Get Lit: Using Sidelight for a Dramatic Effect


By: Chris Collins

I am a sucker for dramatic lighting. That’s why I was so excited when Jared Abrams decided that we should go with a moody look for the interviews in The Board of Education documentary. I decided to go with a fairly contrasty, side-lit look for the interviews which I have accomplished on the road with a few Ikan 312 LED lights. We were fortunate enough to get hooked up by Roman France with a studio in New York for this particular interview. Here are two fairly similar lighting setups.

Speed was the key for the first look. It’s quick and easy, and it accomplishes the moody look of the film. It looks alot like an Alex Gibney documentary. However, I felt that it looked like television while I was going for a more cinematic look. Because we had a few moments to spare after our interview, I relit the way I would have had I had the chance to do it again. Every job is learning opportunity, and I knew I could have done better. I strongly suggest taking every opportunity to experiment and hone your skills!

Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Paul

    I like that lighting set-up! Thanks dude.

  • Chris Collins

    Glad you like it!