How to Prep Narrative Storytelling: Illumination Experience

INCLUDED IN THIS LESSON:  45 minutes of Instructional Video

IN THIS LESSON YOU WILL LEARN:  With over 30 years of experience dealing with everything that a production can throw at you, in this Lesson Shane Hurlbut, ASC shares his process of prepping for a shoot as Director of Photography. These are techniques will make you quicker on set, allowing you to be more creative while fitting more into your days. Shane will guide you with his techniques that will help to enhance the mood and performances on screen and unite your crew under a single vision. Look Books, Scrap, Breakdowns, Shot Lists, Rules of Engagement to name a few will be showcased.  He uses the most challenging examples from his feature films to demonstrate his points, but these are techniques that anyone can apply to projects of any size.

  • Shane’s 6 Steps for Success
  • What to look for on location scouts
  • How to create your “visual rules”
  • How to enhance the emotion and tone of a scene with camera & lighting
  • How camera & lighting can enhance a performance
  • How to establish your look + communicate that to the entire production
  • Tips on building a lookbook
  • How to keep the team united under a single vision
  • Creating lighting/camera plans for shoots
  • The power of keyframes: what they are and how to find them
  • How to maintain tone and emotion through a scene
We are directing all comments and questions to our New Forum, please find the related course in the forum’s categories to submit.

Oleg 16 days ago

Hi, Shane! What was the distance form those M8’s to actors and what’s your exposure was on these scene ?

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    16 days ago

      @Oleg HI Oleg, The M8's were about 12 feet away from the actors, my exposure was around a 8-11 split. Then we used ND to get us around a 2.0 or 2.8.8

    • Oleg    10 days ago

      @Oleg Thanks. Did You use Vari ND filters or prefer conventional ones, like 0.3, 0.6 etc ?

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    9 days ago

      @Oleg Hi Oleg, Vari ND's use polarization for the Variable nature of the ND, this is not good for skin tones. It makes them look like they are wearing powder and you lose vitality and all reflections that give the skin life

cinarunal 21 days ago

Hi Shane, Thank you for this valuable course firstly. I wonder is there any specific reason that you used “joker” lights to bounce off. Also, it is my one of the main study for a while: ambient light or room tone as you describe. Which lights did you set provide it in this scene; Jokers or Arri 18k? Thank you:)

    • cinarunal    21 days ago

      @cinarunal I wanted to edit my first question; I meant why did you need to use Joker light for its specific feature, I wonder because I haven't heard that light before. Thank you:)

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    20 days ago

      @cinarunal K5600 is the manufacturer of these lights, they also can be turned into BUG lite's and used in China Balls as well as JoLeko's where you can turn your Tungsten ETC Source 4 Leko into an HMI Leko, which I also do all the time. I have 4 always on my Lighting Truck.

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    20 days ago

      @cinarunal Here is the link to the lights, they have tutorial videos as well.

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    20 days ago

      @cinarunal Sorry, Cinarunal, posted on the wrong line, here you go , The Joker comes in 200, 400, 800, and 1600 Watt. It is a very small HMI that packs a ton of punch. So this is why I like using them when I am creating room tone or room ambience, many times on location you have limited space and these smaller HMI units are perfect for that. I also use the Arri Sky Panel s60's and 30's for this, as well as the Kino Flo Selects

Bernard Lim 21 days ago

Thank you for making this tutorial free during the lockdown, it’s really amazing to access such knowledge and perspective on filmmaking, really appreciate it!

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    20 days ago

      @Bernard Lim Hi Bernard Lim, The Joker comes in 200, 400, 800, and 1600 Watt. It is a very small HMI that packs a ton of punch. So this is why I like using them when I am creating room tone or room ambience, many times on location you have limited space and these smaller HMI units are perfect for that. I also use the Arri Sky Panel s60's and 30's for this, as well as the Kino Flo Selects

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    20 days ago

      @Bernard Lim Hi Bernard, thank you for the kind words my friend and the support. Please continue to share with others

NANO CARULLA 26 days ago

Videos are not working!! :=(

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    26 days ago

      @NANO CARULLA Hi Nano, We are working on fixing this, ghost in the machine, you can go on the Blog and see it immediately as a quick fix

Andre Turazzi 27 days ago

Hi, thank you very much for sharing this course. My cinematography master got suspended for the moment and it’s been great to keep studying with your course.

    • Andre Turazzi    27 days ago

      @Andre Turazzi Never thought about having different light directions acting together and solving the multiple shadows with flags, it just opened a door in my head. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    27 days ago

      @Andre Turazzi Hi Andre, I am so glad we were able to keep you studying. This is one my best courses I have ever created, enjoy my friend. Shaping light is one of the biggest concepts to understand as a cinematographer. I started out as a key grip and learned all these skills first hand

    • Humza Tariq    26 days ago

      @Andre Turazzi can't find any video here

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    24 days ago

      @Andre Turazzi The video is there, if you are having problems, just go to the Free Blog on our site and you can view it there

dislamedia Today

I’ve learned so much from the use of bouncing light and the power of “the first stroke” of light! Thank you. Most places teach theory and then expect you to implement, you teach implementation and strategy, and help us internalize with the theory behind your decisions.

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    Today

      @dislamedia Hi Dislamedia, You got it, it is a style of teaching that my Mom taught me. I feel that many teach theory because they do not understand how to actually do it, so I have chosen to teach in this style and I am so glad that you all are responding to it. Thank you for your kind words

Vital Butinar Today

Hi Shane first thank you for making this available. Last year I shot a short and we had no budget and very little time. So we were forced to use practice lights wherever possible. The night exteriors done in a part of old town were great because we just had to find places where the talent was light by the streetlight as a key and the one across the street as a back light. Day exteriors were great because because we used the parks trees as diffusion and only had a bounce underneath the talent. The green house was a challenge because because of so much light but thankfully defused by stained glass and only needed a bounce for close ups. Really great to learn about motivation of the feeling of the scene. That’s really great and useful.

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    Today

      @Vital Butinar Hi Vital, You are so welcome my friend, so glad you are taking these techniques and using them so wisely. I had a call with a member yesterday and I was telling him to continue to look for locations that light themselves, even on my large budget projects I am looking for the same thing. How can this location light itself, so I have to do minimal work, because minimal and keeping it simple always looks the best, because it looks EFFORTLESS.

    • Vital Butinar    30 days ago

      @Vital Butinar Thank you Shane! You're right, with the projects we're dealing with we have to rely on locations being light well already so that we can just add a little if needed. With the project I mentioned we had the added restriction of finding locations that looked like 1880's London (Sherlock Holmes story and era) but thankfully our home town has an area that would pass for that and in addition got to use an old disused mansion. For a no budget, almost no prep, small crew and only one and a half day shoot I think we did good. But it really is amazing how much these little digital sensors let you push it with existing lighting. I cannot even imagine how hard working with film stock must be even though I hope that one day I have the chance to work with it. I also love how you talked about the motivation for the scene lighting and also framing and movement. When I started thinking about this, it's interesting because you don't notice it when it's done well but you immediately notice the lack of it in some works. Really interesting and something to think about in the future.

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    27 days ago

      @Vital Butinar Hi Vital, Be obsessed with the subtleties that end up making a big statement over 2 hours in a film.

Vital Butinar Today

Hi Shane first thank you for making this available.

Durgesh Wagle 1 days ago

Hi Shane, #Respect ,Thanks for releasing this for all of us during this difficult time, enjoying this stuff, wish u & ur family be in best of ur health..cheers!

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    1 days ago

      @Durgesh Wagle Hi Durgesh, You are very welcome my friend. Thank you for asking about our family, we are healthy and staying positive

Mevin Hektop 2 days ago

Thank you so much!

olamesmer 2 days ago

Hi Shane, thank you so much for releasing this amazing tutorial for free, it’s much appreciated, especially in this time of lockdown! Really enjoyed your lighting breakdown of the Media Room scene: may I ask if there’s any particular reason you used Celeb 400 bounced off 4×8 as your fill, and how does bouncing a soft source compare to bouncing a hard/directional one? Thanks very much in advance!

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    2 days ago

      @olamesmer I love soft source into bounces, ever since the Arri Sky Panels and Kino Flo Celebs and Selects were released. A hard controllable light is all good as well into a bounce but know that it will be a harder source. You can see it as the hard light will sheen your bounce source and have a hot spot, with the panels you do not have that. I also like having the ability to change the color temp to infuse cooler or warmer tones into the shadows

    • olamesmer    2 days ago

      @olamesmer Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly Shane! This is great to know, I often wondered about the difference, it makes so much sense! I can't wait to get back to shooting once the world is back to normal. Thanks again and warmest wishes from London - I hope you and Lydia are keeping well and safe!

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    2 days ago

      @olamesmer You are very welcome. Warm wishes and healthy hugs and thoughts from from CALI IN LOCKDOWN

    • olamesmer    2 days ago

      @olamesmer <3 <3 <3