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Single Light Run & Gun Setups
In the landscape of video production styles, Run & Gun has its own particular set of needs and tools. Run & Gun is a fast moving shooting style, often characterized by going quickly from location to location, and using fast lighting setups that are simple yet effective. Run & Gun work is great for developing your shooting production instincts, because often you have to size up a location and make decisions quickly. Equipment must be compact, portable, quick & easy to use, and versatile.

Todays HD cameras are more sensitive in lower light levels, and can often yield satisfactory results in a number of ambient light settings. Earlier cameras were less light sensitive, and this often meant fully lighting every part of a location. But nowadays, cameras can allow you to capture the existing ambience of a location and then just add some fill light to feature your subject. This lets you to more realistically convey the look of your location, without sacrificing the cosmetic need to make your subject look good. Reality TV has traded heavily on Run & Gun production style.
Each of the following setups will use just one light in addition to the ambient light of the location. It is not unusual that, when we are learning about lighting, we begin with 'available light'. It is valuable to learn how to read, or see, natural light as it changes with the day, the season, and even by the moment.

Often is its necessary to also use some level of light controls to trim or soften light suitably. We will show different lights / accessories being used, for variety, but you will see that often the same questions are being considered in each of these setups. Combined, these examples will help you develop an instinct for lighting quickly and minimally.
Quick Links Store Interior
Art Gallery Interior
Office Files Interior
Cabin Exterior



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Store Interior, Daylit by Large Windows with Northern Light
light with blender The building we are shooting in has an entire wall of large north facing windows with an overhang that further shields them from direct sunlight. There is no interior lighting in use.

Traditionally, studios used for painting or photographing portraits were built with large north facing windows, that generally only received the broad soft skylight without the harder rays directly from the sun.

The large windows provide a soft but directional light that is dramatic on the artifacts in this historic store, however the building is rather narrow & deep, and it contains dark furnishings. As a result, the light level falls off quickly when we go towards the back of the store.
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We are limited by having to share the single AC outlet in the entire store, located far in the back room. So we can safely plug in only one light, with a relatively low power rating.
 
The lack of reflective surfaces means there is little natural fill in the lighting. While this can be beautiful for some types of moody image making, in addition to it being dark, we feel it looks too contrasty on our model. We need to add a light.
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The light we are using is the Rifa eX 66 softlight. Rifa eX is a 750W max. tungsten-halogen fixture, that can swap to accessory lampheads for either lower wattage tungsten lamps or daylight corrected fluorescents. We start with the TH-X300 tungsten lamphead and a 200W lamp, because the full strength of 750W would be too bright, causing us to close down the lens iris and losing the natural daylit effect from the windows. We placed the light on the right side of the camera, opposite the windows, to balance the two light sources on her face. The camera is still white balanced for the daylit window light.
It has an obvious warmer tone than before, and in the proper context it may be interpreted as coming from a room lamp just out of the frame. You may want to have placed a dim 'prop' table lamp in an establishing shot, to justify this obvious second light source and the mix of daylight & tungsten color temperatures.

It looks workable, but we miss the cooler daylit feel, especially for its effect on the light bluish/green walls. The tungsten also seems a little too bright, so we decide to make a quick change.
 
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We quickly swap the tungsten lamphead for a FLO-X3 head and choose three 27W daylight flo lamps. The lampheads 3 separate switches allow us to vary its output. If the tungsten lamp had been on longer, we would need to let it cool down a bit before removing its lamphead.
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With our camera still white balanced for daylight, the effect is instantly more natural looking. The daylight from the Rifa eX fluorescent lamps mixes well with the indirect daylight of the windows, and by turning off 2 of the day flo lamps we make the window side look brighter, adding to the realism.

If we were using a tungsten fixture without ability to switch to daylight, we could also gel it with a daylight blue gel, but it would cut down our output level. Sometimes that's a deciding factor.
This setup gives us what is called 'hatchet lighting', in which the key and fill lights cut a line straight down the middle of the face. It is a valid style and can appear fairly realistic if done carefully. (see Components of Interview Lighting)
 
 
 
 
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A equally valid and more natural cinematic approach might be to reinforce and 'extend' the coverage of the light from the windows around the model's face. We achieve this by placing the Rifa eX on the window side of the camera, and then slowly moving it towards the center position as we watch it extend the daylight a little more towards the dark side of her face. It is a more dramatic way of lighting.

You will hear this referred to as 'extending the wrap', since it increases the lights ability to wrap around her face, or 'bringing the light further into the room'.
While counter intuitive, when done well it appears to naturally extend the effect of the window while not looking artificially lit.

This type of effect is done in the controlled environs of the studio by having Fill light on the same side as the Key light.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Here's another shot in the same location. In this case the setting is lit brightly enough for our subject, however the background, which contains visual interest, is dark and murky. We decide to use a small focusable fixture (in this case a 200W focusable Pro-light) to add some warm accent light. We added a metal Accessory Scrim to the front of the light to cut down its brightness without dimming. Dimming a tungsten-halogen lamp would shift its color temperature warmer. Notice how adding just this little accent light makes for a more dynamic and interesting image. It tells more of the visual story of this little shop.
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