There are many aspects involved in creating a visually aesthetic and effective video or film. Cinematography, in particular, is a fundamental element to the process, and if given the appropriate planning, time, and thought, can ensure the finished product has a lasting impact. Lighting is one of the key factors involved in effective cinematography, and understanding the principles behind it can assist in ensuring high-quality results from whatever content is being created.

Why Is Lighting So Important?

Lighting is important in video and film production because cameras do not respond to lights in the same way that the human eye does. The finite detail and lighting contrasts a human eye can see are incredibly developed, and cameras cannot process or pick up on this as well. Additional lighting is necessary to make the definition of a video or film’s definition of a comparable quality to what the human eye sees naturally. The correct lighting can determine the mood of the scene and can evoke a more dramatic or subtle palette for the film. If you are perhaps new to video and film production, the first learning curve is understanding why lighting within production is so key. Regardless of content, any video created, filmed, shared and watched will have had an element of thought and design behind the lighting. The more advanced the video and film production, the more advanced the lighting behind it.

Understanding the basics

There are various aspects to consider when approaching a video or film project. Considerations such as location, usage of ambient light, changing conditions, shadows and natural light all play their part in affecting a shot. An ideal starting point when setting up lighting for any shot is a key light, fill light and backlight. These will collectively give a basis on which to work with. This has been a much- used technique over time in cinematography, and is a good place to start to understand the fundamentals of effective lighting.

Understanding the space that you are working with

When you begin a film or video project, an understanding of the space you are working with is vital to ensure the lighting set up and placement is fitting with the environment. This may require a certain amount of thought and planning. Various situations will require different lighting; be that an interview, or a close-up shot, a shot in an outside area, or with multiple subjects involved, for example. The natural light available is important to consider if you are working directly outdoors, or in a studio, or space with limited light from windows. These considerations are the building blocks in adjusting the space to create fitting and appropriate light to work with.

The Effects of Lighting Production Over Time

Our understanding and affiliation with lighting in video and film production has become more advanced over time. Technology has ensured pursuits in lighting production have developed and adapted fittingly to the pace and demand of the video and film industry. Lighting equipment has become more compact, diverse, and designed to tailor for specific genres and types of video and film. The lighting needed for an intense one on one interview, for example, will contrast dramatically from that needed to provide the suitable lighting for a dramatic long shot taken outside at night time. The variety of equipment available, and the capabilities of this equipment, have made effective lighting and cinematography more easy and accessible than ever before.

How technology advancements have been beneficial

Regarding our understanding of how to best use lighting with video and film production, it has understandably become easier as the products used have become more user-friendly, compact, and adaptable. The more compact a product, the easier it will be to transport and use. There can be an incredible amount of equipment involved in lighting production, and this equipment is often heavy, fragile, and at times, difficult to transport. However, over time, products have become lighter, more compact and advanced, which has meant that, for video or film shots that are on the move, it has become much easier and less time consuming regarding the lighting set up. Features such as silent operation, battery packs, and add-on features that can be attached to a camera has meant that high performance, energy saving products are available, while still ensuring high-quality results regarding the shot created. If you’d like to know more about video lighting, or if you’re new to photography and want to expand into video filming, there are various resources and websites available to kick-start the process.

The benefits of good lighting

Although at times, the planning and implementation involved in video or film production can seem unnecessarily long and complicated, it is beneficial in the long run. The more time spent ensuring the lighting is right first time around will mean less time in the editing room. The quality of shot and overall appearance of your video or film can be implicated if the lighting is not right, or does not compare to the other elements of your finished product. On a set, lighting can be the most time consuming, and at times, frustrating element, but it is worth giving it the suitable consideration – making changes during filming will always be easier than in post-production, with limited changes possible.

Accessible products

Product accessibility in the mass-market means irrespective of budget; lighting equipment is readily available. With an understanding of the fundamentals of the process and the right consideration, a video or film project can seem less daunting and more possible, achieving the high-quality results that you will be aiming from the outset.

When approaching a new project, a strong understanding of the various elements involved is essential. Video and film production involves patience and preparation, and lighting is an aspect that cannot be overlooked. With appropriate thought, consideration, and understanding, you can be well on your way to a finished product that is effective and memorable, and a project that you can be proud of.