MIX DAT LIGHT (daylight, tungsten, halogen and LED)

Press the play button on the image above to see it in action :)

Mixing light temperatures can be risky, and I've rarely been happy when trying it in the past. I'll often have a rule, that mixing light temperatures is fine, so long as the "mixing" doesn't happen on the actors face. Sounds a bit crude doesn't it....oh well. The point is, usually, since you can only balance your camera to one white balance setting, or one Kelvin setting, if you have two different coloured lights illuminating someone's skin, it can often look yucky. That's right, yucky. For example, leaving the above tungsten practicals on in a home while the actor stand in the kitchen and daylight pours through the window, might not look as nice as if you turned those practicals off and just balanced for the daylight.

In this shot, I had a soft wash of daylight coming through the large window into the cafe and although it wasn't super dominant in terms of my exposure, it was playing a part in the overall ambience of the scene. I balanced my camera for that (5600K) and decided to use tungsten Fresnels instead of the 575w HMI's (daylight) to light the actor and the immediate scene, which would mean my camera would render tungsten light super warm, and the down lights, even warmer.  

Then there was the issue of the back, left hand corner of the hallway (camera left), which was in shadow. I could have also used another tungsten lamp to light that area (or simply left it in darkness) but I wanted emphasize the super saturated look and further compliment the colours already present in the scene. In this case, I loved the yellowish/greenish shirt pattern, especially how it played nicely with the red and blue background and already, overly warmed skin, and decided to turn my LED lamp to it's tungsten setting, fully knowing that LED tungsten (especially on cheaper LED's like the ones I own) have a green spike, which gets greener, the lower the intensity setting. 

The result is a greenish glowing back left hand corner, which separates nicely from the warmer foreground. Vibrant colours are everywhere, but not too distracting. With a smidge of diffusion (thanks to the Pro-Mist 1/8th filter in front of the lens) nice looking skin and dare I say, (although a little tight on headroom), what a simple, but beautifully composed shot. It always helps when the wardrobe department does an amazing job, along with the ridiculously charismatic actor in front of the camera - Jordan Holtam, an absolute pleasure to work with. Cheers!

For more lighting diagrams and breakdowns of shots, please check out the LIGHTING section at the top of the page. Thanks for visiting :)

Posted on January 6, 2015 .