How to set up lighting for video shoot


The basic lighting set up that you can use most of the time is the three-point lighting set-up (or the documentary lighting). If you are planning to put up an Austin video production company, you should know the basics. This set-up is anchored on the following premises: 

–    A key-light that serves as the source of light and shine on the object 

–    A fill-light that “fills” any part that is not covered by the key-light 

–    A backlight that highlights the subject by creating a soft glow at its back 

Before you start filming, set up the camera, the actor or the subject. The actor can be directly facing the camera or look slightly off the left or right side of the camera. Turn off all the lights inside the room.  This will make you see properly what each light is doing. If you are setting up the lighting alone, set up each light and film a video of you as the subject.  Review the lighting afterward to see if something needs to be adjusted. 

Let’s talk further how each light should be set up and what  kind of lighting you are actually expecting from each of them. 

 Key light 

The key light is the main source of light that illuminates the subject and some parts of the background. The intensity of the light depends on the mood of the video so the wattage can range between 150 watts to 10k watts. The key light set-up should be between 15 to 45 degrees side of the camera. For an interview shoot, the interviewer should be sitting between the camera and the key light. The interviewee should be looking at the space between the camera and light. This will make the key light illuminates the subject’s face and his front body.   

Fill light 

Fill light should be less intense than key light. There is no exact rule as to the wattage that can be used for the fill light. If you think the fill light is too strong, you can diffuse it with filters until you achieve the right brightness.  To set up a fill light, place it on the opposite side of the camera. There are instances when a fill light is unnecessary. The shadows created by the subject’s body may not be needed to be filled-up for more dramatic effects.  

Back Light 

The back light is as important as the first two lights.  A good back light increases the quality of the video ten times. Place it close above the back side of the subject. You can hang it or use a light stand where it can stay above the subject. Or you can place it on either side depending on where your subject is looking at. Whether you place it above or on the side of the subject, just make sure that it is out of range of the camera. Use a light similar in power or lesser than the fill light.    

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