Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tip: John Alton's Test Light



Awhile back, I remember flipping through a great cinematography book called Painting with Light. Written by cinematographer John Alton, it covered a wide range of topics from lights to modifiers to techniques. Some of the equipment may be dated, but there is a wealth of knowledge in that book and I'm glad it is still available.

One item that stuck with me (and is the inspiration for this video) is Alton's "test light", a DIY device that lets the cinematographer check how light will fall on a subject's face before actual lights are brought in. It's a great time saver, and allows for simple experimentation. Watch the video to see how to make one, or rather re-purpose something you already have.

2 comments:

Camera said...

Hi, Love the website. Lots of cool tips/tricks and just info.
I use a testlight before I walk into a room, to avoid carrying anything I have to plug in I usually bring my small LED lights OR I use one of those round battery operated led lights you get at the hardware store. Small, fits in my pocket. Can pop it out and use it. lots of fun.

DIYFilmSchool.net said...

I came to this video from your suggestion on your "perfect exposure" video (thanks for responding, by the way) and I just have to say that I love these kinds of videos where the tip is applied but the viewer is left to make his or her own inferences.

I first saw this tip on a documentary called "Cinematography Style" and it totally blew me away since prior to that I had been really trying hard to understand lighting.