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Grip and Lighting Illustrated Dictionary for Film and Video Production

L - from Lamp to Low Key

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is used to describe both a complete lighting unit, as well as the electric globe or bulb in film and video production terms. 

Lamp operator - the job title for a production crew person in charge of a specific lighting unit that requires special or individual control or maintenance, such as a follow spot, carbon arc unit, effects light, etc.

Laser - is an acronym or abbreviation for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It is an intense, focused beam of coherent (everything moving in the same direction) light. Various colors are created by generating the laser beam with different gases. Laser lights of different configurations and strengths can be used both for special effects, as well as for alignment purposes in set construction, dolly track set-up and other leveling tasks (a "laser level" tool).

Leko (aka Source Four and other brand names) - lights are ellipsoidal mini-spotlights. Front diameters run from 3" to 8". Lekolites have a convex lens and four way shutters, used to shape the light hit on the surface being lit and a slot for special metal gobos. Lekos originated in theatrical applications, and came to be used as "specials" lighting units for film and television/video work. The easily shaped rectangular light beam is handy for avoiding overspill in background lighting. The addition of gobos of various patterns works well for breaking up the beam into a more natural or special effects patterns (leaves, clouds, etc.).

Legs - are the support mechanisms or "tripod" of a stand... or of a camera tripod for that matter. The word is also used to describe one of the lines (positive, neutral, ground) in a video location or film studio electric power distribution setup.

Lens - the glass element at the front of a video/film production light (in grip/lighting terms) that isn't "open-faced" (no lens). Fresnel, convex and concave lenses can be found on various types of production lighting instruments.

Limbo - a Caribbean dance, another name for purgatory... and oh, yes... the term used to describe a seamless background that gives the illusion of infinite or undefined space. A coved cyc or cyclorama built just for that purpose works best. The limbo effect can sometimes be achieved for smaller objects with a paper roll background or other smooth, flexible material.

Low boy - the opposite of a high boy (stand).

Low key - the opposite of high key lighting, is a high-contrast style allowing lots of dark areas or shadows. Obviously used in dramatic, night time and other scenes where "seeing everything" is not helpful to the mood of the scene. Film noir style films pretty used this type of illumination (or lack of) throughout. It really rocks in black and white productions! Definitely the tastier job for a creative lighting person, in our humble opinion.

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