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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Light From Three Directions - The Key to Good Writing

In a parallel universe many moons ago Dead Beat used to run writing courses at the Irish Writers' Centre - on one occasion he had a camera man from RTE our national TV station enrolled. John, was asked by Dead Beat, much to the chagrain of his other participants, to discuss lighting for camera. Get this, Dead beat told them, you will learn more about writing from listening to John tonight than me waffling on about this, that and the other. Some of those people are still scratching their heads. But listen up, Dead Beat knew what he was talking about back then, and he still knows.

John, take it away...

The standard lighting scheme for classical narrative cinema. In order to model an actor's face (or another object) with a sense of depth, light from three directions is used, as in the diagram below. A backlight picks out the subject from its background, a bright key light highlights the object and a fill light from the opposite side ensures that the key light casts only faint shadows.

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