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When we are still worrying about lighting up, we might as well read this article first

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When we are still worrying about lighting up, we might as well read this article first

Lighting plays a very important role in filming. Lens selection, layout, camera movement, set design, color and other techniques all play a role, but lighting is the main driving force for this goal.


The basic concept of lighting

You must have heard the saying, "If you light it correctly" or "With good lighting, the scene will..." What does this mean? What is good lighting?

The lighting is almost endless permutations and combinations, and it is certain that no lighting is completely correct. Therefore, it is impossible for us to make a simple table to indicate what is the correct lighting technique. But what we can do is to work hard to find out what kind of effect we want the light to achieve and what role it can play? What is the good lighting we want? In this way, we can better distinguish A certain light is improving a shot or making it worse. Of course, these are just general judgment criteria. In fact, there will always be exceptions, which are the same as other aspects of film production-setting, lens selection, exposure, continuity, editing, etc.


Global tone

In most cases, we want the image to have a full range of tones from black to white (the tonal range is generally discussed in the form of grayscale, not involving color). Of course there are some exceptions, but in general, an image with a wide range of tones and subtle overtones is more pleasing and authentic, and more contagious.

In video and high-definition movies, a correct test card is the key to ensure that the camera can achieve this effect-to ensure that your camera settings can capture the full range of colors of the image. In other words, the black in your image is pure black, and the white in your image is pure white. There is a smooth gray transition between black and white, and every tiny gray change can be displayed.

Naturally, this may not be the effect you want to shoot. Of course, this is not a purpose of existence-it is a reference value, a reference value that you can reset the device settings from time to time, and it is also a standard that can evaluate you. Camera settings and even lighting. From here you have a recognized starting point, from here to shoot the effect you want.

Color control and balance

There are two aspects to this concept, the color of the light and the camera. Color balance is related to the adjustment of the camera's light conditions (or in movies, choosing the right film or the right filter), and color control is related to using different lighting equipment and different light filters to adjust the light. First of all, (unless you are going to adjust with special effects) the light itself must be color balanced. The most commonly used are the standard daylight balance (5500k) and tungsten lamp balance (3200k), but the white balance can also be adjusted by gray card, test card or neutral color card. This may be the best way to deal with light sources that cannot be changed. . In the office, fluorescent lighting is something you can't change. Until the 1980s, it was customary to require all light sources on the scene to achieve accurate color balance. Now, due to the development of cameras, the improvement of film quality, and, most importantly, the changes in the audience's visual taste, it is common to mix a little bit of light in the scene, and even many other colors of light sources. When choosing the color of the light source, you need to pay close attention to exposure, color balance, filtering, correct development (film) and correct camera settings. Color control is also very important in establishing the atmosphere of the scene and the tone of the film.



Frontal lighting does not highlight the shape and form of the subject, it makes everything appear flat, making the subject look like a cartoon: a two-dimensional image. Lighting from the side or back can highlight the outline of the object—that is, the external structure and geometry.

This is not only very important to the overall depth of field of the picture, but also to show the characters, perceptual value and other clues that have a plot weight. Naturally, it can make the image appear more real, more tactile, and clearer: this is not only important for each subject in the picture, but also for the overall performance of the picture.


Separation means that we let the subject stand out from the background. One commonly used technique is backlighting, and another technique is to make the background behind the subject much darker or brighter than the subject. Since our task is to make the image as close as possible to the three-dimensional effect, we will try to create the foreground, the middle ground and the background in one shot. The separation is an important part of it.


Depth of field

As images, what are film movies and high-definition movies? They are just flat rectangular images-two-dimensional media. As lighting engineers, photographers and directors, a large part of our work is trying to make this flat art look as three-dimensional as possible-give it depth, shape and angle, and make it as close to the real world as possible The living scene. Lighting plays a very important role in this. The selection of lenses, layout, camera movement, set design, color and other techniques all play a role, but lighting is the main driving force for this goal.

The texture is the same as the shape. The light passing from the central axis of the lens (front light) will make the texture of the material surface appear blurred. The reason is simple: we see the texture from the shadow on the surface of the object. The light hitting from the direction of the camera will not produce surface shadows. The more light hitting from the side, the more shadows will be produced, which can highlight the texture of the material. The texture can also be expressed by the light itself.

Exposure and lighting

A lot of work has been done for us, but if your exposure is not correct, then everything is forgotten. Wrong exposure will ruin all your efforts. For lighting, it is not difficult to illuminate a scene with enough light to make it exposed. The key is correct exposure. Of course this is the job of a lighting engineer, but don’t forget that it is also an important tool for image production and narration. In most cases we just want the correct exposure in name.

It is important to remember that the exposure is not just too bright or too dark. Adjusting exposure for mood or tone is obvious, but there is more to consider. For example, correct exposure and camera settings are critical for color saturation and global tone.

You need to consider the exposure from two aspects. One is the overall exposure of the scene, which can be controlled by the aperture, shutter, light input and neutral density filter, which are used to control the exposure of the entire screen. Except for some ND filters, they cannot adjust the exposure of a certain part of the picture.

Another aspect of exposure is the balance of the picture. We will discuss in the chapter on exposure. Movies and videos can only allow a certain range of brightness. Keeping the lights in your movies and videos within this range is most of the work of a lighting engineer. In addition, the control of lighting within an acceptable range is not just a technical task. The balance of lighting can image the mood, tone, style and overall appearance of the scene.

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