Light it up! Basic Filmmaking 3-Point Lighting and Backgrounds – The Basic Filmmaker Ep 93

Light it up! Basic Filmmaking 3-Point Lighting and Backgrounds – The Basic Filmmaker Ep 93


[Sponsor space available. Please send money.] In this episode we’re going to check out some lighting. There’s going to be a hair light, that’s this over here. There’s going to be a key light, over here. There’s going to be a fill light over here, And I’m going to show you how to make that background look really good. OK, you all probably know about the three point lighting system. Put one here, put a fill light there, put a hair light over here. There’s a couple of things I wanted to go over. It’s just not as easy as let’s set up a couple of lights and we’re done. There’s a few more things to it. So let’s just start off with the hair light. You are going to hear this clicker, because I’m clicking these lights on and off. The hair light – here I am… What it does is it adds this little halo effect around me. That’s good. Turn on and off the light, it you get that halo effect, you’re done. Your key light, over here, that’s going to be your brightest light… It’s going to shoot at one side of your face. I tend to put them like this so they don’t reflect in my glasses so much. Your fill light, is going to be about half as strong as your key light. Here’s why. Let’s turn off the hair light. Let’s turn off the key light. So there is the fill light. There’s the key light. Notice how it’s a lot harsher – it’s brighter. And then the fill light. it’s dimmer, it’s not as harsh. What happens is your with your key light, what you’re doing is you are lighting up your face, and then with your fill light, you’re doing about half to give your face some dimension. Just to fill in some of these areas. You can move these backwards or forwards and do whatever you want. Again, there’s the fill light, there’s the key light. When I put these two together, I get that. The thing we’re missing now is the hair light. The hair light puts a halo around here and pulls me off the back wall. So let’s add in the hair light. Again, there’s the hair light, no hair light, Hair light, key and fill. Hair light, key and fill. No hair light, hair light. OK, now if you look at the background, there’s some things that just… …it’s just kind of dull. I mean I have those lights back there and you’ll notice from my other episodes that… …something looks a bit different. Well, let me show you what I did. It doesn’t take much. I have two can lights [clamp lights]. These really are these Home Depot can lights that somebody gave to me or I had at some point. I have plenty of lights sitting around in a studio but but I wondered how you would do this at home. So I grabbed these can lights and I just put one down over here, and one down over here. And there’s all this stuff behind me. Let me who you how this works. I’m going to turn off ll the lights for a second. And I’m going to show you exactly what’s happening. Now you’ll notice what happened was I just turned on this little tiny can light here, And it’s shooting over on the camera and the stabilizer and the things I have set up. It’s doing these nice things on this wall all over here with all these shadows. It’s like one of these 40 watt, it’s like a blueish looking thing and it gives an interesting hue. Let me go to the other side and turn on the other little tiny can light. And there we go. Again, we have all these interesting things happening back here. It’s basically casting some shadows through all this gear I have back here that’s set up. Just to give the back a bit of a different color, and to give it some interest. So here’s what we have. Now I’m back in the chair, and we have this really interesting background. You want to do that when you’re lighting. You want to add some interesting back ground. It doesn’t have to be all shadowy like mine, but you want to add some depth or some interest. Even though I’m the point of interest, there’s still something now interesting back behind me. Now when I add my hair light, there’s my hair light – you can see it there, haloing me, I add my key light, I add my fill light, Now that’s a lot better. There’s something back there, it’s a little but interesting it pulls me off the back wall, And I just think it looks better. Excuse me but I am looking at the monitor while I’m talking to you so I can see that the lights are actually on. I think it looks good. So, the point here is, if you’re going to do some simple lighting, sure… light someone from this side, maybe grab some other light and just pull it back and forth from this side if you must, try and get a hair light just to give that little bit of that halo. but remember your background! Your background can add a lot of interest to it and when you do something like this. It pulls you off the back of the wall and it makes your subject look a lot better. I just wanted to let you know that. I’ve had a lot of questions about lighting. and I wanted to let you know how I do that. I hope that helps, and thanks for watching. [Guy laughing] That’s a wrap! Hey check that out…it’s lighting city! Isn’t that cool? Ok. Maybe it’s not so cool. 🙂


74 thoughts on “Light it up! Basic Filmmaking 3-Point Lighting and Backgrounds – The Basic Filmmaker Ep 93

  1. Three-point lighting? Sure, that's cool. But what really makes this method work is the background!

  2. Very well done, I don't really mention myself much or ask you for things. But what are your thoughts on my Kickstarter? (I know you've probably watched it)

  3. Awesome video. Much better then other videos I have watched light that just say do this and not show why. Keep making these videos. If I ever win the lotto I will definitely sponsor you to continue to make them.

  4. Well done. Solid information and the extra time spent discussing your method for lighting the background was very helpful. Thank you!   (Were you messing with us at 2:05 or just checking to see if we were paying attention?)  

  5. Thanks for this great, informative and important basic video! Lighting definitely is a philosophy on it's own, though often neglected. I myself have to dig in a bit deeper, since it's one of the most important aspects of professional camerawork.
    Greetings from Austria!

  6. Great tutorial as usual. When you are using different color/types of lights together, which do you set your white balance to?

  7. This was an awesome video. Very good information, very helpful.

    Now, I want to know how you managed that light switching and dialogue, so fast, without goofing it up! :))

  8. Some else asked this but I would like to know also, where do you place the hair light?
    Great little tutorial, as always.

  9. Loved the video !! I have a question though, I have a canon t3i and I just can't seem to get the best quality video out of it. I prefer artificial lighting because it is more consistent, but I can't get my video to look the best it can be. I pretty much know all my settings and what they do, but something about the image looks off. It doesn't seem real. (If that makes any sense lol) I have three medium sized softboxes (two with 7 bulbs and one with a giant bulb the size of my head) I usually have them at half power because they are pretty bright. If you look at one of my videos, you'll probably know what I'm talking about when I say it doesn't look real. Could it be my lighting? Or just me not knowing how to manipulate my settings properly? I hope I didn't confuse you too much.

  10. Very good lighting tutorial. I'm thinking of switching to all LED lights. What are your thoughts? Also, what device do you use for the clicker?

  11. Consider taking your fill light down a notch or two. Unless you're shooting a fashion model, you don't need to light so flat.

    Also, since the value and hue of your skin tones aren't too terribly different from the background, your t-shirt ends-up being the focal point, not your face. The hair light and DOF help, but not enough to really make you pop from the background.

    If your camera or monitor can display the live image as B&W that is a very useful tool for judging contrast/value.

    PS. Thanks for making these tutorials, always well done.

  12. It's cool.  I can't promise that I'll always do the lighting correctly, but I'll try in the future.  This is likely the simplest, most informative lighting tutorial I've seen. 

  13. Yes it was cool! One of the best tutorials on the subject! And with the subtitles it's very clear… Just the perfect speed for us foreigners 🙂

  14. Hi Greetings from St. Thomas Virgin Islands. I'm thinking of purchasing the Lowell Blender 3 light LED kit. What are your thoughts on the Lowell led's?

  15. Hi! We've been watching your videos and your channel has taught us alot of knowledge on filmmaking and equipment. We form a production group of 3 called TomatoesInTheSun from Singapore and we'd really hope you'd subscribe to us and check out our videos!

  16. For some reason this video did not show up in my subscription feed. I almost missed it. I'm glad I went looking for it.

  17. Good tutorial….alot of people think you need the best gear…expensive gear…to get the job done. I always say….it's not the tools that make the mechanic. I use the same home depot can lights and they get the job done! Its both fun and exhausting playing with different type bulbs to get the colour temperature you're looking for. I bought a soft box last year and looooove it!

  18. Thanks BFM! I got the three point lighting down and now it's time to add the back lighting. Always informative and funny.

  19. Great video, thanks!!  The clicker really helped to visualize the various lights and their impact as you cycled through them.  

    I'm curious, if you wanted — could you use light from a window as either fill or key, and then offset it with a light on the other side?  I suppose you would have to be careful about color temperature with that, however..  Just thinking out loud….

  20. You did it again, your awesomeness! Been keeping up with all your VIDEOs but haven't left much comments these days but wow, this is the BEST light demo yet. "Just Do It, Never Quit". awesome~

  21. Thanks for making another informative video.  I truly enjoy them.  But… those lights you were using for lighting the background were not can lights they are work lights or clamp lights.  Can lights are a trade nickname for recessed lights used in the ceiling and can be either incandescent, florescent, or LED.  And are much more expensive and not able to be clamped to anything.

  22. so I love amazon to butttt if you are near a harbor fright tools they have clap lights fo CHEEEP yo

    just look for "Clamp Light With Aluminum Reflector"

    http://www.harborfreight.com/clamp-light-with-aluminum-reflector-67651.html

    thanks, EK

  23. Thank you so much for this tutorial! How would you recommend not lighting a subject, but an area. I make cooking videos, and I had recently purchased two clamp lights to improve my lighting, and my footage looks a lot better. But I'm still having trouble with my recording. I look at very professional cooking videos (like allrecipes) and the whole area is very bright. How do you suggest I do that? Do you think you could look at my last video, and tell me what I need to do? Thank you so much, I subscribed a long time ago on my other channel! 🙂 

  24. THNX for Simple and bright Light explain rules. Now I understand.

    P.S. at 2:03 did You mistakenly change key and fill light?

  25. Do you have any tips on what kind of light bulb I should use if I'm closer to the lights since I don't have a lot of space in front of me for studio lights?

  26. honestly, I think it looks much better and more professional if you just left off the fill light (in this setup). with the fill light on, I feel life it's too much 'coming off the screen'. just my opinion though, great video!

  27. so is hard lighting really good for thiller movies and horror. I'm doing allot of study and I'm finding allot about hard lighting.

  28. Doing the master shot method sounds less time consuming. What tips can you give to make this process of master shot method easier please ty.

  29. Another helpful video. Question, have you recorded a segment on how to light more than one person? Specifically an interview type setup. Thank you!

  30. Hi there Im starting a beauty youtube channel I have a Nikon d7500 I am really confused about what frame rate should I use 24, 30 ,or 60? if anyone could guide ill be really grateful thanks 🙂

  31. This is actually the 1st of your videos I watched about 6 months ago. It's so impressed me I saved it and have since watched a lot of your great tutorial videos that I am extremely grateful for.

    I didn't know how to make you tube comments back then. As always thank you very much.

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