A great Director of Photography is not only talented with a camera but with manipulating light as well. Before setting up, it’s important to understand what kind of look you are trying to achieve. Traditional three-point lighting setups are not always possible; limitations like small spaces and time crunches force filmmakers to improvise on set.
Three-point lighting setups are the most common in the production world. With three-point lighting, you typically have a key light, a fill light, and a backlight. To learn more about a stylized three-point lighting setup, we spoke with David DiFalco, Go To Team’s Washington D.C. DP.
DiFalco typically uses a key light, an HMI diffuser, and an Ikan light panel boomed out for a rim and a reflector for fill. This setup works well for most situations, but since film production can take place in many unique environments, DPs often have to adapt to the environment they are working in.
Balancing artificial lighting with natural light is often an important, yet challenging, part of the lighting process. Here are some tips David DiFalco provided on how to balance natural light with artificial light during an interview:
- If your subject is inside and you’re using the outside world as your background (window, open garage, doesn’t matter) then you start by setting your exposure for the background. Since you don’t have control over natural light, you are then able to light your subject to your desired look.
- To create a more dramatic look, you can use flags as negative fill to remove some light from your subject.
- For a practical lighting setup, you can add diffused light to create even lighting across the subjects face.
- When you don’t have time for multiple diffusers, reflectors provide a quick, even fill light to achieve softer shadows.
- Light from above, that’s how we are used to seeing light.
- Overcast is much easier to work with: even light, softer shadows.
Not sure what lighting setup suits your film production needs? Talk to our team! They’re more than happy to help.