Lighting in the “Real World”
by Barry Andersson Lighting is arguably the most important skill you have as a video content creator. It is a never ending learning process. Even cinematographers at the top of their game in Los Angeles talk frequently about continuing to innovate and push themselves to keep learning and try new ways of lighting. I see a lot of behind the scenes photos, videos, blog posts and articles on how to light. I must admit, many of them are really well done and yield a spectacular final image. However, in the real world, these more elaborate lighting setups aren’t realistic for many shooters working today. The number of people working on a crew continues to drop. More and more, a 1-2 person crew needs to do everything on the job. It is this reality that I teach to on my tour… How can you get the best look, with the least amount of people, the quickest way possible AND still make a profit?
Here is the talent in position with only available and ambient lights on.
To cut back on equipment we decided to light this scene with just two lights. We set up our key light to the left of the talent and pushed that light through diffusion (TIP: we just used a window sheer from Target). That provided us the main source for the scene and it was quick and easy to set up.
For our second light we actually placed it outside the window so it would be sort of a back edge/rim light. The windows did most of the other lighting work for us.
We still needed more fill but instead of a light and running power we dropped in a bounce card and picked up the spill from our key and the light coming through the windows.
Here is the lighting setup without anything turned on yet.
Before we finished the lighting setup, we turned off the overhead lights so we were controlling everything.
Final shot with 2 light setup.