How to properly light the model depends on several aspects, and one of them is skin color. Insecure’s director of photography, Ava Berkofsky, makes the actors in the series look fabulous. In this 2-minute video, she shares her lessons on properly lighting the dark-skinned actors to achieve the best results.
On HBO's Insecure, black features pop — and this is why.
Posted by The Movement on Monday, September 11, 2017
As Ava tells The Mic, when she was in film school, no one ever talked about lighting nonwhite people other than in terms of a few general rules. The conventional way is to “put the skin tones around 70 IRE.” However, as Ava points out, this would make the rest of the image look weird and too bright.
Ava also told The Mic that she taught in film school to always use amber or green light on models with dark skin. However, she disagrees with this, because there’s no universal rule that will work with all dark skin types. She points out that it was always stressed out that lighting bright skin is “different.” She considers it wrong because it makes Caucasian type the standard that “different” is measured from.
So, what are the techniques she uses to light the actors and make them and the entire scene look just right?
First of all, she says a lot of it lies in making the skin reflective. You need to make sure that the makeup artist uses a reflective base on the skin.
Secondly, you need to give skin something to reflect. It’s not about the amount or intensity, but think about the surface of the light.
Thirdly, Ava uses a polarizing filter. This helps shape the light in an amazing way when you’re working with reflective skin and surfaces.
To be perfectly honest, this is a topic that has never crossed my mind before. Simply, where I live, most of the people are the Caucasian type, so I never gave it a thought what it would take to light a model with dark skin. Therefore, I found these tips from Ava Berkofsky really interesting. Of course, they’ll also be useful for all portrait photographers or cinematographers working with models with dark skin.
[via The Mic]