Lighting

How to Use Video Lights to Tell Your Story

How to Use Video Lights to Tell Your Story

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A basic interview lighting is done with a 3 point lighting setup.  Let’s go over what each of those lights are and what they do.

Key Light:

This is your main light.  It is used as the primary light.  It does however create shadows on the other side of the face.  That’s where the second light comes in.

Fill light:

This is our second light, used to fill in the shadows.  We want this to be slightly darker than the key light to create shape and contrast, so it’s not completely flat.

Backlight:

This light hits the subject from the back and is used to create separation from the background.

Now the idea here is to use those same 3 lights to tell a better story.  So by moving the lights more to the side and used bounce instead of direct lighting, you can create different moods with your lighting.
For example, to create a darker, moody scene, you can take the key light and use it on the side and turn off the fill light completely to create a very contrasty look.

Video by Video School Online

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Okay so we’ve talked about what exactly
lights are and what they are technically
and what they’re capable of doing so I’m
gonna take you through three different
lighting setups first being an interview
lighting setup this is the basis for
everything this is going to be a basic
interview lighting setup that you should
be able to grasp walk into any interview
and be able to set up very quickly and
we’ll get you through almost anything –
I’m gonna take you through sort of a
romantic warm narrative sort of setting
where it’ll be kind of narrative II and
it’ll be like a nice like just natural
place in like an evening sort of room
and then three I’m gonna put you in like
a very scary dark contrasting moody kind
of feeling light so what we’re gonna do
is I’m gonna have Phil come in here in a
second I’m gonna have him sit down I’m
going to explain the situation light him
up you’re gonna see me kind of running
around doing light I’ll stop I’ll
explain what I did show you the
different lights and then we’ll do the
next one and do the next one so the
first thing I would do is I would come
in here and I would look at this room
and I would set the white balance – what
we’re gonna do I’m gonna use tungsten
balance in here I’m probably gonna turn
off these gross fluorescent lights that
you can see right now and just figure
out what to do next so first we’re gonna
set up the lights you’ll see me go dark
and then you’ll see me start to turn
lights on in our little time lapse and
we’ll just go from there so you ready Phil

so this is what I would use for a
three-point lighting system a basic
interview here on Phil now I do have one
little light back there so technically
as for lights but you can kind of see
the difference between what this room
used to be like and what this room looks
like now so I just want to run with you
really quick with what I did so what I
did here was I might have my assistant
over here turn off this light this is a
fill light huh get it fill light fil L
so if you just push the button to turn
it off you can see that all it really is is
just filling in the shadows here from
our key light I started with the key
light so let’s turn this one off so you
can see this is going to be really where
our main light is coming from and this
is what we call the key light so turn
the key light on so he’s lit right but
now you can see over here on Phil’s
right side it’s a little shady and it’s
a little more menacing than we want it
to be so what we’re gonna do is turn on
our fill light our fill light is filling
in for Phil to the shade on this side so
it’s a little more even typically at
that light is usually half a stop to a
stop to two stops less than the stops
coming from this light so we got our key
we got our fill now let’s look at the
backlight you can see my shadow in it
right now and you can see the light
itself in the wide shot here but in our
normal shot let’s turn it off and on
there’s off on off on and you can see
how it’s giving him just a little bit of
an edge when it’s on and it’s it’s
separating it from the background so
keep it on and off on and off on and off
and you see the really difference the
thing I like about the back lights is
that it’s able to separate them from the
background depending on what your
background is and it just adds a nice
little dynamic pop to the subject you
can see I did add one light over here
and I can unplug it and plug it in it’s
more of an accent light for the
background because we’re shooting in
such a crappy background but you can see
if I take it out it’s just plain back
there and it’s just blanking shadowy by
adding this adds a little bit more
dimension with that kind of accent light
so it’s nice to kind of have more than
three lights but you can get away with
just three lights if you need them you
never know what situation you’re in in
an interview okay so let’s move on to a
little bit more romantic warm
kind of movie lighting so here we have a
more warmer natural kind of movie
lighting here we got going on Phil it’s
a little bit different than the
interview lighting although not totally
dramatically different what I do is I
move the key light around over to here
so now you have this nice key light
coming from the side I dimmed it down a
little bit because our lights that we
have are dimmable I then took our fill
light and actually pointed it down in
front of Phil so it’s bouncing a little
bit off the off the floor there and I
lowered the intensity so it’s not as
intense you can see there’s a little bit
of shadow and sound in the center of his
face and then I took our backlight and I
moved it over here and I’m actually
bouncing off the wall here which is a
little white there’s a white door and
I’m bouncing the light off the wall you
remember I talked about earlier lights
can either be shot directly at or they
can be bounced or they can be diffused
this one is actually able to be bounced
and it kinda is a nice nice bounce I
didn’t mention earlier that our key
lights and fill lights are diffused with
our soft boxes that I had talked about
before which kind of makes a softer
light I then adjusted the backlight here
that you can see not a backlight but the
accent light in the back to kind of
close down and I lowered the intensity
and I change the color temperature just
a little bit because I can and that
makes it look a little bit more
interesting the key here is that we make
this look like a nice warm natural scene
like he’s in the evening at some room
he’s just hanging out as opposed to
full-blown lit interview it’s not accent
or anything it’s just a natural nice
looking shot based on the what this ugly
room used to look like so let’s move on
to something a little bit more dramatic
I’m gonna light Phil as if he’s about to
murder somebody basically I want to make
him look really menacing dark or scary
I’m gonna try a couple different things
out you can see that this narrative
stuff takes me a little bit longer to
light than the interview the interview
stuff’s very cookie-cutter very key
light fill light backlight whereas this
stuff I kinda have to play around and it
really is dependent on the structure and
the place you’re at so here we go
okay so here’s my menacing Phil look so
really we got in some more contrast more
scary a little more dynamic as far as
contrast really more than anything so I
took the key and it’s over here now there’s no Phil
over here I mean there’s Phil but
there’s no Phil light over here so you
can see that there’s just a dark dice
dark shape on the right side I added a
really intense backlight you can see if
I block it what it’s doing seeing the
wide shot of us that I’m talking to you
can kind of see it down here below right
here and in the closer shot it’s really
just covering and putting a ring around
Phil’s head right here as I move my
hands through you can kind of probably
see what it’s doing the big thing about
that is I like the ring that it pops him
out from the dark background it’s a
little more scary this is a little more
contrast you can see the contrast
effects this mood to him just being
scary and upset like he’s about to
murder somebody and you can see the
effect right here if I take our key
light and I just dim it down and down
and up you can totally see what it’s
doing so this is nothing and now you can
see that the backlight is just taking
air of everything a little more dark you
can’t even see the detail in his face as
much but as I pull this up and start to
dim up you can see the different
attitude of it this is really bright
this is probably about where I had it so
it’s a little more menacing a little
more contrast alternatively I did set up a different
light you may have seen in the
time-lapse we turn this down and pan it
off and I turn on my lower front light
also another way to look a little bit
more may seem more scary it’s like
having that flashlight at dinner we only
see like the head and if we turned off
the backlight you can see all we see is
Phil just right there in his face and
kind of intense also another way to look
a little bit more may seem more scary
it’s like having that flashlight at
dinner we only see like the head and if
we turned off the backlight you can see
all we see is Phil just right there in
his face and kind of intense so those are just
some really quick examples of how we can
change light and use light to affect the
scene that we’re doing using the tools
that we have here there is infinite ways
to light a scene and depending on what
you’re trying to say and what you’re
doing and what your composition is
there’s a million different ways those
to me are some very structurally based
ways to light things and if you kind of
use that as like your template or a way
to start to look at things you really
need to develop your own style of how to
light and what you can do to really use
the tools that you have to make your
story come alive.

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