Most commonly we need to discuss: what does the raw footage need to look like? What mood are we looking for? Is it important to create a mood or tone with the light from scene to scene?
Is high key (bright) or low key (dark and shadowy) lighting appropriate? Will the shoot be "on location" or in a studio? Will we be shooting on green screen? How big an area will need to be lit?
Will there be a mixture of different colored light sources that need to be compensated for (daylight, tungsten, fluorescent)?
Can existing light be used and still maintain a professional "look?" What budget will be available for hardware? How much time will be available for load-in, set-up and load-out?
Is the quality of the light important: what kind of instruments should be used; hard versus diffuse; natural versus theatrical; existing versus artificial? Is adequate power available or will a generator be needed?
Once these options are fully researched and discussed, in advance, a plan can be put together that outlines methods and hardware. A little advance planning will allow for a smooth and successful shoot.
Like most aspects of video production, when done right, lighting is an invisible art. You don't notice good lighting. You will, however, notice poor lighting. When done wrong it can ruin the mood or feel of a scene.
Lighting is one of the most challenging and visible elements of a shoot, with multiple options that need to be explored. Done right, lighting enhances the production and increases production value.
What's your favorite mood to light? Dramatic? Natural? Hot? Cold? Let us know in the comments below!