Controlling Light in Cinematography : Still Moving Media – Photography & Video Gloucestershire

Photography &


Specialising in creative photography and cinematography, Still Moving Media offer a complete package from concept and planning, mood boards, competitor analysis and research through to art direction, execution, retouching and editing. We work closely with our clients to deliver stunning images that help them achieve their objectives.



Cheltenham born Spencer, set up his photography business in 2009 and built a reputation on fashion and creative commercial photography. Since then he has worked with companies such as Dubarry, Raging Bull and Selfridges and more locally The Cheltenham Festivals, Gloucester Quays, Cheltenham College and Gloucestershire College. Spencer is regularly approached to shoot for executive boards and high profile personalities.


Dale worked for many years in the music industry and began life behind the lens making music videos. Entirely self-taught this work increased and he developed his own YouTube channel and found himself making more videos and less music. Focussing on the structure of a video and the importance of controlling light, Dale has also developed a passion for time lapse videos.


Phil turned his passion for photographic imagery into a profession over ten years ago. Working on a range of commercial projects, he has become known for his attention to detail and ability to fulfil a clients brief no matter what the challenge! He particulalry enjoys the technical and styling elements of interior, product and food photography.


Zach is responsible for supporting all aspects of came work, production prep, equipment set-up, filming, editing and colour grading. Zach’s original background was in teaching Windsurfing, Sailing and Snowboarding. Due to this very active background, no challenge is too big or location to difficult for Zach to produce content from.


Rosanna is the point of contact for all Still Moving Media’s clients, assisting with research, shoot planning, website content, social media and project management. With a background in Fine Art, she has also taken on the role of storyboard artist during the pre-production stages.


Controlling Light in Cinematography

Controlling light in cinematography is one of the most misunderstood elements of our work.

We are often told (usually enthusiastically) that a room is really bright or apologetically that it’s really dark.

In order to get a suitable exposure we do need some light, most rooms have sufficient ambient and artificial light to get this exposure. But beyond this basic requirement there is a staggering array of options available.

We have explored a few of these below...

The most powerful light source we have to deal with is the sun, and taming sunlight to create suitable ratios between highlights and shadows can be a challenge, we employ several techniques depending on the length of shoot. On a basic level this can mean closing curtains or blinds, we can also put Neutral Density gels on windows to bring the intensity of the sun light down, and sometimes it means we use a lot of light as in this example for Audi UK.

A challenge with longer interview shoots requiring multiple takes is controlling the natural lighting pushing through the windows. Due to the glass surrounding the Audi showroom, the weather fluctuated from cloudy to bright sunlight, therefore significantly affecting the exposure. In order to reduce the visual impact of this, we introduced a second close-up angle of the subject's face and the car which could be cut to when the light dipped.

Aside from these we also use dedolights for precise pools of light or targeted highlights and HMI lights if we need to simulate bright shafts of sunlight or compete with sunlight. The ability to create different lighting styles allows us to craft a suitable look for the videos we produce, this can be dark and moody as in this Forge scene for Ruroc where we had our HMI 1.2 pushing through the slatted wooden door, this was gelled with half cuts to make it more in line with the interior light and also to bring the general sunlight that was coming through to a more suitable colour temperature, whilst retaining a slightly blueish tonality with the haze. To create the misty look, we used a fog machine to give the fog some texture.

We have used similar techniques for our cellar scenes within Cotswold Distillery or in the Brewery shots for Arkells. In contrast to this dark setting, we have also used the HMI as sunlight for a high key, beauty shower scene for Rimmell UK.



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