Tag Archives: Lighting

Lighting and Filming a Nativity Scene

30 Dec


Earlier this month I took the role of DOP (Director of Photography) on a couple of Christmas videos for Mapleview Community Church in Barrie. Lydia and I have been attending for a few years now, and I’ve been working more and more with their media pastor, Michael Fess. On top of dozens of other roles he plays, Mike takes care of video production.

Mike had a couple ideas for some videos he wanted to create for the Christmas Eve service at Mapleview, and asked if I would help out. He produced, directed and edited the videos and left the cinematography, and lighting in my hands.

Producing can take up a lot of time. Getting costumes, locations, equipment, talent, storyboards – and keeping people happy on set all takes time and energy. Good producing makes the shooting of a video a smooth experience. It allows the day of filming to simply go from point A to point B – with everything in order to do so. For me, it was really nice to be able to step onto the set with the equipment, and basically start lighting the scene in a way that suited the story Mike wanted to tell. I didn’t have to worry about all the production stuff – and could focus entirely on lighting and filming.


ChineseLantern_FilmLightingOne of the most fun parts of the evening was creating the Chinese Lantern on a stick. Even big film sets will use large paper lanterns with dimmable lightbulbs inside. They’ll hover the lights in close to the subject to create a nice soft light that puts a bit of a glow in the eye of the subject. I thought one of these could be really useful to us in both this video and the 2nd video we shot – so Mike and I went to Home Depot and grabbed the components. He already had a $7 IKEA paper lantern. Another 30 bucks got us a dimmer switch, the casing, lamp wire, and a pack of lightbulbs.

As well as the Chinese Lantern, we used a Tungsten light in a soft box for our key light – along with an LED panel to add some cooler light to the background. The idea was to mimic light from an oil lamp, or a small fire burning nearby – and some cool moonlight coming in the window.

Mike and I are already currently putting together some ideas for future productions, so I’m sure I will be sharing more material that him and I have worked on in the future!

Thanks for taking a look at my work, and feel free to stay in touch with me via Twitter, Facebook, or email!

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