Pro Tip: Lighting the One-Take

Taught By:

Jon Salmon


DP Jon Salmon (VGHS, RocketJump: The Show) talks about two different kinds of lights we used on the RJFS One Take, and one of them you can find at your local hardware store or art store for cheap!

Lesson Plan

We had to get really creative with lighting for our RJFS One Take intro video, so we wanted to show a couple of the lights our DP Jon Salmon used to get the job done.

Ellipsoidal/Source 4/Lekolite

These ellipsoidal lights provide very strong, defined and controlled light. Ellipsoidals allow you to shape and direct light with precision. As Jon Salmon notes, if these lights were a weapon, they would be sniper rifle. In the one-take, Jon often bounced the light from the ellipsoidals off a reflective surface that was angled toward the subject he wanted to light.

China balls/Gem balls

China balls or gem balls are paper lanterns you hang from a cord and socket. A lot of equipment companies will sell these for higher prices, but you can usually find the lanterns, bulbs and sockets all at your local hardware store or art store for much cheaper. China balls are great for soft, broad light. This type of light is harder to shape, control and direct, but is much more flattering. That is why it is often used for beauty or vanity lighting, and can also be used bring up the overall light level in a room very nicely without a ton of harsh shadows. Jon used the china balls to make the RocketJump office look warmer and more cinematic than the usual fluorescent office lights.

Want something to do this weekend? Grab a couple china balls from your local store and some bulbs with different wattages and see what kind of lighting effects you can create! Post them in the forum in the "discuss" link above!