On the discoveries of how to light for HDR photography, and how the standard choices for film and theater create a lot of work for the post-production workflow.
As Syndicate moves towards its conclusion next week, I hope you’re enjoying not only the story but the soft beauty of the photography we present here. Photography is kind of our thing, our schtick if you will, but you’d be surprised how much we’re still discovering about how to do it well. Most of our team comes from theater and film backgrounds, where the rules and results of stage picture, presentation, and lighting are completely different. Theater light focuses on hitting the actors where they are and toning down everything else, counting on the audience’s eyes to adjust according to the changing overall light levels; film light focuses on contrast and multiple sources, each of varying brightness to make the actors “pop” on camera.
When lighting for HDR, the biggest factors are not how bright or dark the scene is overall (gamma), but how wide of a range there is between the brightest part (white point) and darkest part (black point), how many different measurements of brightness are between them (levels), how these levels are distributed (luminosity), and how smoothly or dramatically the levels transition between one another (contrast). Earlier I lamented shooting in and near direct sunlight for exactly this reason, but for shoots like Syndicate we’re in the opposite situation and it’s simply stunning.
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