|Cinematic Expression - Light Quality
Quality of light plays important part in creating atmosphere with light. Just like there are countless emotional moods so there are
countless light qualities for their expression. Observing Natural Light is the best school one can attend. Natural environment
gives countless examples of how things look. Having noticed It, all we need is to proceed with known choice without necessity of
improvising. Needless to say, it will not happen unless we have seen it. Visual clue about quality of light is the quality of Shadow.
Well defined, crisp shadow defines Hard Light. Soft and fuzzy shadow or lack of it defines the Soft Light. Main factor determining
light quality is the physical size of the surface of the light source. The bigger the surface of the source of light the Softer the
Light and vice versa. The quickest way to soften the hard light is to bounce it off the white cardboard or white wall. Bouncing
surface becomes source of light itself and, since it is bigger light becomes softer.
Presented with task of creating Candle Light situation you need to know about the Light Quality that creates it in real life. You
have seen (or so you think) candle light thousand times...
What light quality would you start with to create (simulate) candle light on person's face?
Wrong choice will render expression unrealistic and audience will perceive it as such. What Light Quality is Candle Light?
Seventy percent of my students answer candle light is soft. This - of course - is wrong.
Candle light is one of the hardest natural light sources, and not unless you have "seen it" you can simulate it.
Hard Light Soft Light