Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Lighting a Film Set

I got a call at about 7:30pm last night from a guy desperately in need of some help on his film (yes, real film) set. Much of his small crew couldn't make it, and they had to get some shots. Plus, he needed some of my equipment.

So, I told him I could give him a couple of hours, and gathered up the stuff he needed. This brings up tip #1: Keep your equipment organized. You'll never know when you'll need to grab something and run. I know it's hard to keep your stuff organized and neat, but it makes for much happier movie making.

When we arrived (I took a friend along to help), they needed us to light the set. So we did. Then we lit another. And another. And made it easy for them to move the lights into the fourth lighting setup.

Setting Up Lights

It took us about an hour and half.

They still hadn't rolled the camera once.

We could have stayed, but it would have been many hours before they would have been ready for us to do anything else, so we said our farewells, and left.

It was nice to be that needed and helpful.

There is one more thing that really stood out to me on this particular set: It was "ego free". The director, producer, and my friend (the DP), focused on the look and feel of the film rather than about doing things "their way". As I was walking past the monitor, the producer asked me what I thought about the framing they were setting up. I told him I thought the actor was too high in the frame. He agreed, and that's probably how they shot it (I wouldn't know, I was in bed by then).

Tip #2: Check your ego at the door. Film (including video) is a collaborative process. Use the talents of others to make your film, and ultimately yourself, look better.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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