A Little Light on the Subject of Film or Video

Lighting is always a key issue in cinematography. It is not so challenging to learn, but you must learn to see lighting issues right away. Lighting for film is always very tricky and it's absolutely necessary to use a will keep you from having to fix inconsistencies in post-production, which is sometimes impossible to prevent, but if you are really good that will not happen much.

Preproduction Lighting Notes are Crucial

When you make a few short films you will find that it is crucible to note down lighting details, light color, and lighting temperature in production notes. It can be a real pain when you are editing and you have change color ranges from edit to edit. Furthermore, it can be fatal to the continuity in your film.

If there is an overall problem with the color of the light in your production, your digital software may have color correction filters that can help take care of it during editing in post production. When everything used to be shot in film, filters had to be used over the lens at the time of shooting and it was significantly harder to accomplish what can now be successfully executed with digital editing.

Three Point Lighting

Three-point lighting is the standard lighting setup and applied in all film and television production. It is always better to have good natural lighting, but if you do not have good natural light available three point lighting is what you will generally use.

Three-point lighting consists of the following: Key Light

Your key light is the main light shining on your subject. Be careful not to have it too close to the subject since it can create hot areas and glare.

Fill Light

Your Key light usually creates a harsh light that renders a distinct shadow. The best way to get rid of that shadow is to use your Fill light.

Kicker Light

The Kicker light is applied behind the subject to fill in the shadows there. Using the kicker light can give the subject dimension.

Lighting Kit

When you purchase supplies for your light kit, the lights we just covered are the primary lights that you will need. You will also be in need of a means to apply diffusion material. If you have a screen door or window, look at the light outside without the screen in front of it. Do you see how bright and vivid it is? Now block the light with the screen; It is naturally diffused and becomes darker. This is what you are doing whenever you use lighting diffusers while shooting a scene.

Light Diffusion

There are a number of ways to achieve light diffusion. In a light kit, it is wise to include gauzy material like cheesecloth, muslin, or a material that is white, to diffuse. You will use binder clips and pickshift scrim stands . "Scrim" is another word for a diffuser material. Filmmakers have used such things as old 3-legged music stands and binder clips to create scrim stands that diffuse the light passing through them.

Filming in Natural Lighting

Filming in natural lighting tends to be favorable, but presents difficulties of its own. From 10 am to 3 pm in the afternoon, the sun creates harsh shadows under the eyes and nose of the subject. This can be remedied using fill lights under the subjects' faces. The Best Natural Lighting

The best natural lighting is the lighting that comes at the end of the day, a couple of hours before sunset. This lighting has a golden caramel-colored glow and gives everything a halo. The sun is at a perfect angle for the filming, creating light that falls directly on the subject's face.

Sunset lighting is really good for painting sentimental and romantic moments. However, at this time of day, it is absolutely imperative to shoot fast since there will not be much time to execute shots. Make sure everything is ready in anticipation of the sunset lighting. Dealing With Lighting Challenges

During filming, some kinds of sets are extremely challenging to light properly, and may make it necessary to find creative solutions to deal with problems. Taking a trip to the hardware store will in some cases help you find ways to resolve lighting problems. Lighting is something that has to be practiced. Anyone who expects to light everything perfectly on the day of the shoot without any setbacks or glitches will be in for a nasty surprise. You must make test runs with your lights first.

Electrical Requirements

It is crucial to ensure that electrical requirements are met for lighting. Lights demand a lot of energy, so it is a good idea to make sure that you will not be short out the system, or even an the entire block, as a result of trying to light the set. Check with an electrician about this.


Remember – these lights are hot. Protect yourself and others. Also, you may have an occasional bulb popping and spraying glass everywhere. This seldom happens, but it really is better to be safe than sorry.

You must do everything that a person can to be safe. There are going to be cords everywhere on the ground or floor during the shoot. You will have people running everywhere so secure down all your cords firmly and make people aware of their locations.

A person can use gaffer's tape on the electrical cords to secure them in place. Gaffer's tape is more expensive and does not leave marks on walls on floors. You can use duct tape in a pinch but gaffer's tape is best.

Let There Be Light

Light is everything we see and has the utmost impact on every aspect of a film. Do not treat light light, but if you get stressed by it, lighten up. Movies are suppose to be fun. Enjoy the learning process of getting light on the subject.