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Understanding Film Lighting to Ace Your Shots

Lighting plays a huge role in filmmaking. The lighting technique used in a shot has a huge impact on the footage. Directors use various lighting techniques such as diffusing light, bouncing light, and adjusting colour temperatures to take the perfect shot. If you want to shoot great videos, you need to have a basic understanding of film lighting.

Why is Lighting Important?

One of the fundamental aspects that help to set the right mood and atmosphere in a film is lighting. Directors can use the lighting setup for blocking actors when required and dressing a film set. It can be used to direct the eyes of the audience, i.e., telling them where to look. This is done when the director wants to guide the eye to a specific part of a scene or actor. Further, if cleverly used, it can be used to establish the psychology of a character as well. By adjusting the size, amount, harshness, and colour of light in the surroundings, you can control the emotions and mood of a particular scene. The lighting techniques used in a film define its genre as well. For instance, film noir is characterized by long shadows, contrasts of light and dark, etc.

How is the Lighting Setup planned for a Scene by professional filmmakers?

As mentioned earlier, lighting has a huge impact on the end result. Hence, it is very crucial to ensure that the set is properly lit. The lighting setup for a scene is mainly handled by three people:

  • The director plans the entire scene and shares various visual ideas and inspirations for cinematic lighting.
  • Using the ideas shared by the director, the director of photography or cinematographer designs a plan that will be appropriate for the scene.
  • Once the cinematographer’s lighting plan is ready, it is shared with the gaffer. The gaffer is responsible for executing the plan and overseeing the crew that is setting up the lighting.

An easy Lighting Setup for beginners

Setting up a set is not an easy task. It takes a lot of effort and consumes a lot of time to light up the set properly. Further, many expensive lighting equipment pieces are used in commercial movies that can be impossible to buy for beginners. Hence, experts suggest using a three-point lighting setup to light up a scene. As the name suggests, only three lights are used for lighting the set. This is one of the best lighting techniques available for lighting a set using only 3 lights.

How to do it?

The three-point lighting setup has three lights: the key light, the fill light, and the back light. The key light is the strongest source of light available for lighting the subject and is placed in front of it. While it is positioned either slightly left or right to the subject, the film shooting camera is placed right in front of the subject. On the other side of the key light, the fill light is placed in front of the subject to soften any harsh shadow on the subject caused by the key light. The back light is placed behind the subject. This is used to highlight the outlines and features of the subject.

Besides good lighting equipment, you will require a good camera as well to shoot great videos. If you want to buy the best camera for cinematography, only buy from renowned brands like Canon.