At Blind Spot Gear we love to share our knowledge of lighting. This 5 minute lighting tutorial will teach you principles about lighting. The video includes, lighting definitions and examples, 3 point lighting, the inverse squared law explained, and tips and tricks.
About the Author
Billy Campbell, Chief Explorer of Blind Spot Gear is a 2 time BAFTA winner and a Kodak award winning cinematographer.
Lighting is the most important element in cinematography. It is the task to which the cinematographer gives their primary attention. It is the light that shapes the reality in front of the lens, giving it depth or flatness, excitement or boredom, reality or artificiality. Cinematography attempts to create and sustain a mood captured on the screen. In this respect, lighting is at the heart of cinematography.
3 Point Lighting
The key light is the main main source of light for a given character while at a certain place in the scene. There are no set rules on the placement of the key light. A traditional starting place is 45 degrees from the camera and 45 degrees off the floor, but the mood or location of the scene often leads the cinematographer to put it elsewhere.
A fill light is used to fill in the shadows created by the key light. It should not create additional shadows and therefore usually comes from fairly near the camera.
The third principle light is the back light, which is designed to separate the actors from the background. This adds three-dimensionality to the picture. This light is often omitted by cameramen who believe in realism and do no want an unmotivated source of light illuminating the picture.
If thereʹs one simple thing that you can do today to make your cinematography look more professional and polished, itʹs incorporating practical lights into your scenes. Practical lights are traditionally defined as any light where the light source is in frame – desk and floor lamps, televisions, computers, and strings of Christmas lights. In the example below a Scorpion Light has been placed on the same axis as the practical light just out of frame. The barn doors have been adjusted to keep the illumination from the Scorpion off the practical light and the back wall.