Thursday, March 15, 2012

Theory of Video Lighting

Raphael Bropleh                                   

Three-point lighting is simply the fresh format for lighting that isn’t hard to understand and offers you a fast and well-mannered light setup. The straight forward concept is pretty simple. You have three lights, called the key, the fill, and the rim. The key is the inspired light source in the scene, or main light source. The fill light is the light that corrects and softens the key’s shadow. It basically fills in the shadows. The rim is the light that highlights and separates the subject from the background. This concept can help you in a real life situation. When you are setting up the lighting start with the main subject or subjects and figure out what your central light is coming from. Some times it may be obvious what the source is, because it is shown with the scene or it can be the sun coming from the sky. You might have to make up where the light is coming from. Creating new sources where the light is coming from is a decision for the artist, or producer. All the fill light does is to soften the shadow (fill shadows in) of the Key. You may have to use lights from multiple points to motivate the fill and soften the shadows of the key. Fill lighting can be used out of its traditional settings. Different circumstances calls for different usages of the technique. Observing carefully what light does in real life can help you easily understand and use this theory. The rim lighting is the creative practice of separating the subject from the background. A rim light is not always required. Some times it doesn’t always have a natural look within a shot. Switching back and forth from fill light to key light will probably be needed when you start getting more detailed and creative. In most cases you will end up using the concept/theory in a non-traditional way, breaking the rules and doing what makes your video come out the way you wanted it. I often start with three lights on a given subject then split those lights apart to cover the entire scene. When you think about the number of props and subjects, what’s going on in the scenes, and the lighting style; you will find out that you can never have enough lights.

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