Live Action – Lighting and Sound Year Level: Year 5 to Year 10 Curriculum Study Areas: English; The Arts Themes/Topics: Narrative Structure; Film Language; Genre; Symbolism and Icons; Cultural Studies Description: This teaching kit outlines in detail the steps involved in producing, directing and filming a television program or movie. It explores many areas of production, including script writing, casting, lighting, camera, sound and editing. There are seven teaching activities linked to this resource found in our Learning Centre. Resources: Lesson plan: Lighting In television and film production, the director works with the Director of Photography (DOP) to make important decisions about the type of light required in each scene. The decisions that need to be made include the intensity of the light, the mood required and the sorts of artificial or natural lights required to do this. When making these decisions, the DOP works with the Gaffer, a person experienced in achieving the lighting effects that the DOP wants for the scene. Lighting is an important part of creating mood. It can be varied to suggest a romantic mood, a clinical atmosphere or create a dark, frightening mood (such as the use of dim lighting in a horror film). Comedies, in comparison, may use much brighter lighting. Getting the light correct on location often requires the use of additional lights and reflectors. The image on the left shows how lights have been used to create additional atmosphere for the particular scene. The colour of lights is often a consideration when creating mood. For instance, blue can create a mood of coldness, loneliness or hostility, whereas colours such as orange or brown can create an atmosphere of warmth or intimacy. Colour can be created through the use of lens filters and coloured gels on the lights. © Australian Children's Television Foundation (except where otherwise indicated). You may use, download and reproduce this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material. Lighting can be varied to create depth in the image, to highlight particular objects or people within the frame. Sometimes lighting can be used to emphasise certain characters and make them stand out from the background. Direct lighting of a subject can give dramatic effects and shadows. Lighting is also an important way to communicate the time of day in the scene. A bedroom set in a studio for example can be lit to reflect 'morning' with bright sunlight streaming through the set windows and creating an overall sunny look, or it can be lit for 'night' and reflect a lightning storm outside. The same set can have two distinctly different looks, depending on the nature of the scene. Activity Examine the following examples of different uses and types of lighting, comparing and contrasting the choices of colour and lighting used and the possible reasons why. Consider the atmosphere created in each shot and the information suggested about the story and characters. Diana & Bruce, The Genie from Down Under 1 Round the Twist 2 Top Enders. Touch the Sun Top Enders.Touch the Sun "Darlene' and 'Otto' go country and western. The Genie from Down Under 2 Round the Twist 2 Sound Adding sound to the action on the screen helps create atmosphere. The background sounds we hear (such as traffic, doors banging, computers, the wind etc.) make our viewing experience that much more convincing. Atmosphere can be specific and naturalistic (that is, we see feet and we hear footsteps) or ambient (such as sirens and background traffic noises to suggest a city location). © Australian Children's Television Foundation (except where otherwise indicated). You may use, download and reproduce this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material. Sound effects may be added from pre-recorded audio libraries or created specifically in the sound studio. While the sound we hear may sound like natural sound, it can in fact be a dozen or more sound tracks carefully balanced in terms of volume, clarity and sound perspective (muffled, near, far way, filtered etc.). Exaggerating a particular sound by making it louder, or reverberating it, can also contribute to the drama or suspense of a particular scene. Extra sound is always recorded on location by the sound recordist. This recording may be used to supplement the final version. Sound effects Sound effects (FX) created live to the video/film in a recording studio are called Foley effects, named after the person who invented the system. Foley artists watch the film to find out which sounds need to be added, enhanced or replaced. The job of the Foley artist is to then add sounds that make the experience more real for the audience. These sounds appear to be so 'normal' that most of the time we don't really notice them. For example, to get the right sounding footsteps one or more people may walk in a sand or gravel box in the studio while the scene from the television program or film is projected behind them. This sound is recorded as the Foley artist walks in time with the character on the screen. Foley sounds are often created from unrelated items mixed together to create the desired sound effect. Dramatic dialogue Dramatic dialogue is what the characters say to each other. It is significant to both the plot development and characterisation. Dramatic dialogue is important as we learn about the characters through what they say, how they say it and what others say about them. © Australian Children's Television Foundation (except where otherwise indicated). You may use, download and reproduce this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material. Silence Silence can be incredibly powerful in a film or television program. It can be used to convey mood and atmosphere, and responses such as shock or suspense. Voice over Voice over is where a character or a narrator is speaking to the audience while action is taking place on screen. Voice over is used in documentaries, for a character to express thoughts, or tell the audience information that will not be revealed in the dialogue. When a voice over is occurring, the characters usually have no dialogue. In drama it is quite unusual for the characters' inner thoughts to be spoken as voice over. Music The emotional colouring of the music reinforces the mood of the scene and is often used to manipulate audience emotion. Music can often change the whole meaning of what actors are saying and it is often thought of as the equivalent of a narrator in a book. Music is one of the most powerful ingredients in any scene, and when used well, can dramatically affect all the other elements, adding suspense, mystery, excitement and drama. Sometimes musical themes are used for individual characters and the audience identifies that character with the music. Most television and film productions use their own music composers to write music or scores appropriate to the program or film. Well known songs and themes from other music can also be used. Usually a royalty or fee has to be paid for such use. © Australian Children's Television Foundation (except where otherwise indicated). You may use, download and reproduce this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.