd. they contri\ c to set him lip
\\ ith (KlITI Basinger. \\ ho al\\ ay:-. \\ ear ... blac"-) at a fane)' re ... -
tamant. \\ hen: th..: only illumination is the table lamps \\ hich cast an
ominolls lIllderlight 011 the.: charactcrs. although fill is adlkd for
and Mcmo (,,1\\ beauly). She lakes him 10 Ihe bcach and in
a reprise of the love scene bClween Roy and Iri s they are in
blue Illoonlight. BUI Ihis is a slighlly dilrerenl moonli ghl Ihan \\e
sa\\ \vith his boyhood girl: colder and harsher; sensuous. but not
romantic (f:'igure 9.13). Sht! to seduce him and she is COI11-
pklci> in sexy bUI sIJllmyslcrious.
NC\.I Cllllll':-. a ml)ntagc S!.!t]lICIlCC offtashbulb!-! popping. sylllbol!/lIlg
fume. cdehrit), glamour and the seduction of the Iii"" \\ hich \\ ill
distract him li'om basl'bull. Roy descends inlo a slump. bringing the
tcam do\\ n \\ illl him. In hb decline. the flashbulbs still go on: but in
manclolls subtlet\ \\c scc them in S[0\\-1110Iioll at the end ofthl.:lr
hurn cvcle a" tllL'\ fllde Ollt. iri", comes to a Uilmc In \\ntch. lI11hc-
1\110\\ .... t to Ro\. _'\s the team is losing and is "trikinL!. out. Ins
,land, lip (I igllt'O 9,19). Her Iranslu;elll \\ hile hal i, h} a
... inglc shan or ,un light. making her appear nngdic Ro) hilS n h01111:
rlln that breaks the :-.ladiulll clock Slopping time. Photographer:-,'
flashbulhs go oll"anu as Ro) into the crowd looking for Iris he
i, blinded 0) Ihol11 and ean'l scc her (Figure 9,17), Later. meel
and go ror a \\ alk. \ , he lells her Ihe stOJ) or his dark past. Iho) arc
illl:ompklC 111 darkness c\clllhough it is mi<.iti<l).\"i he
ends hi ... conlcs..,ion the) emerge into full ua)<light. Later. the sihcr
bullt:t that has been in his sends him to the hospital.
9.12. The Judge, the most elemental
evil in the film, claims to abhor sun
light - he stays always in the dark;
only a few meager slits of light
manage to seep into his darkened
9.13. As Roy begins to fall victim
to the temptations of fame and the
glamour of the big city, he once again
is silhouetted in dark blue - even the
car headlights seem to be glowE-ring
at him as he falls for the seductive
Memo Paris.
9.14, (below. leftl Throughout the
film, flashbulbs represent the glare
of fame, fortune and celebrity. For
Roy, as the new hero of the team,
the newspaper flashbulbs are every
where .
9,15, (below) They quickly become
the flashbulbs of the paparazzi as he
paints the town red with his glam
ourous girlfriend Memo.
9.16. As the nonstop nightlife hurts
Roy's performance on the field, a
slowmo shot of a flashbulb fading to
black represents Roys loss of power
the dimming of his light.
lighting as storytelling
9.17. (above) His long lost love Iris
comes to a game. Roy seems to sense
her presence, but as he turns to look
for her, he is blinded by the glare of
the photographer's flashes.
9.18 ,above. right) As Roy's light
on the field promises to rescue the
team and spoil the Judge's plans,
he watches from his shadowy lair.
This image is repeated at the end of
the film when Roy's home run seals
the Judge's fate and the fireworks of
exploding bulbs glare on the Judge's
9.19. (right) As Roy is faltering on the
field, near defeat. Iris stands up and a
single beam of light illuminates her
so that she is visible in the crowd -
it gives him the power to hit a home
run and win the game. The angelic
glow makes her hat a halo to sup-
plement the white dress and the
standing pose. To reinforce the light-
ing effect, she is surrounded by men
only, all in dark clothes and hats.
9.20 (below) As a reporter comes
dose to uncovering Roy's dark secret,
he sneaks onto the field to photo-
graph him at batting practice.To stop
him, Roy hits a ball with perfect aim
that breaks the reporter's camera;
the nashbulb fires as it falls to the
ground the glare of disclosure, of
secrets being brought to light, is pre-
vented by Roy's sheer talent with the
9.21. (right) As Roy lays ill in the hos
pital before the playoffs, the Judge
comes to offer him a bribe. Rather
than rendering the Judge in shadow
as might be the obvious choice,
Deschanel arranges for the warm
glow of the otherwise benevolent
hospital lamps to glare on the Judge's
glasses thus the light itself man-
ages to obscure his eyes and partly
disguise his evil. This is appropriate
as he appears here not as the intim-
idating force of evil but as a silky
voiced cajoler.
'\gainst doctor\; orders. he tries to practicc in secrct. hut the:
n:poncr attempts to takc a picture or him. Roy hilS a ball that
smashcs his camera \\ hich ralls to the 1!rollnd and the flashbulb fire,",
as it breaks: he is striking back at II;-e glare of publiCity that hi.!'"
nearly destroyed him (Figure 9.10).
The final climactic !.!ilmc at nil!.ill and the stadiulll li!..!.hh
burn brightly. The Judge and the hookie watch the from-his
sk)bo\, which \\c see from belo\\ as just a paJc )-cIIO\\ glll\\ <.1Il
the partially closed blinds: an imagL: OrC\ il and cornlplionluncnng
0\ cr the game (Figure 9.1 X).
Roy is struggling as his injury plagues him and It all comes tim\ n
to one f1neJ\ pitch \\hich \\ ill win or lose the pennant. Ila\ing it all
rest 011 the final pitch is, of course. a givcn in any basehall 1110\ IC.
but the cincmtlLOgraph} and the metaphor of lighting and lighlnlllg
IOgcthcr \\ itll the mystical glo\\ oCthe dying spark ... gi\cs this scene
n magical quality \\ hich makes it OIlL' of the most melllorabk flnal
:-.ccncs in American cinema and visually one orlhe most l11o\ing.
Ro\ a h01ll1.! rlill nght 11110 .... ladlUIll lil!hh (I 9.23).
\\h1cl1 ,hattl.'r am.i .... scntilllg a .... hll\\cr .....of ... UIlIO the
lidd (I igurcs 9,2-1- and 9.25), In Ulle.: orlhc truly great ofcol1-
lcmporar: cinema. as he round" the basc.:s in skm-Illotion triumph.
Rn) and his ccichrallllg arc em I.'lopcd III these gllm ing
lirc\\o,"I.;:-.. a" if millltlturc .... tar ... of glory arl.' raining on them. A "iuII..
golden glo\\ of light pcrsonifil..!u thelll a .... Ihl.! film cnc..J.... It
i .... the light or pure good: Ro) and the pO\\cr or his talent as Sj1l1-
bolizl.'d b\ the hal can cd from the Ire\.' struck by IiI.!iHninu hm c
lhL'1ll and 111\ l!.!oratcd them \\ ull the of that
is good abollt haseball (and all that it s) mbolizcs ahollt -\mcrican
lh: 1l10C racy ).
rile ghl\\ COIll!.:S from thc e\ploding lights ofthc Ikld
(the illuminating ... pint of b:'hcball) .... b) Rll) ':-. home run
(hi ... taiL-nl) \\hieh hme ju ... t becn struck by a bolt of lightning
thL' sallle IJghtning that ha", brought Roy Ihl.: PU\\ er 01" hi ... ullsullied
talent). These tIrc ... vlllhols and thc\; \\01'''-. but there is a morc subtle
\ l"'lIal Ilh.'taphor at \\ 01'1... and II \\ hat makes the ",hot so haunt-
Intd\ CHlI.:;lli\ c. \\-I1<1t i ... llUll!ICal about this shot is that thc lil!ht is
C\:-I:)\\l1cn.-. it IS all bathing glo\\. it is all arolindthelll.
1\ almost ... l.:elllS to elllHllah,: froll1 wit hin them as the\ in the
beaut) of a purl.' and simple moment of triulllph in and the
triumph of right 0\ er the II1:-.idioliS attempts of the Judge to inli.:ct
hn ... chall \\ 1111 hi ... money-hungl) inli.::-.tatioll.
\\ilh thIS clegantl) Simple but \ isccral and ('\pfcssi\ c \ iSlial image
s\ stCIll. Le\ inson and Deschanel make the mosl of and add c\tra
oj" Illcanlllg onlO a great ... 101'). a great script and a ",upcrhl\l\e
cas\. In this particular film. light i", used as a metaphor 111 a n:r} clear
:Ind SU ... tHIIlCd \\i.I)_ In lighting a part nr",toryteliing III
1110re limited and (weTtl) metaphorical but it can al\\<.IYs
9.22.(above) The moment before the
door-die climactic pitch is thrown,
lightning (which has always brought
the power of good to Roy) strikes the
light towers of the baseball field.
9.23. (above. left) As Roy connects
powerfully with the ball.he is framed
so that the lights of the field (rep-
resenting the ennobling power of
baseball) are in the shot with him.
9.24. (left, below) Roy's home run
strikes the lights of the field: one
shatters, short circuiting them all and
they explode in a shower of
lighting as story elling
9.25. As Roy rounds the bases, (he
sparks from the exploding bulbs sur-
round him and his jubilant (eam
mates in a soft gentle wash of light-
they are enveloped in an omnipres
ent glow of the power of pure good
triumphant over evil - one of the
most beautiful and haunting images
in modern cinema. The light is non
directional it is all around them,
part ofthem, within them.
be a faclor in undcrlying story points. characlCr and r anicularl} the
percepti on of lime and space. Fil mmakers \\ ho take a rejectiolllst
attitude toward I ight i ng arc depri\ ing t hC111sch es of Olle' of the most
important , subtl e and powerful tools of \ iSlIa l storytclling. Those
who reject li ghting arc oft en those \\ ho least understand its useful -
ness and eloquell cc as a cincl11 '-l til: tool.
controlling color
10. 1. (previous pagel Bold use of
color in Bfaderunner. Throughout the
film, color is tightly controll ed for
maximum effectiveness.
Table 10.1 . (belowl Color, wave-
length and frequency of the major
bands of the spectrum.
1 O.2.{bottom) Color and wavelength
of typical sources.

Rl'd 800-650
Q',Hlqt' 640-590
Ypliow 580-550
G, .. ",n 530-49(}
480 M,o
11\\.1190 <150 440
1"0100""'1<, 0000
400 470
100 760
760 800
The eye will accept a \\ ide range or light as "\,-,h ite." depending on
externa l c lues and adaptation. The phenomenon is both psychologi-
cal (adaptati on) and el1\ ironmcnta l. The color meier (and color film.
\\ hich is very objective aboll t these things) \vi ll tell us that there arc
enormous differences in the color or li ght ill a room lit with tung-
sten light. one lit with ordinary Ouorcsccnt s and one nooded \\ ith
noon dayli ght. Our percept ion te ll s us that all thrce arc ""hile light:'
mostl y because we are psychologically conditioned 10 think of them
as \\ hite and phys iologicall y. the eye adapts. Wi thout a side-by-
side compari son, the eye is an unre li able indicator of \vhat is neu-
tral light. Unfort unate ly. color fi lm emuls ions and \ ideo CCD's arc
extremely sensi ti ve and un fo rgiving. An absolut e color referencc i!'l
essent ia l.
In film and video production. the Illost cOlll mon systcm used in
describing the color of lighl is color " temperature:' This scalc is
der ived from the color of a theoret ical black body (a melal object
ha\ing no inherent color of its 0\\ 11 , techni call y known as a Planck-
ian rad ialor). When hcated to inca ndescence, the black body glo\\ S
at varyi ng colors depending on the tcmperature (Table 10. 1), Color
temperature is a quantifi cati on of the terms "red hot. " ""hitc hal:'
Developed by Lord Keil in. the 19th cent ury i3rilish scientdic piO-
ncer, color tcmperalll rc i!'l expressed in degrees Kch in in his honor.
On Ihe Celsius scale. the rreezing poi nt of water e'luab () . The
Ke h in scale takes absolut e zero as the zero point. Lero
is _273
Celsius on the Keil in scalc. thus 5500
Ke il in is actual I,
5227 Dcgn:t:s Keh ill i!'l abbre\ialcd " K" and the
symbol is omitted. Because a tungsten fi lamcnt heated to
cenee is vcry simil ar to il Pl anck ia n radiator. the color tcmperature
equ ivalence is very close for hil logcn lamps. but nm fur
HMl s. CIDs and (Figurc 10.2). A graphic representa-
tion of the \ ari ous wavelengths is ca ll ed an SED (Spectral
Distr ibut ion) or S PD (Spec tral Po\\er Di,uibut ion).
When a metal objeci (such as tlte tu ngsten filame nt or" light bulbi
is hcated to inc3ndesccncc, ih SED is quite si milar to that or a
Pla nck ian radialor and is fa irly smooth across al l \\a\e1cnglh ..... c\en
ifsomc arc stronge r than others. This is not necessarily true for all
light sourccs. Fluoresccnt lights. for example. have \ cry "spiky" out-
puts, whil: h tend to be \cry heavy in grecn (Figure 10.3)
Color temperatures can be vcry misleading: fur many
(espec ia ll y those which exhibi t discontinuous SEDs). it is onl) an
approxi mation and b rcferred to as "corrdatcd color
Color temperature tell s us a great deal about the blul! orange l:OI11-
poncllt of li ght and \CIY littl c about the magenta 'green component.
which call produce extrcmely unpleasant casts in thl! fi lm even if the
meter indi catcs a correct reading fur the color temperature.
An approx imate measure of how close a source is to OJ pure blal:k
body radiat or is the Color Rendering Index (CRI ). a sealc or I tn 100
"hich gives some indicati on oCthe abili ty of a source to rcnder color
acc urately. For photographic purposes, onl y sourcl.!s with a CRI of
90 or abo\c ar..: generally considered acceptable .
Most light sources arc 110t u narrow ba nd of the spectrum: hCllct:'
they arc not a pure hue. Most colored light is a combination oC\ari-
ous wavelengths; there is 11 0 one numbcr that can ck scribc the color
r1L'ClInth:I). Rather. It b dcflncd on 1\\0 scale:,: red blw.:: and magenta
green. /\.<::. a rcsult. most Illeh.:rs give two readouts (they arc call1!d
three color mdcrs. since they measurc red. blue and green). one lor
Ihe \\ ann cool scale and one for the mJ1!enta, !2n::cn scale. In the
orthe Minnlta color meter. the readolll is nul in abso-
lute number'::.. but directl y in o("riltratioll needed to correct
the color 10 "110rl11<1I" 011 the magcnta green seak. Laboratorie:-. Ihl' 10110\\ ing recollllllendations for gels
ba:-.ed 011 reading from a Minoltn Color TCl11periltun.:: meter. LB i:-.
the Light Balancing inde\. . Its u:,e is based on \\ hether ) Oll are lIsing
d;1\ lit!,ht or tllll!.!stcn bal:lI1cc lilm. Li!..dll balancin!.! \allies arc
in ' lahle Ill.). - --
CC intle\ Color Correction. It the gn,.::en magenta
aspl..'cts of the color :-.ollrce. It i ... most rde\:lIlt \\ hen shooting \\ nh
fluore:-.ccnh ..... odium \upor. mercury \apor or other types of di:-.-
charge sOllrce:-. \\ hich usually ha\c a large green component. The
Ilc\\cr 'Vtillolw Color Mcter III has an e\.pnnded green-magenta
<.;t:a le. Rt:commended COITeCliOib arc ... hO\\ 11 In rabk 10.-J and
Another problem \\ ith color tcmpcr:.J1ure i:-. that equal III
coh'r wJ1lpt:rf.llllre an: not pcrcei\ ed equal III
colnr. \ chance or 50K rrom 1000K to ]050K \\ ill be" noticeabk
dini.:rt:llcc in For an cljlll\atent change in color perception at
5S00K. the color temperature \\mild need to shift 150K and about
500K at 10.000K.
For rea ... on. the mired has been de\ 1"'(,<.1.
.... ti.llH.h for micro-n.:ciprocal lkgl:CCS. ;.Ire <.kri\cd by eli\ id-
il1g 1.000.000 b) the Kch ill \aluc. For c\ample. 3200K equal,
1.000.000 .1100 311 I1l1relb. To compute ho\\ much color correc-
tioll 1\ required. )OULISC the Illired niluc ... orille suurce and the Anal
Sunhght .. t (lilwo
low Willi",)" luoq\Hm bJII'
" ,
A,e with {,UIXlO1

, .
Mlt!dily \unltqh\
Cloudy ....
(If'<lr Iky
1 0.3.l leh) GAM color filters dISplayed
as a color wheel. (Photo courtesy of
Great American Market.)
Tabl e 10.2. labove) Common film
and natural sources,
10.4. Ibelow) These SED charts illus
trate the uneven output typical of
gas discharge sources whi ch makes
them difficult to control for film and
video use.
't l";;i,t.;...

controlling color
85 (Full (TO) +131
1/ 2 (TO +81
1/4 (TO +42
1/8 (TO +20
(T8 -131
112 CTB -68
1/ 3 Blue
1/4 Blue
1/8 Blue -12
1 1]1 FuUBtue
Sun 85 68
+ 81 Half ao
+ 40 t Quarter et:g + 30 Quarter Blue
f:!Lr C"'-fl-"", ",h''-!.h ",.'u"._
j 12 UVfiher ,
t-"'--r-,, ' ,.::.4 PlusgrN'n
full Plusgleen
u I' (4 n I '1!L4 Plu5grecn
.. 6 1/ 2 Mmu59reen 5 1/2
+1'3 MinuS-green 12 Plusgreen
Table 10.3. (top) Light Balancing
Index for the most common correc-
tion geis.
Table 10.4. (middle) Color compen-
sating as indicated by the Minolta
Color Meter II. Color correction
applies only to the magenta-green
Table 10.5. (bonom) Color compen-
sating values as indicated by the
Minolta Color Meter III.
desired color. I f YOLI ha\ c source at 5500K and \\ ish to COI1\ it
to 3200K, subt ract the mired \aluc of the desired color from that
of the source. 5000K = 200 mireds. 3200K = 312 mired, and then
312-200= 11 2 mireds. 5 orange has a mired value or + 112. On the
mired scale, a plus sh ift value means the filter is yello\\ ish. a minu'l
value means the filter \\ ill give a blue shift. When combining fillers.
add the mired v(l illes.
No color film can accurately render color uncler all lighting con-
ditions. In manul:,clure, the fi lm is adjusted to render color accu-
rately under a particular condition. the two Illost common being
average daylight (type 0 film). which is set lor 5500K and a"erage
tungsten illuminati on (type B lilm) designed lor 3200K. There is a
third, which is based on the now disused "photo" bulbs, which \\ere
3400K (Iype A film), rather than 3200K; these arc rare now.
Given the ract that providing tungsten li ght is cost ly and electricit )
intensive, whil e sunl ight is lIsually far more abundant. most motion
piclure films arc Iype B, balanced for tungsten. The idea is that \\e
put a correct ing filter on when we can Illost alTord to lose light to
a fi lt er ractor - in the sunlight. Kodak and Fuji now have se' eral
dayli ght balance films available.
There arc three basic reasons to change the colof of lights:
To correct the color or the lights 10 match the lilm type
(instead of usi ng a camera filter)
To match various lighting SOUfces
For elTeet or mood
To shoot with typc B film undcr "blue" light (in the 5500 degree
area) an 85 orange filter is used. The 80A or 80B blue fi(ter, Il)r
shooting daylight film with WHrlll light are ra rely used. and in most
cases should be combi ned wi th a UV filter because tungsten f1Im
cannot IOlemte the high proporlion or UV in daylight and 11M Is.
There is some li ght loss when using a correction filter and the filter
factor must be used to adjust the T/stop. For convenience.
ufacturers li st an adjusted Exposure Index which all ows 1'01' the Alter
When using this adjusted EI. do not also usc the lilter factor. 1: 1
is n01 technicall y the same as ASA (American Standards Associa-
tion) which is the scalc used to rate film for still pholOgraphy. but 111
practice they arc the samc. This is because the speed of color film
not measured in the same way as black-and-\\ hi le emulsion (sec the
chapter on Exposure). Color film speed is determined by tC!->ling.
You wi ll also noti ce t\\O dilTerenl Eis on cans of blaek-and-\\hite
fil m. as well. This is 110t related to correction filters. since arc
needed. It has to do \\ ith the fact thai black-and-\\ hi te films \-a ry in
their sensiti vity to colors. In most cases the EI for tungti tcn light
wi (1 be 1/3 stop lower. Most bl ack-and-white fi lim available Imlay
arc panchromatic. meaning they arc relat ively sensi ti ve to most or
the vis ibl e spect rum. Ea rl y black-and-white fil ms were orthochro-
mat ic: they were not sensiti ve to blue light at all. Thi s mcant that
actors wi th blue eyes appeared to have white eyes. Smaller color
mismatches can also be corrected with color filters. as \\ell. If the
scenc lighting is 2800K. lor example (too warm). then an 82(' lilter
will correct the li ght reaching the film 10 3200K.
There arc three basic filler families used in Aim and, Ideo pro-
duction: conversion, li ght balancing and color compensating. ThiS
applies to both lighting gels and camera filters.
COIl\ I.:rsion filters \\'ork in the Blue-Orangl.: a\is and dl.:al \\ ith runda-
I11l.:nlal color balance In rdalion to the color sl.:l1 ... iti\ il\ of thl: l:l11ui-
sinn. COIl\ (:[:-.ion filtt:rs all parts of the SfD color
rendition. Although theft: used to bl.: Illore. curn.:IlII) there an: only
t\\ 0 types or color ellluision: daylight and tungstcn. Tilt: basic filter
families arc shO\\1l in Table 10.7. Thc cOll\crsion filtcrs \\c use 111
film and \ ideo are called eTO and CTB (sec belo\\ ).
Lluht RaianclI1U filters arc \\ armlll[! and coollll!.! fillers: thcy \\or].;
enlm,: SI':-D as \\ ilh the cOll\cfsioll tilters. hut thcy arc llSl!d to
mal\e smaller shifts In the axis.
Daylight sources il1l:iuuc:
Da)-light itsdf (da) light i .... a combination of direcl Still and
open s].; ) I.
('00]- \\ hite or daylight t) pc Ilunrcsccilts.
( olur correct Iluon:scenh.
DIchroic sourCl!s such a .... r" Y s.
\rcs \\ Jlh \\ hilc-Ilallle carbons.
In da\ Ii!..dll sources un: 111 the ralH!.C of 5400K to 65001\..
the) c:1I1 much Ilighcr. Ncar and Ihe)-
10.5. (left) Extension frames make it
possible to gel these Muscos for a
car shot. (Photo courtesy of Musco
Lighting, Inc.)
1 0.6. (above) The Minolta ColorTem
perature Meter II.
(ontre Iling (olor
10.7. Gel taped to a 4x4 open frame
is usually the best way to add color
to an intense source such as these
Ruby Sevens. Care must be taken not
to get it too close or the gel will burn.
(Plioto courtesy of Luminaria, Inc.)
Table 10.6. The basic filter families
and their designations.
, I'
are much warmer as the sun is tr;;\\clinQ throlli.!.i1 a 11luch thicker
layer of at11losphere and morc of the blue \\ a\ \.!fength:-. are filtered
out. The amount of <.Ind humidity in the air arc also lactor:-,.
\\hich accounts lor the different of light prc\alcnt III dir-
ferent locales. Perhaps most is the bill\,! light of
Venice made famous by the painter Canaletlo.
Correction is achicn;u \vilh either "XY' or eTO. both of\\ hich an . .'
orange filters. Thl' Rasco product is X5 (X5 rcfer:-. to th e
\\ ' rattcn number equi\alent). it has a mired \ aille or 131 \\ hich
\\ ill comen 5S00K tn (Technically. thb \.!qui\"alcnt to a
\Vrallen X5B: Wrallell X5 hn ... a Illired Hlluc or \\ hich COIl-
\ erts )500 to 3400. ,,1 ightly cool for halance.)
eTO thc acronylll for ColorTL'mpcratllrc Orange. ('10 I'" \\armer
thun X5 and has <.I hit!;her mired shift \ liluc: 159. This 1ll\.!L!n ... that
11 \\ill COIl\Crt ()500K to 3100K, \\hich is e .... cellcnt \\hen rOlTcct-
in!.!. cookr sources C\uch as IIMl s. \\hich arc running blu\.! or
... kvlit :-.illlatinl1s. It b abo lIscl'ul \\hen !.!.oin!2, for:1 \\ar11ler look.
il ." ill COI1\ en 5500K 10 2940K. (5500K - 1111red I X I. shlfi
\ "Iue of 159. Warmer e'Juab posili\c. I X I + 159 mired. 01\ Ide
1.000.000 by The dillerenee is baSle"ll) Amertean ".
European: due to the fact thaI European "kyllght is gener-
ally bluer Ihan American skylighl (Table 10.7).
/\ n i mponant \ arial ion 0 r X5 is the combi nat inn of color correct Il1n
and nelltral uellsit). The pllrp0"le of this is to avoid haying to putt\\ll
separate gels on a \\ indO\\. \\ hich might increase the rO ...... 1'01'
gel noise and not to mention the additional Clht (\\ hich
b sub:-.tantial). The \uriatians arc shO\-\1l inlablc 10.9: Lnfortlillatch.
no one makes a I 1 R5 plu:-, ND filter. \\ hich \\ auld he u ... eful to
sen\.! a natural blueness in the \\ il1<.lo\\ S.
Filters for COI1\ enin!.!. \\<1rm tUIH!sten to nOllllllal dn\ hebl
arc called I"ull blue. Tough Blue CTB (Color Temperalure
Crable) O.X).
The prohlem \\ ith "blueing the lights" is that C rl3 ha ... a
..,Ion or 36'}o \\hilc has il transmission or 5Xoo. This means that
\\ hile )OU lose almost a stop and a hall' \\ ith erB. you lose only
about 2 3 or a stop \\ ith CTO. CTB is ,cry inelfieient: its 1Il0st
common li se is to balance tungsten light!-t im .. idc a room \\ ith the
daylight blue \\ indo\\ light Lhal b coming in. This is a losing situa-
tion from the start: the windo\\ light is liable 10 be far more PO\\ crful
than the tungsten lighls to begin "itll. Ifwc then lose:2 stops ofTthe
tung..,tcll by adding eTa \\ c arc really in trouble (not to mention thl..!
nlct that \\e also ha\\: to put an 80B filter on the lens \, Ith tUllgStCI1
balance film and \\e lose hca, il) there too) . In practice 1110st people
tr) 10 D\old this solution: the altcrnati\ cs arc:
Put on the \\ inuO\\ s and shoot at tungsten balance. 8)
doing this we i.l\ oid killing the tungsten light s. we don't ha\c
to li se an on the camcra and we lose 23 of' 3 stop olT
the" indo\\s. \\ hich may keep thcll1l11on:: in balance with the
Inside exposurc.
Put I :2 gS on the \\ indows and I :2 blue 011 the lights.
Put I 2 CTll on thc liglll> and let the \\ indO\IS go slight I)
bl ue. This is acltmlly OJ more reali stic colordTect and is mllch
prcicrred thc..,e days.
Usc daylight balance lights (FAYs. IIMls or Kinos) inside.
One of the Ill ost COlll1110n color problems \\1: Illee LOdaj is ..... hooting
in ... \\ here the dominant source fluorescent . The probl em
\\ ith Ouoresecilb is th,l1 the) arc not a continuous spectrum source:
111 1110st cases they :m .. ' \C11 he3\ y in green. Another probl em IS
IIKlt c\ en if they may appear to be approximatcly con'cet in color.
thl..!ir discontinuous "' pcctn.l may cause thelll to rcnder color ,cr)
poorl y. (Recall Ollr di scussion of metal11erism in the chapter on
C%r 71"'01:\: ) Thi s is I11ci.l sun.:d as the Color Rendering Il1dc.\
(CRI) . \ CRI of 90 or bCller is considered nccessary lor lilm and
\ ideo \\ork. A':-. a result. nuore!'lcellt s cannot bc corrected onl y b)
cham'!'lI1l.!. the color \\ ith a l.!.cI on the unit or filter on tht.:
call1c-ra lens. .... ......
\1..,0 because of thci r dl':-.contl11uous spel.:tra. discharge sources (or
\\ hl(.:h Iluorescellts are 01lL: cxample) can't be considered to hon e n
tr\1e color temperature. Tile black body color tempemture that they
approsimatc is ealled the Correlated Color Temperalure (CCT). On
5S00K 3200K
5500K 2900K,6S00K)o 3125K
MIRED VA=LU"''----t---"ST-,OP LOSS
t 131 3/4 stop
+167 2/3 stop
112CTO 5S00K 3800K,4400K 3200K t81 1/2
1/8 CTO
5500K > 4500K. 3800K > +42 -F 113
SSOOK 4900K,3400K 3200K lr3
CTB. Full Blue 3200K> 5500K
1/2 CTB. Half Blue I 3200K> 41 OOK
1/3 CTB, 1,"3 Blue 320QK 3BOOK
1/4 CTB, 1/4 Blue nOOK .' 3S00K
1/8CTB.l/88Iue 3200K 3300K
r 112

10.8. For this music video we wanted
vivid color and a dreamlike effect.
One tungsten bounce was g_elled
double eTO and the other flame
red, the two were on separate flicker
boxes and the shot was overcranked.
The result was a nightmare-i n-hell
feeling that fit the tone of the video.
Table 10.7. (left) (TO filters, conver
sian vales and light loss.
Table 10.8. (left, below) CTB filters.
conversion values and light loss.
controlling color
8'l Nh
, RI
Oayllg hll o 1 2 '3
Oayhghllo 2213
Davhght to ] 2 3
r.HN E IVA 'iT
)0 I}
Table 10.9. (top) Combination 85s.
Table 1 0.1 o. (above) Gels for correct
ing green sources
10.9 This pool room shot needed
to feel degenerate and raw. A 24K
lightwave (similar to a Dino) was
outside the WIndow. The exist ing
daylight was allowed to leak in ana
was uncorrected. The combination
of the (WO contributed to the sleazy.
hanky-tonk feel which was appropn-
ate for the scene.
Ci nematography
practical locations it is not alway:o. possible to turn ofT thl: tluon:s-
cenls and replace thcm \\ ilh Ollr 0\\ n lighls. ThL' many options and
combinations can gel 10 be a bit confusinl!. somctiml:s. rablc 10. 11
sho\\ [1 decision ellart for dealing \\ ith situations. Additional
tips on shooting with l1uoresccnts include:
In the field. ilmay bc nccessary to usc a combinatIon ofthc:-L'
lechniquc,. Whalc\er you do. SIIOOT 1\ GRA) SCALI ' 10
givc the lab a starting point lor corrccti on.
Shooting \\ ith ordinary Auorescents alonl: and kitIng tub
rCl11m e the green results in a very nUl color rendition. Aueling
some light s (such as tungsten \"itll plusgrL'cn) gi\cs i.I much
fuller color feeling to the image.
hi gh output units arc available "hich use color (or-
reeled (full spectrum) nuorescenls and can bL' u ... ed in COI1-
junction with IIMI or tungsten lighting (\\ ilh either daylight
or 3100K fluorescent tubes) and pro\ ide perfL'ct (olor. The!
are very efficient in power usage and gi\e a soft c\cnlighl
Full minusgre(: n is equivalent to CC30M (30 magenta) . 111 an
emergency. il i, pos>ibk 10 u'c a piccc 01,(,(,30\1.
Don t forget that most backlil'.hted achertisinl'. sit!n.., ( ... th.:h
as those bus shelters) have fluorescent tubes .... in 111('111. The
seene may look fine but the l1uorcscent cast of the lighted
signs will be \cry ugly.
If you are ;.. hooting a large arca such a ... a stJpcnllarke\. till>
tory or olliee. it is far more ellkient to add green to your
li ght s than to h'.I\e the ere\Iv' speno hours on ladder ... gellll1g or
changing bulbs.
When you add plusgrecn or Iluorofilter to li ght s they gIn.' a
\ery strongl ) colored li ght \\ hich to the e)-I.! looks \ cry \\ rung
and ooesn't appl:ar to visually match either 11M I or tungsten
light. II looh absolulely awful. You \\ ill onen lind il dilli-
cult to eOI1\incl: a din:clor thaI thIS the richt thin!!. 10 do. TI"\
Inking a color Polaroid. ..... -- -
ll.l rbol1 arc;.. gi\'c all" hea\ y ultra\ iolet. Rosco Y-l or LL't.: L.( T.
'{cl lo\\ rcducl.!s the UV output. Correcti on of \\ hite name carhon
arcs to tungsten balance: Rosco MT2 (together \\ Jlh Y-I) or L.ce
2J1. Rasco MTY a combi nat ion of MT1 and V-I.
Use fluolescents only (adding
Aoy None 01 Shoot Fluorescent
fluorescent fill if necessaryl and let the
f1uorescents f1uorescents balance
lab time the green out of the print
Remove fluorescent lamps and
Tungsten leplace wi t h "full spectrum" fluorescent
Replace t he lamps
bulbs which prOVide photographic
or HMI
daylight or tungsten balance
Add mlnusgreen gel to the
fluorescents which removes the green
Cool while Gel the f1uorescents
Wi th cool white fluorescelll s this will
Ouorescents (dayhght balance)
resuit in daylight balance Tungsten
lights can be blued or HMls used
Add minusgreen gel. WIth warm whote
Warmwl1ite Gel the fluore5cenlS
fluorescents this will result In a tungwm
(tungsten balance
balanc!'. Tungsten lights may be used or
Add plusgr!'en to the HMls which
matches them to the heavy green output
Cool whit!.'
HMls Gel theHMls
of t he fluorescents. Then use a came'a
filter to remove t he green or have t he lab
time il out.
HM Is general ly run a little too blue and arc voltage dependent.
Un I ike tungsten. their color temperature goes up as voltage decreases.
It is important to check each lamp \I/ith a color temperature meter
or color Polaroid and write the actual color temp on a pi ece of tape
"!Lached to the side. For sli ght correction Y-I or Rasco MT 54 can
be used. For Illore correct ion. usc 1/8 or 114 CTO. Many IIMl s also
rUIl a littl e green . Ilave 1/8 and 1/4 Illillusgrccil available.
Var ious types of high efficiency lamps arc found in industrial anJ
public space si tu3tions. They fall into three general categories:
Sodium Va por. Mcwl Halidc and Mercury Vapor. All of these light s
have di scontinuous spectrums and are dominant in one color. They
al l ha ve very low CRls. It is possible to shoot with thelll il' solllc cor-
rections arc made. High pressure sodiu1l1 lamps arc very orange and
contain H great dcal of green. Low pressure sodium is a monochro-
mati c light: they are imposs ible to correct.
The following arc recomlllended starting points for lI sing camera fil -
tration to correct oO:balancc industrial sources. They arc approxima-
Film Type Exist ing Source Camera Filters
High Pressure Sodium 80B + (( 30M
Tungsten Metal Halide
85 + ((SaM
Mercury Vapor 85 + ((SaM
High Pressure Sodium 808 + ((SOB
Daylight Metal Halide 81A + ((30M
Mercury Vapor 81A+((SOM
Table 1 0.11. (left) Strategies for deal-
ing with off-color sources.
Table 1 0.12. Typical camera filtra-
tion for common industrial sources.
Always confirm with film testing or a
controlling color
t nol \\ IlIlt'
J 111o!'l' ...
<..uu l \\ hitl?
.. (ent
)).1\ light

10.10. (top, left) Cool White fluores
cent with normal daylight. Notice
how green the left side of her face is.
10." . (top, middle) Cool White flu
orescent balanced against a
sten source with Rasco Plusgreen SO.
Green is then removed by tfle lab.
10.12. (top, right) Cool White fluores
cent with Rasco Fluorofilter, which
converts them to tungsten balance.
10.13 (above, leh) Cool White fluo
rescent with Minusgreen (CC 30M)
balanced with a daylight source.
10.14.{above.middle) A Warm White
fluorescent with Rasco Minusgreen
and 1/4 (TO to match a tungsten
10.15. (above, right) An Optima 32
(color correct fluorescent) matched
with a tungsten source.
l !lui \\ 11111'
I I unll' .... II1l1
\\.H1Il \\ hili
1 IUOI\ ... ' ,'111
\lillU ...
I I ( I ()
11I11::, .... lo"n
Plu"'grl' l'!1
I 1/11 I' I
I I Ullft' ..... _"- III

(11'11111.1 ':!
onl) and be with metering and \LTCI'
fail to shoot a gray scale and somc skin tone for a timer':.. glilde
On I) \\ ith these references \\ ill the color timer or \ ideo transfer col-
orist be able to quickl y and accuratel} correct the color. h1l' un
shooting thc gray scale rdcrence thc chapter on I1I1lIgl' (oil/mI.
ra) close attention to ho\\ thl! gray scale is shot an incorrectly
done gray scale can do morl! damage than at aiL
trans I\:1' artist or film color timer adheres to it. your ... \\ ill be
\'cry di ncrcl1t than YOLI expectcd. SOIllC starting points for test Ing arc
sho\\ 11 111 Table I
As with everything in film and video production, stylistiC
ancct the technical choices and \ ice \"crsa. This is cspeciall) tru('
\\ ith color correction. Until a Ic\\- years ago, considerable time anu
money spent on correcting e\er) single source 011 th(' anu
e\cry light or fixture that appeared in the frame to precisel)
(for tungsten) or ;SOOK (for daylight or 11Mb) \\ ith no \s
a result of the influcncc or cOllllllercials and music \ Ilkos. there i ....
more ora tcndellc) to "let them go green" and c\cn let many difTer-
mi\ed sourecs in the frame. This is a mllch more natural-
istic look and has becollll! a style all its 0'\ n. It has said thai
'"green is the nc\\ orange." Some cOllll11cn:ials ami ic:.HUI'(,s C\ en go
out ofthcir \\ay to cstablish thl! green look.