Learn how to Create Emotional Impact with Color Temperature the Shane Hurlbut way

Color temperature is a great skill. One that Shane Hurlbut, a master, uses exceptionally well. Color temperature can subtly, and almost subconsciously influence your mind and emotions. Lighting scenes effectively with mixed light is nothing short of art. To be successful like Shane Hurlbut, not to mention as an ASC member and also as a Director of Photography, you must be a deep thinker and have a lot of tricks in your back pockets.

Hurlbut Academy course on Color Temperature

In Shane’s Hurlbut Academy course on Color Temperature, he makes some superb lighting philosophy comments and outlines great lighting techniques.


Hurlbut Lighting Wisdom

If you light a scene just for the sake of lighting the scene, you’re missing an opportunity. You must learn about the scene, have an effective tech scout, have conversations with the director, examine the location, read the script and get a feel for the character’s emotions before you make choices on lighting, color, and contrast.  Not happy with the status quo, you must use your instincts to get in touch with your artistic emotions and attempt lighting setups that might be risky. 

For example, a character could leave a cold, sterile environment and then transition into a warm and inviting safe environment in the space of 10 feet. The lighting elements that come off our grip truck for a scene that has been well thought out can be magic. Emotions and feelings, raw energy, sense of calm, passion, can all be communicated with color temperature. 

In this course that takes place on-set of his feature film Fathers and Daughters, Shane Hurlbut uses existing cool white fluorescence in addition to an 8-foot tungsten batten light rigged to serve multiple purposes on multiple actors. Mounting lights in the ceiling keep them entirely out of the way, especially when you’re shooting two cameras. Other lights used off the grip truck: Joker 800, Kinoflo Celeb 200, and the Kinoflo 4 foot 2 bank.

Shane Hurlbut Tips & Tricks

A great trick is to put all practical lights on dimmers so you can have total control. Dimmers work great for lighting cues as well. If you have time, get everything on a dimmer even if you do not think you will use it. Chances are you will!

Another trick is flying a 250-watt Chimera pancake light over a scene attached to the ceiling that wraps nicely as a top-light. A Chimera pancake light is one of Shane’s secret weapons that he shares with everyone. Bring the sides down, or the skirts on the pancake light and the light will not spill all over the room.

Obviously, when you have a high budget, you can have a condor outside with a 250 white metal halide flying on the condor acting as a street light source. But the scene in the course could have been almost as amazing without. If I pulled this lighting order of my grip truck in Miami for this scene, you’re probably looking at a whopping total of $500.

Take Shane’s class and learn how to do everything you’ve read above and a lot more. I wish this course had been available when I started out!