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Interior Lighting - Part 1

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

Lighting is such a fundamental part of filmmaking. It's what can make an amateur film into a professional looking one - regardless of what camera we start with. Here we will step through the process of building a lighting 'set up' (this is simply how the lights are put together and the configuration of them in a space) from start to finish and learning along the way why we do and don't do certain things.

This is the image we will begin with:

This is where we will end up:

We have the same space, same camera, same subject, only the lighting is changing.

There are four elements when it comes to shaping light, they are:

  1. Distance

  2. Direction

  3. Quality and;

  4. Colour

Let's take a look at the first aspect - Distance.

Distance is referring to the amount of space between the subject and the light source. In an example that we can relate most to, we have the sun as a light source in our day. The sun is a long way away from us, however, without cloud cover what kind of light falls on our faces from the sun?

The light is very harsh and creates strong shadows on the face. If the size of a light in relation to the size of the subject is very small then your light will be harsher and much more defined shadow lines like you can see below:

However, as we learn the basic principles from the sun and light sources that have been around longer than what we have mimicked with technology, what happens when we have a bigger 'light source' (this is simply where the light comes from - this could be the sun, a light, lamp or anything that produces light) in the natural world?

As soon as we have cloud cover this changes the light source. The light reflective light then becomes the clouds. As you can see in the above drawing the relative size of the clouds to the subject and that the clouds are a lot closer to the subject than the sun.

Learn about Direction, Quality and colour in the next part of 'Interior Lighting'...

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