In films and television, lighting is used to ensure that all elements that the director wants the audience to see will be clearly recorded on film or video, depending on the medium used to record the images. In some cases, such as horror movies or thrillers, lighting is used to set the mood of the scene, as when light is used to create frightening shadows in a horror movie. There are default settings for some movie images that give the most appealing results.
Three-point lighting is the basic setting for lighting film subjects and means that you use a key light, a filling light and a tail light. The key lamp is usually the brightest of the three lamps and is used to illuminate the face of the subject that the camera is pointing at. Since the key lamp cannot hold the same space as the camera, it is usually placed on one side of the camera and hits the subject at an angle. This means that one side of the subject becomes brighter than the other. To ensure that this other side is not cast in unnatural shadow, a fill light is used and placed on the other side of the camera. Fill lighting is less intense than key lighting, so the subject does not appear to be hard and flat.
Finally, a taillight is placed behind the subject, often at an angle diagonally opposite the fill light. The backlight uses soft light behind the subject, which softens the hard edges created by the key lamp and the fill lamp. This makes the motif more realistic and three-dimensional.
Key lights should be placed on the side of the motif where natural lighting is seen from. For example, if the subject is in a room with a window, the key lamp should be placed on the same side of the subject as the window.
Film Noir is a film style that is about dark fatalistic stories that usually involve urban crime or corruption. Famous noir classics include ‘The Big Sleep’ and ‘Double Compensation.’ Film noir is usually shot in black and white, as it best suits the strange mood of the subject. The mood is accentuated by using hard, single-point lighting (with only one light source) to create deep black shadows and focus on a single area of the frame, such as one side of a character’s face. A single light with a narrow spotlight will illuminate a single side of an unhappy character’s face.
The best effects are achieved by placing the light higher than the character’s face and placing the camera lower so that the character appears to be threatening the audience. Little or no filling lighting is used, so that the narrow part of the frame that the light turns out is in contrast to everything else. Areas immediately adjacent to where the light meets are cast in deep black shadow.
Outdoor shots have the same lighting requirements as indoor shots, so the goal is often to reach outdoors that was achieved indoors using a basic three-point lighting. Outdoors, on a sunny day, the key is to light the sun. The problem is that you can not control the brightness of the sun or its position.
But you can manage how your substance is ignited by using the sun. Place a reflector that is low down to the subject, reflecting the sunlight backward toward the subject. This reflected light acts as a fill light. Reflected fill lighting is softer than original sunlight and removes harsh contrasting shadows and provides three-dimensional depth. If the natural sunlight is too harsh, you can place filters or diffusers made of gas plants between the sun and the subject being filmed. This softens the light touching the subject, and you can still use a reflector as a key light. The reflector can be positioned to use direct sunlight or diffused sunlight, depending on how much filling lighting you choose to use.