June 23, 2024

DIY Cinematography at Home

Published June 12, 2023, 6:20 a.m. by Jerald Waisoki

Today we bring in special guests (and amazing DPs) Daniel Routh and Joe Simon. Both Daniel and Simon have a massive amount of experience and talent - so we decided to challenge them to get some cinematic shots using only the lights they had in their house.

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Connect with Joe Simon:

►Website: http://www.joesimonfilms.com

►Instagram: http://instagram.com/joesimon

Connect with Daniel Routh:

►Website: http://www.danielrouth.com

►Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dmrouth/

Thumbnail Photo by Sebastian Sørensen from Pexels

#FilmRiot #diy #cinematography












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Theme Song by Hello Control: http://bit.ly/hellocontrol denis villeneuve roger deakins

You may also like to read about:

welcome to film riot today I decided to

shoot the entire episode on my cell

phone since we are staying at home we're

doing the stay at home challenge I

wanted to shoot the episodes kind of in

that exact same spirit so the audio is

coming right from my cell phone

I'm shooting it on the front-facing

camera so I can actually see what I'm

doing so the quality is not so great

right now but in keeping with the whole

idea of what we're doing and even this

episode there are ways that I can make

this look better right now because I am

in my office with no lights I decided to

use no pro lights at all for this


and again just my cell phone this back

wall is entirely blown out and this just

this looks terrible but there are things

I could do like for instance since I'm

using filmic Pro I can set my exposure

to that back wall which then makes my

background a lot more pleasing but now

I'm completely in shadows but I do have

an LED light which is just the lamp from

my bedroom with an LED light it ain't an

RGB 15 dollar RGB LED light which I just

had the lampshade flipped up so it's

hitting the top of the lampshade to

bounce back this nice soft light and

thence I could turn my computer monitor

on and that has a big white screen on it

that's adding this extra fill but now

with the exposure being pulled to the

background so we're not having that ugly

overexposed look going on a table lamp

and my computer screen we have something

that's working a lot better but today I

asked two of my extremely talented DP

friends Joe Simon and Daniel Ruth to

create some scenes using only what they

had at their house to see what they

would come up with and then give those

ideas to you guys but before we get into

that of course there is the challenge

that's going on right now well is

actually over right now if you're

watching this by 5:00 p.m. on April 2nd

the challenge is closed we're gonna be

going through all the submissions for

the next few days now and then the

winners will be announced in the next

episode I'm really excited to see all

these it's looking like we're gonna get

close to 2,000 submissions so there is a

lot to go through we've already been

watching some of them and of course

there's really great stuff that has been

sent in as well but also before we get

started we are going through something

insane as we all know and there are some

people that are less fortunate

and others and for those of us that do

have the means to do it now is more of

an important time than ever to donate to

help those people that are truly in some

great needs so if you do have the means

to help I completely understand that not

all of us do but if you do we've put

some links below a places that you can

donate to help feed families and to help

people that are on the front lines of

this thing so please definitely check

that out but with all that said let's

jump into Daniels first setup which

Daniel's first setup was a daytime

interior shot and Daniel is using his

wife's x70 camera which apparently is

not the best in low-light and he didn't

have a lot of lights to work with that

he could use for this either so he

decided to really lean into a dark and

moody sort of look so while he was

setting up he did say it was very gloomy

outside so he wasn't gonna be able to

use the light coming through the windows

so instead he just shut his curtains and

used his aperture MX which is a $150

light and honestly you could probably

accomplish the same thing by using a

couple of flashlights or a couple of

household bulbs as well but he closed

his curtains and since he had no grip

tear at all he used a stool and a water

bottle as his light stand then some tin

foil to help shape that light and

finally an RGB bulb to add the slightest

bit of fill which again is the light

that I'm using right here I got this

light from Amazon in a kid of four for

about I think it was $40 but you can get

this light for about fourteen bucks just

for the single light comes with an app

you can put it to any color you want

it's dimmable it's actually a really

great DIY I like to have but with that

all done Daniel had this been for his

night shot he had his hallway that he

thought would be pretty interesting to

shoot something in with all the lights

on it's pretty flat pretty boring and

again with his limited resources he

decided to go extremely moody and make

this something that was mysterious a

moment just painted by shadow to

accomplish this he just used those two

floor lamps with the RGB bulbs one in

each room but they only change for this

setup being for that close-up he did

where he took the lampshade off the lamp

and put tissue paper over the bulb to

make it a lot softer what she could do

because it's an LED light and doesn't

of course is a very specific and sparse

look but the point here that Daniels

trying to make which I really love is to

lean in to your limitations he had very

little to work with so he leaned into

that very dark moody silhouetted look

similar to if you are shooting on an

iPhone like I'm doing right now

sometimes depending on the situation

when you're shooting on a mobile device

it can look pretty crappy but if that's

the case you can lean into that look and

make it more of a grittier dirtier look

to make it seem like it made sense for

your project a good example is unsane

that film really lifts itself to the

look of the iPhone that weird broken odd

sense that the phone gives you worked

really well for that film but wouldn't

work as well for something else but

moving on to setups from my friend Joe

Simon and Joe wanted to focus on

lighting environments because that is

such an important part to your scene

what your background looks like is gonna

be just as important as what's your

foreground character is shaped like so

for this daytime interior shot right

here right off the bat without doing

anything to it this actually looks

pretty great in the room but that isn't

by accident Joe took the time to observe

the different rooms at different times a

day to figure out what room at what time

of day would lead to the most beautiful

light to create the scene but Joe frame

the shot into the corner here to give

the shot a lot more depth and leaning

lines he also shifted the blinds to

control the light intensity and brought

in some tungsten lights to mix with the

daylight to give it some nice color

contrast another thing he did to keep

the scene from feeling flat is to bounce

light through a mirror to get this cool

splash across the back wall then he shot

two small LED lights into a glass door

to give texture on the side of the

dresser here and the back wall and

finally a small tungsten light hitting

the bed right here as the light from the

lamp what I love about this is it's not

a massively drastic change but it also

very much is it goes from being

something that does work but feels a

little bit flat a little bit

underdeveloped to something that really

does as Joe put it come to life but

let's move on to his night shot which

started looking like this very flat very

boring this one for me on its own apps

does not work so the first thing Joe

added was a light in the hallway right

here this gave shape to the frame within

a frame then he added a light streak

across the floor made by this LED light

bouncing off of a mirror which is

mimicking what a light coming through

the doorway would look like and the

color temperature of this light was at

5600 so that was creating some nice

color contrast with the other lights of

the world going deeper into the scene

the main lights are - reading lamps on

either side of the couch giving light to

the cushions then he added a lamp behind

the couch in the middle to give an edge

light to the couch as well as some light

on the blinds he also added one more

light on the left-hand side to up light

the fan and the wall the corner here was

just a bit too dark and it helped to

open it up then he turned on the outside

party lights in the backyard to give

something outside the window so it

wasn't just this black hole and that

really does help to open up the scene

give it depth and make it you know keep

it from feeling like it's this closed

set then he added two finishing touches

to the scene so it didn't feel so dead

and Static since there wasn't town and

there he wanted to add movement so it

just didn't feel like a still image so

he turned on his television to get a

flicker across the room as well as a

reflection in the window to help fill

that pure black window then he went

outside and used his 300 watt bulb to

mimic the movement of a car driving by

and I really loved that specific touch I

thought that was an extremely simple and

creative way to really bring that whole

space to life and if we go through it

like this flipping the lights on one at

a time you really get a sense of how Joe

built the scene out piece-by-piece

all these puzzle pieces separately

coming together to make this complete

whole that creates a bit of contrast

because it's not this unified blanketed

soft light bouncing off the wall but

that's it a couple quick and simple

ideas to take whatever it is you have

lying around your house and take it to a

next level there's so many of my short

films that were done with just available

lighting even short films I had a budget

I mean our short film hall fight that

was just all action scene was done all

with the practical lamps that were in

those hallways the only thing that we

added was that flicking alarm light that

you would see in the background but how

all the actors were lit was just what

the practical lights that were there so

sometimes you need

very little if anything at all and often

it's just about tweaking the things that

are existing or bringing in simple

solutions to really bring the whole

thing to life just as Joe did in his

seat but that is it for today a huge

thank you to Daniel and Joe for taking

the time to help us out with this check

out the links and the notes below for

more from them and of course we have the

links for places to donate like I was

talking about before if you do have the

means please consider donating to those

who need it this is absolutely a time

where we're gonna get through this thing

by sticking together so definitely check

that out again we're going through all

the contest stuff a lot of the winners

next week

and we might do this again we'll see how

it all pans out but we might do this

again if we do we'll announce it next

week but until then don't forget to

write shoot edit repeat




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