Eric Kress Lighting Workshop – part 2

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThis is Part 2 of the Lighting Workshop I organized with cinematographer Eric Kress during Gokinema at Gothenburg Film Studios.

PART 1 of Eric Kress’ workshop has been very popular.
Thank you for all the encouragements and thoughtful comments !

If you haven’t seen PART 1, I strongly recommend viewing it before watching PART 2, which will make a lot more sense if you’ve seen what came before.

Eric Kress workshop - moderated by Benjamin B - sunlit interior close-up -thefilmbook-

Matilda Jelse in sunlit variation from the Workshop by Eric Kress



In PART 1 of the workshop video, Eric introduced the workshop and then demonstrated 3 lighting variations around a window on the sound stage set:
1. one exterior soft key source
2. adding an exterior poly bounce as a background light
3. adding an interior fill

Here in PART 2, Eric adds 3 more variations:
4. an exterior hard light “sun” source (with gaffer tape finger)
5. an interior backlight
6. replacing the side fill with an interior top light


diagrams & stills

Illustrated in the slide show below are
- variation 3 (the last set-up from part 1)
- variations 4-5-6 in part 2
(you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate the slide show)


the video

During the workshop Eric was wonderful about sharing every step of his creative process, honestly describing problems encountered, and clearly explaining his problem-solving approach.

Watch on YouTube

Go to Part 3



I feel that Eric’s addition of sunlight really transforms the scene. This is a good example of how a touch of hard light can make a scene come alive.

In the Master Class that we held before the Workshop, Eric stated that he felt that he “didn’t really understand how to use top light”. It’s to his credit that he proposed top light as a variation in the Workshop. The 800 watt Joker prepped for Matilda’s top light was too strong, so a little time was spent bringing it down. This included increasing the soft key light and closing down the lens. We switched to a 200-watt top light for the reverse shot.

In any case, Eric was not happy with the final top light result, but he thought it interesting to show the Workshop how the high source changes Matilda’s face. I agree that the look is less flattering than the side fill, but it could definitely work for some stories or settings. The master of effective top light is, of course, the great Gordon Willis.


workshop & video credits

cinematographer – Eric Kress

moderator – Benjamin B

Matilda Jelse
Pontus Tornqvist Loven

gaffer – Luisa Fanciullacci
1st AC – Filip Lyman
set designer – Kristina Sandfors
on-set DIT/editor – Jonas Andersson

producers – Benjamin B & Michael Petersen
Gokinema at Gothenburg Film Studios

with the support of
Marc Galerne – K5600 Lighting Europe
Jacques Delacoux – Transvideo
Anders Johannsson – Media Teknik

video cameramen – Abdul Danesh, Michael Petersen, Nokokure Zaire
video editor – Barbaros Gokdemir
video by Benjamin B



Eric Kress Lighting Workshop – PART 3

Eric Kress website
imdb: Eric Kress
wikipedia: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009 by Niels Arden Oplev)
YouTube: trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
wikipedia: Borgen TV series

Gokinema – yearly event with workshops, seminars, trade show
Gothenburg Film Studios

K5600 Lighting

Barbaros Gokdemir on vimeo
imdb: Barbaros Gokdemir

Robert Hardy offers insightful comments on the Part 2 video for nofilmschool



Eric Kress Lighting Workshop – PART 1

Eric Kress Lighting Workshop – PART 3

Eric Kress Lighting Workshop – PART 4

see part 3 or 4 for links to download the dailies


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