4 Basic Lighting Techniques

4 Basic Lighting Techniques

Here are four core ideas that I try and think
about whenever I’m lighting something. So before setting up any extra lights, let’s
do a quick test with what we’ve already got.
This time, I’m not really liking this look with the windows coming in from the sides,
so let’s close the curtains, giving us a blank slate.
Now we can get our lights, but not until we’ve tried out every single light switch that we
can find. Some of them are a bit odd with lots of shadows
on that back wall and others are clearly impractical. But, this fluorescent above the stage – now
that’s something we can work with. So with top down lighting like this, it won’t
really wrap around whoever’s standing underneath it unless we diffuse it, I’m using this scrim
that Westcott sent me, and that’ll spread the light out onto a larger space.
So here’s our first problem – how can we rig this diffusion?
First thoughts are to use light stands, but they’ll probably show up on camera…
So, looking closely at the ceiling, there are some little loops we could put string
through to hang up the diffusion. Now of course, we haven’t brought any string,
and we’re about to use a power cable instead, when Jamie goes and finds a whole bunch of
string in a box. Now we can run the string through those loops
on the ceiling, and tie it to each corner of the diffusion.
After checking the strength of the knots, we’ve got a fairly nice setup, without using
any extra lights, or any light stands. So we could definitely go with that look,
but once we move over to this angle, suddenly Jamie’s silhouette doesn’t stand out from
that dark background. So let’s add some light, and we’re gonna
use our second core idea to decide where to put it.
Now looking at this frame it’s pretty clear where the light is.
The left side is bright, and right… not so much, so we can imagine that any light
on Jamie would naturally to come from that side.
Based on that, we should put our light right here, but, small problem there.
The camera can see it. So we’ll use our third lighting principle:hiding
the light. Now this is the classic situation, you know
exactly where you want your light to go, but for whatever reason, you can’t put it there.
Moving it to the side would mean that camera can’t see it, but we’d lose that nice
back lit look, and some of the authenticity of the motivated light.
So there’s one thing we can still do. Move the light up.
Now i’m using the Westcott Flex that they sent me, but these ideas apply no matter which
light you use. So again we’ll bring in some more diffusion
to spread out the light, rigging it up with a light stand on one side, and a C-stand on
the other. But this time the light isn’t directly above
him, it’s in front, since we’re simulating the light from the stage.
And that’s what we keep going back to: using gels or the temperature control to make sure
that the colour of the light matches, blocking the back of the light so it doesn’t spill
on to the stage. These are all measures we can take to try
and convince the audience that this extra light does not exist. And finally, the other thing I try and remind
myself is to experiment with light. On this shoot we actually had a bit of time
left over, so I grabbed the COB 120T that Aputure sent me, and didn’t use any diffusion
at all. Cos I think it’s all too easy to just get
stuck always using natural light, always trying to make things look realistic.
By doing that, aren’t we missing opportunities to make something that could be more expressive,
could have more of an impact… Ultimately that depends on the project, and
it depends on the scene. But it never hurts to ask yourself, should
we try something unpredictable? My name’s Simon Cade, this has been DSLRguide,
and I’ll see you next week.

100 thoughts on “4 Basic Lighting Techniques

  1. I don't have transport/money for lights so may have to do with a cheap light to use on top of my Sony A7S ii…what type of light would you recommend to put on top of the DSLR hotshoe?

  2. experimental is always good. Learn all the given rules and once you master it, start to bend them 🙂

  3. I'm pretty sure that this is sponsored by at least one company (considering the referral link to FilmConvert it's probably 2), so could you please disclose that kind of stuff more clearly? UK guidelines are here: http://bit.ly/29m3fNi.

  4. I hope you make a video on how to make DIY-lighting equipment because stuff like lighting equipment never comes cheap in the Philippines 🙁 And I'm just a broke college student starting with film and photography 🙁

  5. Hey Simon what about a video about documentary filmmaking? I'm producing one 🙂
    Btw, great video, thanks!

  6. Thank you for showing us the light. It is a basic fundamental of film and photography, but we're always learning on how to manipulate. Excellent post as always Simon.

  7. I absolutely adore your film style. You can see it in your videos and Instagram posts that you know what look is your own and you own it every time. Inspiring!

  8. EXPERIMENT! Of course!

    I get so caught up on how it "should" look that I fail to see how it "could" look.


  9. You deserve every one of your Subs – great content – authentic (voice too). Inspiring. Keep it up.

  10. What would be a good LED Light Panel that you recommend? I have a low budget so the maximum would be around $100.

  11. Hello Simon, this is a video I've made link down below..would be glad if you kindly review it. Just experimented with editing and sound(all sounds are Foley)..used canon 600D..if u watch, please use a headphone..cheersPrithvi

  12. Great breakdown. I love the silhouetted dancers; that's sometimes a very hard thing to capture correctly.

  13. I yelled out: "Eat an apple?" Then I heard the wet-crunch to which I'm so accustomed. Then like Pavlov waiting for the dogs to react, you got me… Excellent presupposition.

  14. this question has nothing to do with this video (nice vid btw) but how do you find and convince people to be in your videos dude? and stop biting apples

  15. Please don't stop doing this videos, Simon! Is so cool to see how you motivate to experiment by using the basics of filmmaking, that's something that you may not find in other YouTube channels. Good work! stay in this path. Thanks from Argentina 🙂

  16. Watched this one assuming that there'd be nothing really new to me, but you surprised me. Good ideas!

  17. Another nice tutorial Simon with lots of good tips. One question though… how do I get companies to send me free stuff? lol

  18. I just want to say you are an inspiration Simon and you really have come along way this past couple of years. I've been doing photography since about 2011 and as each year has gone by i've gained more and more experience with set up, equipment and post production.


    If this link works it's one of my best photos yet. Although i'm now wanting to try movie making, it's tough with all the knowledge you need first and i know the basics but i'm more a 'Videographer' than a 'Cinematographer'. I may be advancing in photography but movie making is totally different box of tricks to learn.

  19. This is absolutely the best channel to learn about DSLR video, lighting, audio, shots and editing. Thank you for your content.

  20. hey hi Simon…what have you done? Received any training or what..or any professional guidance…??please let me know?

  21. Very cool video. Lighting takes a lot of skill and creativity and I respect cinematographers for being able to use light in amazing ways!

  22. That one shot where the ceiling light cast a shadow on the top half of his body was super dope, I could totaly see a mob boss talking to his grunts in that scene.

  23. oh wow, i love how all your effort is so obvious, i love how you keep it simple but still offer a lot of information. keep up the good work 🙂

  24. Somehow when I watch one of your videos my mind is blown NO MATTER how many times I watch it! All your videos always clearly show how much you believe in and use they amazing principles you teach here. Thanks so much and please never stop uploading!

  25. This channel; is too great! I'm making a low budget (read NO BUDGET) horror movie and everything I wanted to know is here. I still have no idea how I'm gonna film that werewolf transformation scene.

  26. This videos are all cheesy and poetic, motivational… but they don't really help in the real world.

    Very nice piece tho

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