Video Lighting Techniques — Nailing that Cinematic Look (with a Fill Light)

Video Lighting Techniques — Nailing that Cinematic Look (with a Fill Light)


♪ ♪ We’re not supposed to notice it. But the lighting of a character has a
massive effect on how we perceive them. Great lighting can reflect
the critical beats of a scene and a character’s state of mind. Today, we will utilize one of the most
important lighting concepts of all. The Fill Light. Join us as we fill in the gap. Before we jump in make sure to subscribe below and click the bell icon
to stay in the know. Let’s look at the building
blocks of lighting. Key and fill lights. Exposure is established with a combination
of a key light and a fill light. The key light is the main
light source in the scene. And the fill light counters the
shadows cast by the key light literally filling
exposure into the shadows. Fill lights are usually placed at a
complementary angle to the key light to increase or decrease the
contrast of the lighting. A fill can be strong enough
to virtually eliminate shadows which creates a
low contrast look. Or a fill light can
be nearly non-existent to create dramatic contrast. So when considering how to appropriately
and effectively use a fill light, there are three
aspects to consider. Motivation. Angle. And ratio. Motivation. Where’s the light coming from? In this scene, the brightest elements in the
frame are these practicals. This is a motivated
source of light. So the key wraps
James in warm light. The DP establishes
the motivated source. Then they’ll determine
the angle of the light. Angle is the geometric
relationship of key to fill light. The traditional angle
to introduce a key light is on the subject smart side favored away from the camera. As a result, fill light is
introduced on the dumb side as this is where the shadow
from the key will fall. Once a source in exposure is set ratio comes into play. How much fill should be used? The intensity of the fill relative to the key light determines the contrast ratio. And this is this ratio that makes the
fill light so vital to the overall lighting scheme. In this master,
the smart side key light establishes a dramatic
contrast ratio, because the foreground
fill is barely existent. But in this scene, the fill side
exposure has increased establishing a low
contrast ratio. So the fill light is
often taken for granted, but you can see how massively
important it really is to set the mood. Remember, the key light
establishes the direction and exposure of the
motivated source. The fill then determines
the depth of the shadows created by the key. Keying the subject
from the smart side and filling them
from the dumb side offers the highest potential
for depth in the image. What are some of your favorite
films from a lighting perspective? Fill us in in the comments. Make sure to subscribe
to our channel and click on the bell
icon for notifications. ♪ ♪

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