Ryan E. Walters Part 1 – Lighting An Exterior Night Scene (Short Film Breakdown)

Lighting and Composition – that about sums up cinematography in two words right there.  So what’s all the complication about right? I guess that would be like saying sports is all about coordination and technique – now go play like Kobe!


So ya, it aint easy and even if you know the “rules” each situation is unique. So today, BLFS has brought on Ryan E Walters and we dig into his 1st place winning 48hr film festival piece. 48 hours to go from concept to watching your NLE spit out a final export! NUTS! (full short film at the bottom of this post)



This interview is so informative on how you can pull a lot off with little resources (including time!). Ryan takes us through just two of the scenes and how he executed the lighting and composition and why. Below the interview videos are stills that we discuss from his short film.


You will learn what lights he used (and why!), how they were placed, the logic in the composition and how he quickly maneuvered from one shot to the next in a mad time crunch.

Check out the first video below where we focus on the lighting of the opening scene:

(for those with ADD like me skip to 6:00 for the first lighting breakdown)

In this next video Ryan and I discuss the framing of the opening scene and how he went about lighting the hallway scene. I was quite surprised by what equipment he used for the hallway scene, but it just goes to show how much you can do, and with just how little!

ryan walters wide shot

wide shot from opening scene

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 5.25.17 PM

close up of bad cop

ryan wlaters good cop

close up of good cop

ryan walters hall1

ryan walters hall2

Full Short Film Below

Stay tuned next week for two more videos with Ryan about some tech camera talk and which would he purchase today! We also get into how a cinematographer’s lighting knowledge is visa vi a gaffers lighting knowledge. Interesting stuff!

Ryan is like a buffet of knowledge – “all you can eat cinematography” – over at his site (link below). He also has some products on his site which, from the looks of his crazy cool and thorough blog posts, are sure to be flooded with information that will help the aspiring cinematographer and video producers.

Ryan’s Website: www.ryanewalters.com