Creative Lighting Technique – Using Mason Jars To Convey Emotion

By Matt Bendo

In this guest post, Canadian cinematographer Matt Bendo shares his experience using mason jars as light modifiers to enhance storytelling in his commercial work.

I recently had the pleasure of creating a piece of branded content entitled Legacy for a boxing academy called Kombat Arts (check out the cinema5D Talent Feature describing this experience HERE). My goal was to create a character and story that encompassed all of the philosophies and work ethics that Kombat Arts tries to instil in their students, and where each room represented a visual embodiment of the emotions the character was feeling. After the release of the film, I received a lot of emails and messages asking how I achieved the lighting effects, which prompted me to want to share this with the filmmaking community.

Creating the visual world in which Legacy takes place was an exciting experience. Luckily, I was given a large amount of creative control in this particular production, which allowed me to take risks and streamline the decision-making process to facilitate my vision. So, I decided to experiment.

I have always been fascinated with the different ways to manipulate light in order to help tell stories and convey emotions to an audience. I am especially fond of hard lighting, and at first I thought of ways to create textured light patterns using cookies. Then, using my iPhone, I began experimenting by taking photos of my hand while backlighting it with a flashlight shooting through a small mason jar.

Mason Jars as Lighting Modifiers

The peaks and valleys in the design of the mason jar caused the light to scatter in many different directions, focusing in some areas and dispersing in others. I found that this resulted in a pretty interesting texture of light.

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From:: Cinema 5d