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Hurlbut Academy Podcast EP. 55 – Rise of the Podcaster

  • December 31, 2019
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Hurlbut Academy Podcast EP. 55 – Rise of the Podcaster

We have heard your requests loud and clear! The Hurlbut Academy podcast is returning for 2020. Lydia are thrilled to be able to sit down and tackle ALL your burning questions about cinematography and filmmaking in the upcoming year. 

We’ve got a KILLER set of questions right off the bat, all about lighting; specifically ratios, scrims, and sound stages. What’s my secret sauce for getting the balance between foreground and background light ratios? How do you get the sun to work FOR YOU and not AGAINST YOU when working outdoors? And lastly, how do you work with a production designer on a sound stage to make sure their set builds will be conducive to beautiful lighting and not a hindrance? Hint; If the audience is looking at the ceiling then we’re NOT doing our job right.

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Submit Podcast Questions Here for Shane or Lydia


QUESTION 1: (00:00:26 – 00:08:39) 

Hi Shane, You’ve given us a lot of really useful information about lighting ratios between key, fill, and back-lights on a person. Could you give us your take on what sort of ratios you use in-between subjects, backgrounds, and set dressing in the frame? Especially some of the choices you made on Fathers and Daughters? I just watched it recently, and some of the lighting made me actually say “holy &@!# that’s nice!”.

– Paul

Question 2: (00:08:40 – 00:15:52)


Thanks for all you do for the Hurlbut Academy…I’ve learned a ton.

I want to become more effective at outdoor lighting in the use of scrims, bounce, and negative fill. Do you have recommendations on strategies regarding determining best use of different sizes and intensities of scrim diffusion and how to balance the brightness of the background and foreground when using overhead sunlight diffusions such as silks etc? Also, do you default to certain combinations of scrims, bounce and negative fill. Also, how do you best avoid showing overhead scrim shadows when shooting full body or wider? Any comments or tips you could provide would be appreciated.


Jeremy Wiese

Question 3: (00:15:54 – 00:31:20)

Hey Shane!

Thank you for a great site, as I’m progressing as a dp and now starting to shoot episodic work abroad with bigger budgets and bigger crews I still use your site and it is still a big help for me, thanks a lot Shane!

In two months I’m shooting 6 drama episodes for one of the biggest TV channels in a European country, it’s going to be aired at prime time and we’re shooting 95 % on a sound stage. I’ve shoot around 40 drama episodes but I’ve actually never shoot any episodic work on a sound stage before.

I want to ask you two things. I’ve never worked with translites, I’ve heard from other dp’s that it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, that you see reflections, that it’s really hard to make it look realistic and so on. I even saw a drama series we’re the dp used white see-through curtains in front of the windows to cover up the bad translites outside.

Tell me Shane, how should I make it look real so I don’t have to cover up the windows? Is the rosco soft drop to any help?

And the second question: Should I light everything from the windows or should I also rig lights over the set? I’ve seen many drama series where they shoot on a sound stage but you still see the ceiling, does that mean that there is a ceiling above or do they just put a piece of ceiling on a part of the stage when needed? What is your advice for me?

Thanks a lot,


Submit your podcast questions to Shane and Lydia.


All audio edited on HP Z840 workstations using HP Z24x DreamColor monitors.

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