Film Light With The Three Point Lighting Technique

Film_lighting-SWhen you light a scene it is not enough to just bring enough light so the character will be seen. You also need to give the photographed object a three-dimensional look. This illusion will be created with the shadows and highlights in the shot. The great advantage of this technique is that you can do it even without any expensive lighting equipment.

The three point lighting technique is a classic Hollywood lighting technique. There are many more lighting techniques out there, but this is the most basic one and it can be developed into many other variations.If you want to learn how to set up light in a scene, you have to start from this scheme. It is built from key light, fill light and backlight.

Before you start working on the Three points light scheme

If you read the 5th lesson about Tips for lighting a scene, then you already know this. I’m going to repeat it here because it is very important to remember.
You can start working on lighting only after the shot has been set and the camera angle has been chosen. You have to make sure you know, where the actors will stand, move and wich way they will face. You should also think what is allegedly the main source of light in the scene (is it the window in the room, the lamp etc).

Key light

Fill light

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The problem with fill light is that it might cast a shadow of the subject in the background. When that happen you need to find a way to diffuse the light further so the shadow won’t be so bad. You can move the light close to the photographed subject. Another solution might be to move the subject and the fill light as much as possible from the background.

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The three point set up is a great technique, that once you will control it, you will be qualified to work in the industry, but I suggest to always try and develop it into something more creative. The three point lighting doesn’t have to be as strict as it sounds. It can be used for many lighting styles. For example, you can decide to have a few key lights on each object in the shot. Play around and work by the logic of the scene. 

If you have any suggestions for developing the Three point lighting technique, please comment and let us all know.


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