The Basics of Shane Hurlbut’s Go-To Lighting Kit

Shane Hurlbut continues his excellent series discussing not only the gear he shoots with but the creative processes behind how he lights his sets:

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Maurice said, “I want to tell stories, not just cover it.”

Look at the line above. This is what all of you have to find in your soul. Be a storyteller, not just a shooter. There is a difference between being a Director of Photography and a shooter. A shooter asks the director how he wants it to look and feel and is constantly asking for guidance. A Director of Photography takes the treatment and visually dissects it, looks at what the story is and how he can best tell this story, and presents a visual landscape to deliver the director’s vision. A DP has a point of view; a shooter needs the director to give him the point of view. So with this in mind, how am I going to put together a package that will be small, nimble, versatile and inexpensive? We have a smaller budget and still need to deliver the visual landscape that I pitched to Maurice.

“Lighting Ideas for Small Spaces”

I knew that we were going into family homes and that they were not going to be palatial mansions; they were working class. We needed a B-Roll run and gun package that required no generators. We had to plug this into walls and not blow circuits.

In thinking this all through, you need to be very versatile with your lights and be able to react to things that are thrown at you. We knew that we were going in without seeing many locations ahead of time. I wanted to give Maurice a much bigger look than expected, but keep it real. Here is the deal. We can go for a stylized look, shallow focus, swing a tilt, contrast in lighting, pool lighting, top light, etc. But is that conveying the message? We want to present these people as real people, in their family homes, so anything other than natural lighting will fail to tell the story.

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