Introduction to Lighting for Videography | Jordy Vandeput | Skillshare

Introduction to Lighting for Videography

Jordy Vandeput, Filmmaker and Youtuber

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6 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

      2:13
    • 2. Purpose of Light in Video

      4:20
    • 3. Light and Layers

      4:11
    • 4. Practicals and Backlight

      4:41
    • 5. Colors in Light

      3:29
    • 6. Lighting a Scene on Location

      10:29
153 students are watching this class

About This Class

Learn how to create depth, cinematic shots and interesting scenes in this introduction to lighting for video class. With basic lighting tools and natural sources we're showing various examples in our film-studio and at home.

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We start off with the purpose of light. Why do we place lights and where should we place them? Next you'll learn how to create more depth using lights, the essence of cinematography.

WHAT WILL I LEARN?

You'll learn the essence of lighting in video. An answer to the question; "how does lighting in video work?'. After this class you'll know where to place or position specific lights to create more depth and more interesting scenes.

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FOR WHO US THIS CLASS?

Any videographer who's new to lighting or struggles with the purpose of light in video.

WHAT DO I NEED?

Lighting is a theory and can be applied to any situation. You don't need professional lighting tools to follow this class. Using windows, decorative lights, sun light and more, we can apply the same principles.

WHICH EQUIPMENT DID YOU USED IN THIS CLASS?

If you're interested in the lighting we used to showcase the examples in the class, you can check out the lighting collection here.

QUIZZES

There're 2 quizzes during the class to test yourself. You can take these quizzes at www.cinequiz.net.

Transcripts

1. Class Introduction: Hey guys, my name is Jordy. I am a professional filmmaker from Belgium and this right here is my studio or better yet, my playgrounds. Lighting is the essence of cinematography. It shapes your visual camera shots. Every time when I watch a film, my brain is constantly breaking down every scene, which lights that they use the word at the placed them. It's sometimes annoying, but I can't help it. Lighting is my biggest passion in film. But it wasn't always like that. When I started film school, I hated lighting because I didn't understood how it worked Which kind of lights should I use? Where did I place them? Which colors should I worked with? What's the whole purpose of doing this? I knew that light was important, but I just couldn't understand it. Looking back on it now, I believe that the art of cinematography was explained to me wrong. For three years, I studied lighting and I had good grades on theory exams, but I still had no clue what to do in practice. The years after I started teaching the subjects to myself and watched every online tutorial there probably is. I've shot over 100 video projects were every time I would experiments, but lighting hence now, I get it. Hence the funny part about this story is that lighting in cinematography is actually super easy. But you need to write explanation and that's why we've developed this class in only a few lessons. I can teach you how to create a cinematic scene with basic lighting equipment. [inaudible] the same principles and various workshops and every time I had great positive feedback from the people who didn't know anything about lighting before. Whether you are shooting and interview a short film, a documentary. It doesn't matter because all the principles are exactly the same hence after this class, you'll understand what lighting in film means. How it works so you can start building on your own passion for cinematography. Throw that confusing three-point lighting theory overboard and start this class to a whole new, easy to understand lighting introduction for cinematography. I'm super excited and I hope to see you back in a few minutes. 2. Purpose of Light in Video: Hi there. Thank you so much for participating in this class. It's going to be a lot of fun and I have so many insights that I want to share with you. Let's dive straight into the biggest question that you might have. What is the purpose of light in film? Well, if you have one available light in a room, and there are two things that you can do with that. Either you illuminate your subjects so that the camera can see something or you create depth in your shot. Now everyone can illuminate a person. You simply shine a light on it, and let's be honest here, this shot doesn't really look quite cinematic. Illuminating a scene or a subject is something that you never want to do as a filmmaker. Never place a light for the purpose of, it's too dark here, let's turn on the lights. That leaves us with the other option, creating depth. When you take a picture or make a video, it's flat, it's two-dimensional. We can print that out on a picture or on a piece of paper, and looking at that paper, it's pretty flat. What we do as a cinematographer is finding different ways to create the illusion of depth. There are various ways to do that. For example, having your subject in focus and the background out of focus, and this already creates depth, or moving the camera in the shot so that you see the different elements and their perspective, and with lighting, we also do that. Let's start off simple. There's one light. I'm using an LED soft box. By the way guys, if you are interested in all the gear that we use, I'll leave a link to it all in the class description. But it can also be the sunlight, a window, anything that produces light, and you only need one of it. Every light can create two thing, a highlight and a shadow. If I were to point a light directly to my subject from the front, the highlight sits at the front and the shadow at the back. If we move that light due to side, we get half of Lorenzo's face in a highlight and the other half in a shadow. This is for starters, something very important to be aware of. Where is my highlight and where is my shadow? Because it's the combination of these two that creates depth. If I were to ask you to draw a sphere. Which one would you pick? The one with a shadow or the one without a shadow? I think we all choose the one with a shadow because it just looks more like a round sphere. The other one just looks like a flat circle. Going back to our example, would you pick Lorenzo without the shadow or with the shadow? Exactly the one with a shadow. Because just like this sphere, it shows that Lorenzo's head is round and not a flat circle. That is how lighting in film works. You can't tell when it creates depth or shadows. Now let's talk here a little bit about the terminology. The light that we've just set on Lorenzo is called the key light. It's a light that always shines from the front. It can come from the sides, but never from the back. You can draw an invisible line through your subject to see what the front and the back is. Now from the front, there's another light that we could add and it is called the fill light. Now as you can see, the shadow on Lorenzo is pretty hard. The left side of his face is very dark. For some dramatic purpose, this could perfectly work, but if you're doing a corporate interview, your client probably doesn't want that drama. That's where the fill light comes in. It could be a second light on the other side of your talent's face, and this light, however, only has the purpose to lift those shadows. Make sure that it's not as bright as the key light. If it is you'll end up with two frontal key lights, which makes your shot flat again. You want to keep that shadow in there. Now, very often the fill light is already present. If we're going to go upstairs to the office, you'll see that we have a big window, and that window is a light source that we can use as a key light by making sure that it shines on the side of your talent's face. The shadows here are not so deep because there's already a fill light present. That big window is filling up the entire room with light. There are white walls, so the window light is being reflected all over the office and that is our fill light. That brings me to the conclusion that lighting is not something complex. You don't need expensive equipment. It's simple, window, the sunlight, a decorative light in your living room. Any light source shares the same principle. You create a shadow on your subject to show that the person or the object is three-dimensional. In the next lesson, we're going to build further on the principle of creating depth and see how we can make our scene even look more interesting. Thank you so much for watching. 3. Light and Layers: In the previous lesson, we have seen that you can create depth with a highlight and a shadow, and this is what I call layers of light. Light does something to your scene, it pushes the shadows to the front, and then it's great to know because if we can push something to the front, it means that we can create depth. That brings me to the following example. Right now, Lorenzo is looking off screen, we can either place the key light on the left side of the camera or on the right side of the camera. Both these examples, will create a highlight and a shadow. But since light pushes the shadow to the front, here is what happens in the first example, the highlights lays closest to the camera. A little further on the other side of Lorenzo's face, there's now a shadow. Currently, the highlight is pushing Lorenzo to the back, and this results in a flat shot, something that we want to avoid at all time. Let's place the light on the other side of the camera now. The shadow lays closest to the camera and around Lorenzo's face, there sits the highlight. The highlight pushes the shadow, and this time, it's going into the right direction. Lorenzo is being pushed away from the background and we're feeling that Lorenzo is coming loose from that background and thus, we experienced more depth. That is a very simple rule that can help you to decide where to put the lights. Now let's say that Lorenzo only turns himself around. Now to highlight is again coming from the front pushing him to the back. Before you place any lights, make sure to look at your monitor and see for yourself where the highlight actually falls. Let's go back to those layers I was talking about. Your subject is,, usually, only going to have two layers, a highlight and a shadow. But looking at the entire scene, there's a lot more that we can do. It's currently all black, but we can shine a light into that wall creating a highlight. We're taking the same principle that we've just seen, I know exactly where to place this highlight. Highlight pushes on shadow layers, and since the left side of Lorenzo's face sits within this shadow, I'm placing that wall light behind that layer and see what this does to your shot. The highlight in the back is pushing Lorenzo even more to the front because it sits behind that shadow layer. You're looking at the entire shot. We can now see many of these layers. Starting from the right, we have a shadow layer, then comes a highlight layer, then back, a shadow layer, again a highlight layer, and, finally, again a shadow layer. We are constantly swapping between shadow, highlight, shadow, highlight, and this is a healthy way of treating layers with lights. I think such a structure in your shot creates a lot of depth and it makes it a lot more interesting to your audience. Now taking it back to a real life example or the office, we can see in this shot that we start with a shadow because the next layer is brighter, then we have again a shadow, and then comes again a shadow. We have two shadow layers next to each other, which makes it a little less interesting, so what I'm going to do is turn on the kitchen light, adding a highlight layer behind the shadow of Lorenzo. I've just created that same layering principle in our office without any real film lights. So far, Lorenzo has been the only object which needed to be pushed forwards. Let's now go to a scenery we're doing more objects. For example, here we have an open door, which reveals a room behind the wall Lorenzo is standing for. Currently, that wall including the open door, is seen as one flat surface. This is because there is no highlight pushing this shadow forwards. What we'll do, we'll simply turn on the lights within that room. We've added an extra layer, and since the bright room sits between two shadows, it's pushing that wall forwards. When Lorenzo stands with this shadow in front of a shadow layer of the wall behind him, he's not being pushed forwards, but when I asked him to move a little to the sides, the light of the room behind him also pushes on him. This means that all the objects which have a distance from each other are being pulled apart. In other words, we are creating depths. Conclusion of the lesson always remember that highlights push the shadow forwards on camera that could be pushing your subject to the background or more to the foreground, so think about that well, where you create a highlight and where you create a shadow. Thank you so much for watching again. 4. Practicals and Backlight: Practicals and backlights, that is what this lesson is about and let's start with that backlight. We've already seen the key lights, the fill lights and the third light is the backlights. If you're already familiar with the three-point lighting setup then these are the three lights that you'll need. However we've been taking a different approach so far, the backlight is exactly what it says. It's a light that shines on the subject from behind. So let's turn one on and see what it does to Lorenzo, as you can see Lorenzo gets an extra highlight on his back looking on the camera, it creates a very nice halo or hotspot in his hair and this is great because this backlight now is pushing Lorenzo forwards, creating more depth. Now we've already placed out to the key lights. It sits on the right side of Lorenzo and that is a highlight. If I would place my backlight on the right as well, it will create another highlight on Lorenzo's is highlight sides and earlier we learnt that highlights push on shadows. So in this example, the backlight doesn't have much purpose because it cannot push on a highlight only on shadow. So by placing that backlight to the other side where Lorenzo shadow sits, it becomes a lot stronger. It's the same principle as the highlight on the wall or the bright room in the back that we've seen in the previous lesson and it also comes back to that same principle of layering with lights. Always make sure that you swap between shadow and highlights when reeling your shots, try to avoid placing a highlight next to a highlight. Of course we're talking here in an introduction lesson about light for video, there are always exceptions, but it's important to first understand and practice the basic fundamentals of creating depths.That brings us to the fourth and last type of lighting, which is the practical lighting. Basically it's a light that is visible in your shots. Now if you look behind me, there are several lights visible in my shots, these don't have to be film lights. It could also be a decorative light as well, just as long as that light source itself is visible in your shot. Usually these lights will help you to tell your story. In our case, this class is about lighting, so it would also be beneficial to show different types of light fixtures in the backgrounds. If your story is about a man who's sitting behind a desk, a desk light would fit great within that scene. Practicals don't really have a specific purpose they can either function as a key light, such as here in this example, the desk light illuminates the side of Lorenzo face. I'm making sure that the closest side of his face sits in the shadow and the other side in the highlight. But spectacles could also be a backlight, this is very often used when the light plays an important role. For example here, a football player puts on his helmet, the lights in the back are iconic for a stadium or even just a beautiful sunsets, the sun as a light source it's in the back and it's visible in your shot. This is another example of using a practical backlight. So a practical light can function as a key light, but also as a backlight, and it can also work on its own. A stand alone practical, this is where you have a visible light source but it's not strong enough that it casts light on the subject, such as the light bulb in this example. It hangs in the back, but it does not create a highlight on Lorenzo. However what it does do, is create another layer, scanning over the video we go from shadow to highlight to shadow, which makes the backgrounds more interesting. This works the same as if you would shine a light on to the wall. We could even place that practical closer to the back, so that it actually creates a highlight on the wall. If we would then position Lorenzo's shadow side a little in front of that highlight it will push Lorenzo forward again. Practicals is something that I love to work with. Every filmmaker or cinematographer has a particular style and for me that would probably be practicals. I always look for a way to have a light source visible in my shots. So these were the four types of lighting that are being used in film the fill light, the key light, the back light and practicals. You don't always need to have all four lighting. So you could also work with one key lights, one backlight, a fill and a key, etc. You know, in film there's not really a right or a wrong answer. However, knowing the principles of what each light does is something that you can be right or wrong about and to help you with that, we've created an online quiz at CINEQUIZ.NET, simply click on the lighting class and select the first quiz. After that quiz, you can come back to the class, maybe watch certain lessons again until you really understands how each light works. Once you feel ready, we are already going to explore some of the advanced lighting techniques in the next few lessons and then wrap up the entire class with a final quiz, which you can find again at CINEQUIZ.NET. Good luck with that quiz and if you're stuck with anything, let me know in the discussion below. Thank you for watching and I'll see you back soon. 5. Colors in Light: Welcome back to the class. We're going to dive a little bit deeper into the advanced stuff of lighting. This it could obviously be an entire new class which we're actually planning to make in the future. But scholar theory is something that I do already want to explain to you. So far, we have not been paying attention to the color of the lights, but obviously we can make some changes in there as well and the cool thing is that it goes quite easy with the help of filters and gels. The Lee brand is a very popular one and they even have some heat resistant gels, which you can wrap around those warm turns to lights without having to fear that they will melt. Now, you can find any kinds of color within the lee filter collection. That's why I'd like to have a look at this thing right here for a moment. It's the color wheel, which you might have seen already in your editing program. Now, when selecting different colors from this wheel, they will have a certain position to each other. For example, they can be analogies when they lay close to each other as such as still are green. But they can also be complimentary when they are opposite from each other, such as orange and blue. That is something that we're going to have a look at closer, just like with shadows and highlights, you create depth. So do orange and blue. When we think about orange or yellow, we think about warmth. It's the color of fire, the sun. It's a positive, good field color that we as the audience are drawn to. Blue is the opposite of that. It's a cold color. We think about ice and snow. The nights, moonlights. It's a negative color, something that we as an audience are pushed away from. So knowing that we have a color that is pushed to the back and a color that is pulled forward, we can use that again to create depth. We have a simple key lights on Lorenzo and a practical back lights in the back. Both are the same color, but if you would add an orange filter to the key lights, it will pull Lorenzo even further away from the backgrounds because Lorenzo sits within the positive warm lights which we are attracted to. Now let's add a blue filter in front of that practical backlights. The back light is still a highlights, meaning it pushes on the shadows, but now it also has a blue color. This creates an enormous contrast between the backgrounds and the foregrounds, which introduces an enormous depth. This is also referred to the till and orange look, which is a very popular look within the Hollywood action films to create a deep contrast and make the subject standouts. We can also use this color theory to tell a visual story. Let's create a scene where Lorenzo is a mysterious hacker. What I'm going to do is place a small LED lights with a blue filter inside of the laptop, which will eliminate him. The back there's going to be a turns light bulb, which has an orange color from itself already, we now have something opposite of what we usually do. We are drawn towards the light bulb in the back. Yet, we want to look at the subject, Lorenzo. But Lorenzo, since within that blue lights, the negative lighting and you know, this reflects on the character that he is a mysterious hacker. That is the very basics of how colors to work in lighting with everything that you've just seen in this class. You can already light entire scenes and create interesting cinematic films, higher value corporate videos, interviews or documentaries of a whole new level. In the next and final lesson of this class, we're going to take everything that we've just learned into a practice and light out two different scenes. Thank you so much for watching and I'll see you there. 6. Lighting a Scene on Location: Welcome to the last lesson of this class. Cinematography is all about creating depths. Whether that is true, camera work, emotion, moods, or lighting. With lighting, we play with shadows. We create layers to find colors to the different spaces, and these are the foundations of lighting for video. By practicing everything that you've learned from this class, you can build upon your own experience and increase your skills. So far we've been working mostly in a studio environments. This helps us to demonstrate the different techniques better, but it doesn't really illustrates a real project that you might be working on. That's why we're moving to my living room. Welcome to my living room guys, this is a very typical situation in which you might be filming, for example, for an interview or you might be shooting a short film or something in here, but a typical environment or an existing environments also comes with existing lights such as this big window right here, we've got some lights up there in the ceiling, and we can use those lights in our advantage to create more depth in our shots, just like we've seen in this class. Lorenzo was ready again to start modeling, let's start with a first setup and that is an interview type shots, and we're going to do that to your cozy in the living room. One of the first things that I'm paying attention to is this big window right here behind me, because that is the brightest light source that we have, and I can't move this light source. I can close the curtains, yes, I can remove it somehow, but I can't really move it around. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to use this big window as my key light. As you can see here on Lorenzo's face, you've got the key lights here on his left side of his face, so that's great, it's brighter than it's right sides. A fill light is already here. Because of that big window over there, we also got a small window over there, they're bouncing that lights here in this room to our white wall, so that's our fill light. Now, we can look at the back-light. We've got all of these things here on the ceiling. I can turn those off, even have a dimmer right here, and we can again use that to our advantage. We can also turn these lights and really have an act as a back light like this. Now, this is all great and well, but this is giving us a little problem as well. From our previous lesson about color theory, we have learned that your subject should be warm and your background should either be neutral or blue. That way we're pulling the subject more forward, more towards the camera. But in this case it's get a way around. It's going to be like that in most living rooms, where you have warm lighting insights and more bluish or daylights lights coming from the windows, so that it's more bluish and this is warmer. We're working here opposites. We've got warm in the back and blue in the front. We're going to have to change that and that's why these filters are going to come in very handy. Let's put on some filters on these lights, we're going to add some blue filter student. Now, something to be aware of when you're going to add blue filters in front of a yellowish or orange lights is, that you won't make it blue. You're actually going to make it neutral daylights because you're adding blue to orange. If you want to have blue lights, then you are actually going to have two layers of blue, or maybe even three layers are blue over your orange lights. When you are adding filters stereo lights, you will also make them less bright, which is pretty obvious. That's why you have to compensate with your window. If possible, close the curtains maybe put in a half way or bring black sheets with you if you're window doesn't have any curtains. But things are already starting to look great if you look at their a shot right now we can see that we start off with a highlight layer, that would go to a shadow layer, then we've got Lorenzo's highlight layer and we've got again Lorenzo's shadow layer. Now, we go back to a shadow layer which isn't so drape, and then we go back to a highlight layer. In the background, that are still a few more tweaks that we can do. First of all, you know that I like practical, so let's start off with that and then also maybe add mode of a highlights in that second shadow layer over there. This criteria is that spots behind Lorenzo shadow, which I'm going to add a little bit of highlights to. What I'm using right here is the stella pro, which is a very powerful lights, there's internal battery as well. Again, I'm going leave links to all the gear that we use in the class description. What I want to do is add a for an L2 to it. We shall make a code of that light. You can see it's very well. I'm going to go open face which is without anything in front of it, which is just going to blow that lights all over the room rights here, or I'm going to add this for an L2, which now you can see that we have more of a cone on that wall right here. Plus also I'm adding a blue filter to it because all the lights now here around me from the living room lights are now daylight balanced, because we've added blue filters in front of the tungsten lights. But I want to add some blue tone into the backgrounds. That is why I am adding a blue filter in front of a daylight balanced lighting, and then over here was that shadow site in which we can perfectly at some practicals. What I'm going to do is just to add some candles to that closets. There you go. This this is going to look very nice. You know we're in is cozy living room environments, so having these candles in the background visible is going to work out great. There we have it guys the perfect interview shots. We started off with the highlight layer, we got a shadow layer. We did some nice practicals, those candles, which makes it a ton more cozy. There we've got Lorenzo with the highlight shadow layer, then behind his shadow layer, we got that highlights here. We're just coming from that stellar lights, which is a little bit more blue, which makes him up out even better though we again go to a shadow layer, a perfect example of layering with lights and pushing your subject closer to the camera, creating a ton more depth. We have just created a very clean interview shots very typical. What we're now going to do is something more dramatic, something that would fit for a short film, something fictional. We've got someone working in the garden over there. As you can see, that it's already one factor to the drama, but we can add a ton more with lighting as well to here. Let's get started. Let's start off with the first thing, and then as this share right here. I want to use that as a foreground object, but it is much brighter than Lorenzo. This right here is now a highlight sites and it actually should be a shadow site, and then the Lorenzo should be a highlight because the share sits closer to the camera. The first thing I'm going to do is just lower the curtain right here and try to make everything which is coming from this share and everything behind as dark as possible. The next thing I want to do is turn on a table lights like that, and this is already a warm color, so that is great, which makes Lorenzo pop out a ton better. Because of that big window behind Lorenzo, he is getting a back light, but also a key lights here on his right side, and that is because that window is reflecting its lights onto the whites walls back to Lorenzo, and on that side we don't have that much light's coming in. That's why we are actually having our key light now on the wrong side, because right here we've got the back light, and right here should be shadow, and then over there shouldn't be the highlights. But we can fix that with adding an extra lights here onto Lorenzo. Let's bring in that stellar light again, and I'm going to shine that onto the left side of Lorenzo face. But very important is that it's also going to get an orange color, so that it's seems that it's coming from table lights right here. I'm also going to add a soft filter over it and that we will see these hard shadows onto Lorenzo. Now, it seems like it's coming from that table lights like this. But also I'm going to put this up a little bit higher because the table light is also coming from above, something like that and now you can see that we have the highlight side over here, the shadow side over there, and also the back light, which is coming from this side as well. Now, because we have to fight up against that big window behind Lorenzo. I actually had to add two of these Stella lights right here so that we get enough power, enough brightness on Lorenzo to I could close my aperture and so the window behind them wouldn't be as bright anymore. But now let's have a look at behind Lorenzo because there is this one big, boring white wall and there is something very interesting that we can do with it. Let's start off with preparing this lights right here by adding a blue filter over it. This is not really blue it's actually peacock blue, but you can look into same hue of blue. So green tints, or cyan, blue, old those tint colors will work great if you're going to use that in the background. But things are starting to look great. We have a highlights layer, shadow layer, highlight layer, etc. Looking at Lorenzo right here we've got a shadow side on his right side and we've got a highlight side on his left side. Then the next layer should actually be a shadow layer. However, we are shining this cyan color lighting here onto the wall creating another highlights, which sits next to his highlights. We are actually now putting two highlights next to each other, but we're not talking here about an exception because we are mixing two different colors together. We've got an orange color over here on Lorenzo, and then we've got the opposites color, a contrast color behind them. Now, you're two highlights can actually work well together because we have a contrast with colors. Then we have it a more eccentric lighting scene. Again, of course also uses the inner views, non-fictional work or fictional work, it doesn't matter. But know that this is a bit more vivid because we are mixing different colors together with lighting. We are creating more contrast we have the big practical a window in the backgrounds and also, we have Lorenzo sitting more in the dark. Everything is a bit more eccentric, a bit more vivid. This brings us to the end of the class unfortunately. There's been so much fun and I hope that you've learned something new about lighting and to help you test yourself, we've got a final quiz which you can find on cinequiz.net as well. There are a few questions about color theory and about the lighting setup that we've done in my living room. Lighting or cinematography is not an easy subject to understand and it's definitely not easy to master. It takes time, but most importantly, a lot of practice. My best advice to you now is to go out and shoot a video. Try the different techniques from this class. Experiment, fail and learn from your own mistakes. The more you practice, the better you get at this. It might also be good to come back after a while and watch the entire class again. Until then, thank you so much for watching. Like we always say, stay creative.