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The Brokeh Lighting System, developed by John Tindall, is a revolutionary system of special color patterns, infused on different supports (transparency, "magic cloth" etc). These different materials allow to use Brokeh with all your lighting sources to create the feel of "natural" light.
Fundamentally, each Brokeh pattern breaks apart the white light source into a spectrum of colors. The colors in Brokeh patterns recombine into white light again, but now the individual colors hit surfaces from different angles, just as light in the real world reflects off everything around us. The results make a striking difference - the lighting goes from appearing typical, to looking very real and natural.
The Brokeh Lighting System makes your lighting feel organic to the scene. No more plastic-looking humans. Actors appreciate it on the set because the light looks and feels natural. When on-camera talent is relaxed it makes your work that much easier.
On the set:
"The idea is that you're creating a pattern - in front of a white light - that looks like a party gel gone crazy, with stripes that break the light into color strands...yet still ends up delivering white light in the end and somehow giving the light more of a drop-off. It's almost as if the same light, adding up to the same color, has a different quality to it and drops off the shadow side of the face faster."
- Julio Macat, ASC
(American Cinematographer, September 2019 issue, about using the "FEK", or Facial Enhancement Key, and the N-Series, or Nature Series Brokeh filters used for close-ups in "After the Wedding")
The Brokeh Facial (F) series of 3 different patterns, printed on transparency, achieves the strongest effect on characters. By using dominant and complementary skin tones in geometric patterns in front of light sources, the F-Series Facial patterns enhance the curves on human faces. (e.g. The FAK "Facial Anamorphic Key" will render faces thinner than white from the same soft light source).
The FAK pattern models the shape of the face in a most dramatic way in the F-Series. The face appears thinner than with white light even though the lighting instrument was not moved between shots. Also the transitions from specular highlights to shadow areas are smoother.
The combination of white studio lights and 8K sensors is a struggle that every director photography must deal with. One thing is sure: Softer white light is not the best answer – the more elegant, controllable and efficient system is Brokeh light modifiers which fit on every existing soft light or LED panel. The flat studio look is replaced by vibrant looking characters. In addition, Brokeh can under certain conditions create more of a 3D-like feeling.
The FEF pattern should be used as the fill light in combination with the F-Series key light patterns (FAK and FEK). It complements the effects of the Brokeh key light sources by building on their color schemes.
The incredible sensitivity of modern sensors can be both a blessing and a curse as very little goes un-captured. For example, it is often difficult to add light to nighttime scenes without the lighting feeling phony. The FEF pattern breaks up the light and makes it organic to the location. The FEF Brokeh pattern is used to refine the fill light in combination with the F-Series key light patterns; it can even be used a stand-alone key-light.
Multiple patterns of the N-Series (Nature) are printed on large substrates for reflection and transmission. The Brokeh "rags" are printed in 4x4', 6x6', 8x8', 12x12' or 20x20' sizes with grommets and ties for use with traditional frames.
Brokeh rags surround your photographic subject with areas of different colors. The colors land at various angles on your subject and that's where the magic happens. No more bleached out faces falling victim to flat white lights coming from every corner. Bounce the light off a Brokeh Nature Series rag, or light thru it and every movement of the face creates infinite combinations of color mixing giving the illusion that your subject is moving through a real environment. As the light on the talent is more organic, the acting also flows more naturally.