UPDATE: I'm so sorry that my timing was horrible on this… my apologies to Eskild Fors' family with his passing. I was not aware.
3 Point Lighting for video isn’t hard if you know a few basic things, but it can also take a long time to master.
Note: If you’re an expert already, skip to the next article – this is for our noobs!
I’m sure that you can find a ton of videos on youtube as well that will teach you 3 point lighting, but I found this one entertaining and I really like that it starts out looking pretty darn ugly and by the end, you not only know the basics and how to accomplish them, but you see what the result is when you’ve applied the basics.
I can hear some of you grabbing your keyboard wanting to write to me and tell me that this is beyond you, but please remember there are plenty of readers who are just getting started in shooting DSLR video – or Mirrorless Video (since it seems we have to actually split the audience for some reason)
Anyway, enjoy this quick tutorial on 3 point lighting.
Easy light setup to improve your films
Via YT Description:
I have received a lot of questions about how to get most value out of DSLR cameras. There are several tips out there on how to do get those nice looking shots, but the main advice is to have enough light. By combining some good light setups, and nice camera compositions, you will be shocked on how much difference it will make. And it don´t need to be expensive or hard to do. I´ll show you in this video!
For this project, you need a floor lamp. Some sort of tripod. A piece of aluminum paper, some tape and a window.
Steps: Set the right exposure on the camera. First you open the aperture as much as the lens allows you. The lower the number is, the more open the aperture is, and the more light will pass through the lens. Then you should set the shutterspeed to 50, since that's the standard when filming. Since more light passes through the lens, we can lower the ISO, to avoid to much noise in the picture. The lower the ISO is, the less noise you get. In my opinion you shouldn't film with more then 400 ISO, unless you are filming with 5d mark III which doesn't produce that much noise.
By using a window, we can get a lot of nice light, free of charge. Try to move the one your are filming, away from the background and closer to the window. He/her then gets more light from the window, which ables us to lover the ISO even further. By zooming in, we can also make the background blurry. The larger the aperture is, the shorter depth of field you get. Since I adjusted the aperture to f4.0, I get a blurry background. Just by doing these simple steps, we have already made a much better shot.
Now it's time to set the white balance. Since the main light is appearing from the window, I will set the white balance to cloudy or daylight. If you prefer having the background even more blurred out, you can change to a faster lens. The larger the maximum aperture, the faster the lens is. And the faster the lens is, the shorter depth of field you get. Some prefer to use a really fast lens, and make the background very blurry. But remember that this makes it harder to focus on the subject. Another trick to make the background more diffuse, is to block the light from hitting it. Sometimes It's a good idea to use a blanket. Be sure not to block the light from hitting the subject.
Find your tripod, or whatever tall object you find, and attach the aluminum paper with some tape. Try to bounce the light appearing from the window, so it hits the shadow on the persons face. Don't bounce to much light, or else the light on his/her face will get to flat and boring. Its nice with a little bit of shadow. Now let's put up the lamp. Place it behind the person and point t towards his/her head. It will create a nice halo around the person. Remember to use a directional light, so you don't light up the background.
What we have created now, is a set up called three point lighting, which is typical for shooting portraits. The light from the window is the strongest hitting the persons face. Therefore it's called the key light. The bouncing light is called fill light, because it soften the shadows on the other side of the face, and the backlight is called backlight. The last thing you can do before recording, is to clean up the background and add practical light. A practical light is light source that is visible within a scene. Practicals are nice to both make the background more interesting, and it makes the light we put up more credible.
So that's an easy and cheap way to make a three point lighting. Try it yourself. If you want to upload your test, I can add it as a video response to this video. Just send me a message.
(cover photo credit: snap from video)