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Lighting with Marcus Zaiser

Start date:
Sep 17, 2017
Ability Level:
Beginner to intermediate

In collaboration with the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
As part of Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture

In this seminar, participants improve their skills in working with light in a creative way. They learn about natural and artificial light sources by analysing paintings and still photographs, and create numerous light set-ups on their own by altering colour temperature, through the use of filters and gels, by experimenting with light parameters like hard and soft, brightness, shadow and contrast. These exercises teach the art of creating a light dramaturgy for future projects, an essential part of telling a visual story.

Dates: 17 to 20 September
Application Deadline: Out of consideration for the Eid holiday, the submission deadline has been extended to 9 September.
Hours: 2:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Language: English
Fee for single lab: 1000 QAR
Package fee for 3 labs (lighting, grip and cinematography labs): 2500 QAR
Group Size: 10 to 12 participates
Ability Level: Beginner to intermediate

Submission Requirements
Please send the following in Word or PDF format to, including your full name,
email and email and contact number in all text documents:

  1. Specify in the email subject line which practical lab or labs you are applying for
  2. Brief letter of intention explaining why you are applying to the lab (maximum one page)
  3. Showreel, examples of previous work, or link to website (if available)
  4. CV or short biography
  5. Copy of Qatar ID

Submission Process and Selection of Candidates:
Please submit all required documents listed above to After the application deadline, the lab mentor and the DFI team will review applications. Candidates may be invited for a supplemental interview during the selection process. Please note that submission of your application does not guarantee a place in the workshop. Depending on the number of submissions, some applicants may be waitlisted or declined. All applicants will be notified of the results of their submission in a timely manner.


Day 1

  • Natural and artificial light sources
  • Hands On: Exploring different light angles and its psychological effects
  • Overview of available illuminants and light sources for film and television
  • Hands On: Portrait lighting using different light sources
  • Color systems
  • Hands On: Experimenting with color gels
  • Power systems and security precautions

Day 2

  • Light setups
  • Hands On: Lighting a scene with ambient, key, fill, back and background light
  • Light measurement tools and how to use them
  • Light plans
  • Hands On: Designing and drawing light plans
  • Light dramaturgy
  • Hands On: Analyzing the lighting approach of different movie genres and the light concepts behind it

Day 3

  • Lighting for documentary and realism
  • Hands On: Designing several light setups for documentary scenes. Shooting all scenes with camera. Analyzing the footage

Day 4

  • Lighting for drama and fantasy
  • Hands On: Designing several light setups for drama and fantasy scenes. Shooting all scenes with camera. Analyzing the footage

Lab Mentor
Marcus Zaiser

Marcus Zaiser was born in 1976. He has been active in the film industry since 1998, and has worked on more than 100 productions in various positions. From 2000 to 2006, he studied Film and Media with a focus on Cinematography at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany. He also studied at the renowned PWSFTViT Film School in Łódź, Poland. Since 2007, Marcus has been working as a cinematographer in both cinema and television, and since 2010, he has been a consultant for stereoscopic film projects in addition to his jobs behind the camera.

Lab Advisor
Thorsten Schütte

German documentary filmmaker Thorsten Schütte has worked for more than 20 years as a writer, director and producer. He has produced and directed numerous television films and series, including WORLD JAZZ (1998), TRIP TO BRAZIL (2001), THE CACTUS OF KNOWLEDGE (2001) and NAMIBIA GENERATION X (2005). His thought-provoking and well-reviewed films have been widely shown at international film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the Berlin International Film Festival.

Parallel to his passion for music documentaries, Schütte dedicates a substantial part of his work to film-based environmental and labour activism in Southern Africa. Some of his documentaries, like LAND MATTERS (2008) and THE FORGOTTEN (2015), deal with subjects like land ownership, affirmative action and farm workers’ rights.

As a founding member of the Stolen Moments-Namibian Music History Untold Research Group, Schütte and his team members have for several years been exploring the Namibian music culture that was almost forgotten, suppressed under apartheid. He currently runs a digitalisation campaign in co-operation with the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, and is co-curating an international exhibition that is scheduled to open in Berlin in the Fall of 2017.

Since 2002, in Germany, Schütte has co-ordinated documentary and fiction studies at the internationally renowned Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.

This workshop is in collaboration with

To learn more about the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, please click here.

To learn more about the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture, please click here.