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Videoproductiebedrijf - Video Agency - Videjow
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schepers

Painting with light, the brushes of a cinematographer


Light, the brushes of a cinematographer

When it comes to producing high-quality videos, there are many factors to consider. From the script and actors to the camera and editing: every part plays a crucial role in the final product. However, one element that is often overlooked is lighting. Proper lighting is essential for creating a visually appealing and professional-looking video. In this article I discuss the importance of light in video production and provide some tips for achieving the perfect lighting setup.


Why is light important in video production?

Lighting is crucial in video production for several reasons. First and foremost, it determines the mood and tone of the video. Different lighting techniques can evoke different emotions and create a specific atmosphere for the audience. For example, soft and diffuse light can create a romantic or dreamy feeling, while hard and direct light can create a feeling of tension or drama.

Good lighting also helps to emphasize the subject of the video and draw the viewer's attention to specific areas. This is especially important during interviews or product demonstrations, where the focus should be on the person or object being highlighted. Proper lighting can also improve the overall quality of the video, making it look more professional and polished.


music video production
still frame from Alex Vissering's video clip

cinema film production
still frame from the feature film 'Fools Gold'


Tips for achieving the perfect lighting setup

Now that we understand the importance of light in video production, let's discuss some tips for achieving the perfect lighting setup.

Lighting setup for a commercial shoot
Commercial lighting setup by Director of Photography; Robert Schepers

1. Use natural light wherever possible


Natural light is the most flattering and versatile light source for video production. It is also the most cost-effective as it does not require any additional equipment. If you're filming indoors, try placing your subject near a window or in a room with lots of natural light. This provides a soft and even light that is perfect for most video scenarios.


Drone shot with natural light
a number of still frames from one of our video clip productions with natural light

Natural lighting in a video

2. Invest in high-quality lighting equipment

While natural light is ideal, it is not always available or practical. In these situations, it is essential to have high-quality lighting equipment. By investing in a good lighting set, you can be sure that you have the necessary tools to create the perfect lighting setup for every video. Some essential lighting equipment includes:

  • Softbox Lamps: These are large, rectangular lamps that provide soft and diffuse light. They are perfect for creating a natural-looking light source and are often used for interviews or product videos.

  • LED lamps: LED lamps are energy efficient and can be adjusted to different color temperatures, making them versatile for different lighting scenarios.

  • Reflectors: Reflectors are used to bounce light onto the subject and fill in any shadows. They are available in different sizes and colors, making them a useful tool to achieve the desired lighting effect.

video clip lighting
a number of still frames from one of our video clip productions
Three-point lighting technique

front light artist stage

3. What is the three-point lighting technique

The three-point lighting technique is a standard lighting setup used in video production. This uses three lamps to create a balanced and flattering light on the subject.


The three lamps are:

  • Key Light: This is the primary light source and is usually the brightest. This is located on one side of the subject and is the main light source.

  • Fill Light: The fill light is used to fill in any shadows created by the key light. It is placed on the opposite side of the key light and is usually less bright.

  • Back Light: The backlight is behind the subject and provides separation between the subject and the background. It also adds depth and dimension to the recording.


Video lighting color temperature
a number of still frames from short film 'Capo di Famiglia'

drama lighting

lighting hospital scene

4. Take the color temperature into account

Color temperature refers to the warmth or coolness of light. It is measured in Kelvin (K) and can range from warm (red and orange tones) to cool (blue tones). Understanding color temperature is crucial to achieving the desired mood and tone for your video. For example, warm lighting can create a cozy and intimate atmosphere, while cool lighting can create a more sterile and professional feeling.


5. Use light to create depth and dimension

Lighting can also be used to create depth and dimension in your video. By using different lighting techniques you can clearly distinguish your subject from the background and make the shot more visually interesting. For example, using backlight can create a halo effect around the subject, making the subject appear three-dimensional.


6. Don't forget the background

When setting up your lighting, it is essential to also take the background into account. The background should complement the subject and not distract from it. By using lighting to accentuate or darken certain parts of the background, you can create a more visually appealing image.

Exposure: Limitless Betrayal
A number of light creations from the feature film 'Borderless Betrayal'

Chiaroscuro lighting

Dramatic lighting

Lighting for cinematography

Lighting is especially crucial in cinematography, as it can make or break the overall look and feel of a film. Cinematographers< /u> use light to create a specific atmosphere, evoke emotions and tell a story visually. They also use lighting to enhance the actors' performances and draw the viewer's attention to specific parts of the frame.


Different types of light in cinematography


1. Natural light

Natural light is often used in cinematography to create a realistic and natural-looking scene. It is also used to create a sense of time and place as the quality of natural light changes throughout the day.


Natural light in a video shot
Still frames from short film 'Capo di Famiglia'
Church lighting

Romantic lighting

2. Artificial light

Artificial lighting is used to create a specific atmosphere or mood in a scene. It is also used to enhance the actors' performances and create a more visually appealing shot. Different types of artificial lighting include:


  • Soft: Soft lighting is used to create a romantic or dreamy feeling. It is often used in romantic comedies or dramas.

  • Hard: Hard lighting is used to create a sense of tension or drama. It is often used in thrillers or horror films.

  • High-key: High-key lighting is used to create a bright and cheerful atmosphere. It is often used in comedies or musicals.

  • Low-key: Low-key lighting is used to create a dark and moody atmosphere. It is often used in film noir or crime dramas.


still frame from Boundless Betrayal
Example of a low-key lighting

still frame from Boundless Betrayal

Lighting techniques in cinematography


1. Rembrandt lighting

Rembrandt light is a classic lighting technique used in cinematography. This uses a key light to create a ​​light triangle on one side of the subject's face. This creates a dramatic and moody effect and is often used in film noir or crime drama.


2. Three-point lighting

As mentioned earlier, the three-point lighting technique is also used in cinematography. It is a versatile lighting setup that can be used in different scenarios and is perfect for creating a balanced and flattering light on the subject.


3. Chiaroscuro exposure

Chiaroscuro lighting is a technique that uses strong contrasts between light and dark to create a dramatic effect. It is often used in horror films or thrillers to create a sense of tension and fear.


Example video clip lighting
a number of still frames from a video clip production

backlight exposure in film

Conclusion

Light is a crucial aspect of video production and can have a significant impact on the final product. By understanding the importance of lighting and following these tips and techniques, you can create visually appealing and professional-looking videos that will captivate your audience. Whether you target a corporate video, a cinema film or a music video produces, the right lighting is essential to achieve the desired atmosphere and tone and your story effectively to tell. So don't forget the importance of lighting for your next video production project.



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