Lighting a scene is about so much more than just making sure you can see the actors. Lighting can set the mood of a scene or help drive the story from A to B. It can make you painfully aware that you’re watching a film or it can help you suspend your disbelief and let yourself disappear in the action.
It’s a subtle art and it’s something even the most skillful DPs can – and should – continue to explore throughout their careers. Here Sean McDaniel talks about what it means to him to ‘choose the right lighting’ and how you, as a DP, need to be aware of the effect your lighting choices has on the viewers experience.
Sean McDaniel has been working as a cinematographer for over a decade on narrative, documentary and experimental films. He furthered his studies as a cinematographer while acquiring his MFA in Film Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and his work has screened in numerous film festivals around the world including the Cannes Short Film Corner, Palm Springs Film Festival, LA Shorts Film Festival, HollyShorts, and the Vancouver International Film Festival, among others. He was a USC selection for the 2014 A.S.C. Heritage Award, which looks great on paper, sure, but more importantly speaks to his passion for telling powerful stories through his work behind the camera in support of his collaboration with talented directors.
You can watch Sean McDaniel’s reel here.