Exercise: Atmosphere

In this exercise I want to create two different atmospheres picked from the list. The first one is a depressed person alone at home and the next, Oh what a beautiful morning. 

Preparation:

With the scene with the depressed person, I want the light to be as cool and dark as possible. When I think of a depressed feeling, I think of loneliness, lifeless, boring and disinterest, so I want the light to be flat and blueish, that doesn't show a lot of texture, and separates the person from its environment, in order to emphasise the isolated feeling the person might be feeling. I have just moved in an other house and we have a kitchen with white tiles and blue fluorescent light that I will use. The room doesn't have a lot of daylight coming in and gives a very enclosed feeling. I will add some lights on the sides to have as little as shadows as possible and give it a sterile, lonely feel. I don't have reflectors, but there is a light on the opposite wall that shines diffused light on the subject, making it quite bland and sterile.

For the beautiful morning scene, there has to be a lot of incoming daylight. I want to film a person opening the curtains and letting the sunlight come in, in order to show the difference from going from dark to light and the sun rays coming in and shining on the person's face. I'm only going to use natural daylight and the light that shines from the phone when the alarm goes off. 

I had some difficulties getting the light yellowish, although I did adjust the white balance. Looking at the sequence now, I think the light is still a bit too blueish. I'm doing a Davinci course right now and hope to be able to work on that in the near future. Looking back, I understand why the light is so blue. I adjusted the white balance to indoor lighting, which would correct the yellow light to blue, so with natural light, which is already blue, it becomes even bluer. 

I checked the blogs of other students as well. What I can conclude from all of them, including my own, is that the focus is still more on what is happening, from which the viewer draws it conclusion, then from the use of lighting and light itself. Maybe that's because we're not trained viewers and are too focused on our first impression, or the story itself, while it's actually our unconsciousness that makes us feel uneasy or happy. Exercises like this really makes me more aware and I'd like to practice it more and study the use of lighting in other movies better.

If budget, time and equipment were no issue, I would change my sequences. First of all in the depressed sequence, I would use a wider angle lens and film close up, so that you get a bit of askew look of the person and I would have been able to show more of the expression in the face. In the beautiful morning, I would have liked to add a shot with sun rays, so I would need an other lens for that as well. I've been watching a few diy youtube movies on lighting and I am surprised at the amount of lights that are used for seemingly natural or spot lights. I'm becoming more and more aware of the art of set up lighting and can't wait for my shipment to arrive so that I can read the classic on lighting as well!