directions for the journey...



I am a 43 year old new learner, just shy of lost in the morass of new vocabulary, finding myself unable to comprehend one thing because I am unfamiliar with the things used to describe or explain it. I went to film school at a local university, but found that the instructors were part time teachers supplementing their income and not well versed on the Art of teaching. It was quite frustrating and I eventually realized I was learning far more online than I was in the classroom. (Final Cut, Motion, After Effects etc...)

Now I need to work on the Art of the original image and it is finally dawning on me that it is all about l-i-g-h-t.

I was hoping to find a systematic way to study lighting on my own, which starts with learning to recognize light, which as silly as it sounds I realize I have never really learned to do, but rather just taken it for granted. Lately I have been seeing the green cast in a flourescent and realizing that shadows are there, but that is about all.

If you were "young" again, in this digital day and age, what would you do? What would you watch and how would you watch it? Read? Do? I know this is a deep question, but this is a deep subject and the traditional paths to apprenticeship are not open to me. I am a journeywoman on my own.

Thank you for the wisdom you carry and share...

David Mullen ASC

Active member
It's all about developing your powers of observation of light effects, whether in painting, photography, movies, or real life. Partly that's through repetition, close study. I'm not sure there is a "system" for learning this. I mean, what you mainly observe are the light's direction, quality (soft, hard, degrees of each), color, and interactivity (how it bounces or reflects) -- and then try to understand what it is doing to the image. And there are the combinations that produce contrast, etc.