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  • Jay: Today on the "Laws of Light," we're gonna talk about the emotion of light.

  • It's gonna be emotional.

  • Our Mastering Studio Strobes download is meant to help you move into the world of strobes.

  • It'll help you understand what platform works for you in the type of work you do.

  • So, go to theslantedlens.com where you can get the download today.

  • Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan.

  • Today on "The Slanted Lens," I've got Nadia here with me.

  • She is beautiful and she's gonna help us to illustrate how light can create emotion.

  • So, why do we create things?

  • Why do we do video?

  • Why do we do photography?

  • What is our purpose in creating imagery?

  • We, obviously, wanna communicate.

  • We want people to be able to understand a message through a visual medium.

  • But in that communication process, we want people to feel emotion.

  • We want to move them in some way.

  • In my early work, I really wanted people to feel...I wanted them to laugh when they looked

  • at my pictures.

  • That was the emotion I wanted.

  • I did comedy work.

  • I wanted people to look at my pictures and wanted them to just laugh and to have a great

  • experience.

  • As my work has progressed into more and more video, as I do a documentary, as I do a bio

  • piece about someone, I want you to feel a connection to them.

  • I want you to feel something for this person.

  • I want you to empathize with them.

  • I want you to feel sad for them.

  • I want you to feel happy with them.

  • We want to move people.

  • We want them to cry.

  • We want them to laugh.

  • We want them to go, "Ahh," or "Agrrh."

  • The worst thing an artist can get is indifference.

  • When people look at your work and they just don't respond.

  • They don't feel anything.

  • I mean, that's the worst response an artist can get.

  • Remember this, subject matter can contrast light.

  • A smiling baby in a very hard light is going to make a much different viewing experience

  • for the viewer than a limp body of a baby after birth who has not made it through that

  • experience in a dramatic light.

  • That's gonna have a much different viewing experience to the viewer.

  • So, the subject-matter can contrast the light that we're using and sometimes you can use

  • that to your advantage.

  • But for the most part, you're gonna want the light to support and to strengthen what you

  • want to communicate.

  • So, light becomes a critical tool that we can use to create the emotion and to set the

  • stage for what we want to communicate.

  • So, let's talk about how light communicates emotion.

  • In my experience, light has the power to create emotion in four different ways.

  • First off, let's talk about ratios or contrast.

  • We've talked about ratios before.

  • Basically, just the ability to create contrast to make it dramatic and more moody.

  • I think it's fascinating if you listen to the things people say that use light as a

  • motivator in conversation.

  • "He had a dark personality or she lights up a room."

  • I mean those kinds of things are really talking about light and how light creates an emotional

  • response.

  • So, now, if you're going to use light in order to communicate, you wanna tie into the key

  • element, the things people in society say and relate to.

  • A light, bright, open scene is not going to communicate dark and moody, sullen, lost,

  • and confused as much as a dark, high-contrast scene is going to.

  • Now, any of these rules can and will be broken all the time.

  • You can take and shoot a really wonderful dark portrait of a very bright, and sunny

  • and happy situation.

  • So, I'm not saying any of this is an absolute, but it certainly becomes an obstacle you have

  • to overcome.

  • Lighter images are more open, more friendly, more inviting.

  • We feel a comfortableness with them.

  • It's the kinda way we see things in life which is interesting because we see things outside

  • in that bright, open light.

  • We're used to that kind of look.

  • When you get inside, and in rooms, and single lights and darkness, we don't feel as comfortable

  • in the dark.

  • People are afraid of the dark.

  • You know, it's a place they're scared to go into.

  • So, we're shooting all these examples with LEDs.

  • We've got here the Aputure 120Ds.

  • And the reason we're doing that is so that you can see the example in the video and we

  • don't have to shoot strobes and put the images up.

  • You could do this just as easily with strobes.

  • I do it all the time.

  • But this just gives a way to communicate and teach.

  • So, first off, let's take a look at a strong, split light versus a very open, soft light.

  • So, strong, split light.

  • Now if she smiles and looks at the camera.

  • Just a nice smile there.

  • Even though she's in that very hard contrast, that hard ratio, she still has a nice smile,

  • but it's a very hard, deep ratio.

  • Now, just look kinda sad and distant.

  • Now if you look a little bit evil.

  • So, we've now brought our key light in and up into a butterfly position and we've pretty

  • much lit her entire face, it's a lot more open and a lot more flat.

  • I mean, it's not necessarily flat, we've got a nice shadow on her nose because nice split

  • light fly under her chin.

  • I'm gonna even further kind of open this up by sliding this in and getting that right

  • in underneath her.

  • And now we should have just a nice...it's a very, very flat image.

  • It's not an unflattering image, it's a pretty image on her face, but it gives us a much

  • different experience, viewing experience emotionally than that split light did.

  • Now, if she does the very same things here if she smiles towards the camera.

  • Now, if she acts depressed...or if she acts kinda evil.

  • Give it a little evil look.

  • Can you raise an eyebrow?

  • Nadia: Yes, I can.

  • Jay: There you go.

  • Those emotions, those three expressions on her face have a different feeling in this

  • context than they did in the dark, split light because you're looking at an open light.

  • She looks very beautiful in this light, and so you have that as kind of the main thing

  • you're communicating and it becomes very difficult to communicate evil or "I'm mischievous,"

  • or "I'm feeling depressed or lost."

  • Number two is quality of light.

  • How quickly it transitions from highlight to shadow helps you to understand the quality.

  • If there's a short transition from highlight to shadow, then it's a very hard, harsh quality

  • of light.

  • But if there's a soft transition from highlight to shadow, then it's a much softer light and

  • that communicates a softer tone, a softer experience.

  • Harder light, harder experience.

  • Now you might say, "How's that different from ratios?"

  • You can have a one to four ratio in a hard light.

  • You can also have a one to four ratio in a soft light.

  • So, let's take a look at that, how a one to four ratio in hard light versus one to four

  • ratio in soft light.

  • So, I put this in the one to four ratio.

  • She looks into that light.

  • That's a very hard contrast on her face, a very hard light.

  • So this is what I call a back Rembrandt.

  • She's in a Rembrandt.

  • If you turn your head towards the light, you'll see the little triangle that comes under her

  • face, but most of that Rembrandt is hidden from us because it's away from the camera.

  • But anyway, now I'm gonna put this into a back Rembrandt with a softer transition of

  • light.

  • So, you can see when you have a hard light that has a quick transition, it's almost an

  • immediate transition from highlight to shadow.

  • That in that you create a...something that is much more dark and kind of moody.

  • Whereas when we had the softer light, we still have a one to four ratio.

  • I'm still getting...I'm still getting an F4.

  • I'm still getting a four stop ratio on this.

  • Now we're getting a little bit of pollution from this softbox onto the background, which

  • is causing her to separate more, but if we got rid of that completely, we would see that

  • dark, deep fall off light on the back of her hair.

  • But the light transitions around her face, we don't see that harsh triangle on her face.

  • We see an openness in her cheeks, so you get this really soft transition to the darker

  • spot at the back of her hair.

  • So, we're going to the same value at the back of her hair, but it's a much softer transition

  • around and in that, it's a much more beautiful light.

  • So, even though they're both a very strong light and a high ratio, we're still getting

  • a much different look from hard, harsh and direct to soft, more inviting, and more open.

  • Next is the color of light.

  • The color of light communicates emotion, absolutely.

  • Just like we talked about when we say things about light, like having a dark personality,

  • people use color in reference to people all the time.

  • "She had a warm personality.

  • He was cold and distant.

  • She's all red.

  • He was blue today."

  • So even Taylor Swift has a song about this called "Red."

  • All about color and emotions.

  • Who is Taylor Swift anyway?

  • Anyway, let's go on.

  • So, let's use that color to our advantage when we light to be able to communicate the

  • emotion that we want people to feel in the image that we're shooting.

  • I remember being on set one day when we were the paratroopers shot.

  • We had the paratroopers in the foreground.

  • We got smoke going in the background and then we just introduced a little bit of blue in

  • the background.

  • And when Lars looked at on the screen, he goes, "That looks terrifying."

  • Like, you're sitting on this airplane, you're about to jump out into who knows what.

  • Our lights in the house are warm.

  • We like that warmth because it gives us a sense of coziness.

  • It gives us a sense of comfort, of feeling accepted and taken care of.

  • So, let's take a look at warmth on someone's face and cold on someone's face and just see

  • how that communicates and what that says to the viewer.

  • So, we're gonna do this shot with two different gels.

  • We're gonna do a CTO...a full CTO, and a full CTB.

  • We'll leave the color balance on daylight, so we're not trying to color correct this

  • here.

  • So, let's do a couple of shots of each of those.

  • We'll just see how this feels.

  • We'll take a look at a couple different expressions on her face and see how they communicate emotion

  • and just see how we can fight against the color and what we're seeing in the shot.

  • Number four is direction of light.

  • We're used to light that comes from above.

  • The sun comes from above.

  • Lights in the house come from above.

  • Everywhere we go, light comes from above.

  • And that looks comfortable and natural to us.

  • When you get a light that comes below that, it becomes very unnatural, it becomes very

  • unsettling.

  • So, when I put the light below Nadia, automatically she went into this "hahaha" kind of mode because

  • that's just what we expect.

  • It's just kinda that horror light from underneath.

  • So, let's take a quick look at light high and low as we wrap up on the emotion of light.

  • So, when we get the light completely overhead, that starts to create ratios and feels a little

  • unsettling as well because it starts to fall into the shadows on the face.

  • It can look very interesting and have a very evil kind of look from above as well as you

  • can from below.

  • So, push the scene behind her, Christian.

  • Just rotate the box around.

  • Maybe rotate it here.

  • Yeah, like that.

  • There you go.

  • Right about in there.

  • Just see how we have these deep shadows on her face.

  • We're not lighting her face.

  • It's not open very much anymore.

  • So it starts to veil her a little bit.

  • It's gonna feel very evil.

  • It's gonna feel very distant.

  • So, if you see, if we take this light and we go from high and we go to really low, really

  • low.

  • There we go.

  • We get this.

  • Everyone knows this is kinda horror lighting because of the old Bela Lugosi movies.

  • This is they way they would light him with this under light.

  • You know with the big shadows falling up on the back and it's just not a way we're used

  • to seeing light and so, it gives us this kind of creepy feeling.

  • So, let's take a few shots of Nadia like that.

  • It's gonna be hard to make her feel very inviting in that light.

  • Okay.

  • Here we go.

  • Looking right here.

  • Nice smile.

  • So, there you have it.

  • We're looking at how light helps to create emotion.

  • We're really looking at the ratios, quality, color, and direction.

  • Those four things really come together to create an emotional experience.

  • We've looked at her in different kind of from sad, to depressed, to happy in each one of

  • those.

  • So, the idea is to come up with a message that is consistent with your viewer.

  • If you want this to be a strong, happy statement, then you'll choose color, direction, ratios,

  • and the things that will...and quality that will communicate that message.

  • So, you're not trying to fight against the message, you're trying to communicate by making

  • decisions that are not consistent.

  • Now there are times, like I say, with all of these things where you'll break these rules

  • and you'll use colors to help to emphasize something even though it's inconsistent with

  • the message and the direction and the feeling and the emotion the person is giving you.

  • And that's okay.

  • All these rules are meant to be broken, but at least