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How To Light Characters and Create Room Tone

  • April 23, 2021
  • Hurlbut Academy
How To Light Characters and Create Room Tone

Understanding how to light characters and create room tone is one of the most important and subtle tools you can use to take your storytelling to the next level. In fact, the nature of your ambient light hinges on how you light the background, mid-ground, and foreground.

This video shows you a glimpse into the power of room tone by recreating a scene from the film Deadfall. This short lesson touches on the concept of emotional lighting to match the tone of the scene, and how to achieve your vision in this particularly dramatic scene.

A Masterclass in How To Light Characters  

For an in-depth view of how to take the words on the page and turn them into a scene in a movie, we recommend the masterclass Script To Screen: A Cinematographer’s Guidebook.

Script To Screen: A Cinematographer’s Guidebook walks you through how Shane Hurlbut, ASC preps his projects. Using the film Deadfall as a reference, Shane demonstrates the challenges of your location, like constantly changing light. 

This is a masterclass in cinematography prep. Starting with the location and tech scout, you’ll learn what to look for in a location, how to prep for a scout, what to include in your scouting kit, and how you collaborate with the director for the blocking process. 

Next, you’ll find how to emulate the late afternoon light and control sunlight for interiors while casting that delicate dusk quality. Then, Shane explains when to go for the close-up and how to block, break rules, and unite your team to deliver your project from script to screen!

Here’s what to expect: 


Test your cinematography knowledge with our weekly Friday quiz on our IG Story, and follow us for awesome BTS/Lighting Setups!

  • Ambient Light
  • Cinematography
  • filmmaking
  • how to light movies
  • lighting drama
  • lighting filmmaking
  • lighting for films
  • movie lighting
  • on set
  • Room Tone
  • Shane Hurlbut ASC
  • Shaping Light