Lighting is by far one of the most important aspects of cinematography and needs to be learned and practiced so you can get that perfect shot. Here are some tips and insight about video lighting.

Using Only Natural Light When Setting Up An Interview

When you want to use only natural lighting in an interview setup look for a nice, soft light source, which is usually a big window. Using the principle of lighting downstage, position the subject so that the light is on one side of their face and rolls off the other side. Rolloff is when the light gradually gets darker on the subject the further away they are from the light source.

Portrait Lighting

If you’re lighting an interview, it’s a good idea to light it like you’re lighting a portrait. One of the most popular ways of lighting a portrait is rembrandt lighting, which is characterized by a soft light source coming downstage on your subject that has a really slow rolloff, leaving a small triangle underneath the subject’s eye.

3-Point Lighting

The 3-point lighting system includes three sources: a key light, fill light and a back light. It can be manipulated and changed to give a gaffer endless possibilities of lighting a scene or a subject.



Inexpensive, But Useful, Lighting Equipment to Try

For those of us on a budget, foam core, or a white foam board, can be our best friend. It’s an inexpensive lighting piece that you can use for a nice fill light, or even to bounce some light back from your key light. You can also wrap the other side of the foam core with tinfoil and add a little harsher light by reflecting the sun or another light source on to your subject. You can find foam core at your local drug store or craft store.

Beauty Lighting

If you’re ever at a fancy store in the changing room, there’s lighting built into the mirrors – that’s typically beauty lighting. It’s a little more flat, but makes the face pop and the roll off is more behind the subject and you don’t see any wrinkles. One way to do this in an interview setup is to put a light directly above the camera – that’s your key light. Then you can have the fill right underneath the lens or in the subject’s lap to bounce up all the other light. And lastly you have your back light, which just separates the subject from the background.

Tips For New Gaffers

If you’re just getting into lighting, make sure you learn how to read light. When you’re out and about, notice where the light is coming from, and note the quality of the light – whether it’s soft or harsh and as well as the contrast of the light. Also, knowing the principle of your key, fill, and back lighting will go a long way when you start working with bigger crews and have a grip team. You’ll be able to tell where the light is coming from, flag off lights, get rid of reflections, and essentially shape the light using either white balance or black negative.


Well, there you go! Use these tips and tricks in your next shoot and leave a comment below letting us know how it went.




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