Eric Kress Lighting Workshop - Part 2

thefilmbook by Benjamin B

This 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 (see all links at very bottom of post), I strongly recommend viewing it before watching PART 2, which will make a lot more sense if you've seen what came before.

Matilda Jelse in sunlit variation from the Workshop by Eric Kress



In PART 1 (see links at very bottom of post) 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


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



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

A video by Benjamin B



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


The next post in the series is Part 3


thefilmbook: Eric Kress Lighting Workshop - Part 1

thefilmbook: Eric Kress Lighting Workshop - Part 2

thefilmbook: Eric Kress Lighting Workshop - Part 3

thefilmbook: Eric Kress Lighting Workshop - Part 4

see part 3 or 4 for links to download the original footage





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