Film and Video Lighting

I'm starting a Class Blog for my high school video students. Its not quite set up yet, but feel free to have a look. We'll be posting assignments, interesting articles, links, and there will soon be links to all the student's blogs as well, where you can see all their work. I'm going to try and supplement lessons with some visual images and links as well. On Friday, we discussed lighting:

Top Lighting: Although we're quite used to overhead lighting in "real life", it is most often used to support other primary lighting sources in film and video. Top lighting is not very flattering on people, and doesn't provide the same kind of definition as side lighting.

Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Frontal Lighting
is used regularly to help illuminate the subject, but too much can make the image look flat.
Shanghai Triad (1995)

Side Lighting is used most often in films because (a) it is more flattering than frontal lighting, and (b) it helps accentuate features.

Shanghai Triad (1995)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Underlighting is used rarely, because the shadows it creates on the face look distorted from the way we normally view people. This "scary campfire flashlight" effect is most often used in horror movies, but can be used to create an unsettling feeling in other genres, like in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):

And again in Raiders of the Lost Ark:

Backlighting can be used to make something appear either demonic or holy - it can also be used to obscure a person's features, since the light is coming from behind them.

Pan's Labrynth (2006)


Post a Comment